Learn at lunch together as a team—lunch and learns foster creativity, build communication, and improve technical skills across your business. They are a small investment in the professional and personal development of your employees. Below we’ll discuss the benefits of lunch and learns, different learning opportunities, session ideas, and how to host a successful lunch and learn.
A lunch and learn is an opportunity for a workplace to provide continued learning at work. It’s a short session that takes place during lunchtime, allowing employees to utilize their lunch breaks to learn something new without sacrificing their work or free time.
A lunch and learn can take many forms depending on the number of people participating and the type of learning expected. Some lunch and learns focus on specific company or business training, while others present employees with an opportunity to learn interesting new skills, such as drawing or self defense.
Lunch and learns are—you guessed it—all about learning. They allow your team to continue their professional and personal development in the office. Showing you care about your team's development illustrates your investment in your team members. Plus, your business gains the benefit of having more knowledgeable and skilled employees.
Opportunities for learning in the workplace are especially important to younger employees. Millennials typically gravitate towards work they find meaningful and jobs where they can continue to grow personally and professionally. Lunch and learn events curated to the needs of your team are an appealing benefit to team members who prioritize development.
💡 Learn more about the priorities of different workplace generations and How to Manage Generational Differences in the Workplace.
Learning during the lunch hour provides an added layer of convenience to the educational opportunity you offer your team. At lunchtime, everyone is at the office and available for the learning opportunity. You don’t need to worry about conflicting meetings, and you don't need to coordinate schedules outside of regular working hours.
Events outside the regular workday cut into an employee’s personal time, and holding learning events in the middle of a workday can interfere with the steady flow of work, which can be frustrating for employers as well as employees who need to find time to make up the work they fall behind on.
There often aren’t opportunities to get to know each other in the daily routine of a regular workweek. Curate these opportunities with interactive lunch and learns that will bring your team closer together.
Learning something new as a team will strengthen the bond between employees and different teams that may not work together regularly. Team building activities are incredibly important for establishing a cohesive group of individuals who know how to work together and communicate effectively.
💡 Prioritizing team building in your workplace can help businesses boost morale, increase collaboration, and improve engagement. Learn Why Team Building is Important and How We Do It.
Professional development lunch and learns help employees grow skills that will assist them with their current job and throughout their career. Consider what new or optimized skills would benefit the business as well as the employees.
Reach out to everyone on your team. What do they want to learn, and what skills do they want to develop? You might need to connect the dots a little. If people want to become better at engaging with clients, you might set up lunch and learn sessions surrounding effective communication or public speaking. If people want to improve their time management, you might have lunch and learn sessions covering how to run effective meetings or how to use a particular time management software.
It is essential to consult your entire team for direction on lunch and learn topics. The more involved they feel in choosing topics, the more likely they are to participate and make the most of the learning experience.
Lunch and learns might have no direct connection to the workplace. These sessions will target personal development and feature activities that promote team building. They can include anything from a self defense course to a drawing lesson to a photography workshop. Once again, the key is reaching out to your team to determine what they want to take away from your company’s lunch and learns.
Personal development sessions also offer the opportunity to pool your collective knowledge and skill sets. What hobbies or skills do people on your team already have? Allow your employees to share their own skills with the rest of the team. Do you have a part-time yogi on your team? Let them run a session on wellness. Do you have a chronic crafter on your team? Let them run a creative crafting session to stimulate new ways of thinking.
Open it up to the floor. Your team will appreciate being able to share something they are passionate about. This way, you won’t need to find or create content for the lunch and learn, and you won’t need to hire an outside instructor.
Company training is a little less exciting, but it’s often essential for keeping your team on top of new systems and technologies. You may run a lunch and learn to introduce your team to new office management software. Bringing everyone together to learn as a team will ensure each employee takes the time to become familiar with the new system, and it will keep everyone on the same page about adopting the software.
You may host training lunch and learns to help employees learn how to manage new technology, such as a new phone system or to brush up on essential office skills, such as using Excel spreadsheets. Company training lunch and learns can reinforce company policies, style guides, and general best practices around the office.
These events are far less exciting than professional and personal development topics, so make sure you reward your team for their time with an exciting lunch or special office treat.
A major aspect of running a lunch and learn is choosing what type of learning activity you will provide. Here are some lunch and learn presentation ideas to get you started:
Set the date of your lunch and learn well in advance to ensure your employees are available and ready to learn. Space out your lunch and learns, so no one feels overwhelmed with too many busy lunches. Once your team is used to the process, you can set monthly or bi-weekly dates that never change. You might run a lunch and learn on the first Tuesday of every month or every second Wednesday throughout the year.
Ensure everyone knows exactly when the session will occur and what to expect. Send email invites that explain how the session will run, how long it will be, what food will be provided, and what they can expect to learn.
Make sure no one is left out. If you have part-time or remote employees, consider how you can incorporate them into some of your lunch and learn opportunities. Altering the day of the week they occur on can catch employees that are not in the office every day. Just make sure you are clear on the Who, When, and What, and make sure everyone gets plenty of notice.
If anyone is feeling apprehensive about giving up their lunchtime for a learning opportunity, you can entice them with a free and yummy catered meal. Treat your team during your lunch and learn as an added incentive for participation.
Switch up what you order so that your team can try new foods, and so personal favorites are spread around. Choose local fooderies to show your community support and take suggestions from the team on what types of meals they’d like to see. Always ensure whatever you choose has something equally as delicious for those with dietary restrictions.
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