In the fast-paced technology industry, it can be difficult for employees to keep up-to-date on their skills. Every hour of time is crucial to the success of your business, so it’s difficult to carve out even one to learn and improve. However, there is an easy solution to this issue: a Lunch and Learn.
What Exactly is a Lunch and Learn Program?
A Lunch and Learn is an informal meeting that happens over lunch, where employees undergo training on skills, industry knowledge, professional development, life skills, or anything else that would benefit the team. The company can provide a catered lunch, or team members can bring their own (typically called a brown bag session).
What are the Benefits of a Lunch and Learn Program?
From boosting employee morale, to implementing a targeted concise training, the benefits of Lunch and Learn sessions are overwhelming.
Faster, Easier, More Targeted Learning
Lunch and Learn sessions provide important training time without taking away from your team’s standard workday. and because the atmosphere in a lunch and learn is intimate and informal, people often find it easier to learn what they need to know. People tend to look forward to the opportunity and even enjoy it.Since a lunch learning program takes up a relatively short time, each presenter must really focus in on the topic at hand. That forces those who wish to be instructors to really drill into the core issues and emphasize the key things to know – also a great relief to the “students.”
More Opportunities to Teach and Mentor To really understand any subject, you need to know it well enough to teach it to others. Unfortunately, there’s usually a lot of red tape keeping people from stepping up and sharing what they know. Lunch learning means more employees will know how to teach and train.
This can influence career trajectories and even help your people uncover a passion that they didn’t expect before. It’s not so difficult for a speaker at lunch learning to realize that a future as a trainer sounds pretty good – and soon, your enterprise will be building up even more knowledge capital
Closer Coordination and Teamwork Lunch and Learn sessions are also excellent for team building and encouraging relationships across department or team lines. Sometimes people like to eat alone, but for the most part, social connection helps people move to the same beat. Team members who might not normally have the chance to meet one another can start to foster real trust as part of a lunch and learn. Cross-functional teamwork becomes a snap. Working together is essential to success in any large enterprise. When people learn together, they are growing and reaching for improvement side by side. All of a sudden, they see others not just as co-workers, but as resources they can connect with when they need a helping hand.
Lower Turnover and Faster Recruitment
Career-minded people are always looking for ways to improve their skills. This is especially true in industries like information technology and marketing. Making it less of a chore for team members to keep their skills sharp benefits everyone and strengthens loyalty to the employer. Learning at lunch demonstrates to potential new hires that they’ll have opportunities to grow all throughout their tenure at your company. When you invest in others’ success, they will be much more likely to invest their time with you and stick with you through tomorrow’s challenges.
Clearer Goals and Higher Achievement A lunch and learn program can help you to clarify the organizational goals. To really maximize a program’s impact, it’s vital to look at the business situation and figure out how to get from point A to point B – only then can you highlight the skills each individual and team may need. Of course, that whole discovery process means that learning can be aligned to your strategic objectives. Over a few months, you may find that more of your personnel have the skills they need to adapt quickly to new problems and perform at their best when the pedal hits the metal.
How to start your own Lunch and Learn Program
"Interested in bringing Lunch and Learn into your office? Organization is key to starting any company-wide initiative",Katie Curri of Bitly who organizes weekly lunch and learn sessions for the Bitly staff.
Plan for the same date and time each week
“A big reason why we started Lunch and Learn was because I wanted to make sure there was consistency and structure. If you build structure to people’s routine, it helps them do their best work. It’s a comfort thing – you’ll always come to work on Wednesday and you can always expect lunch and to learn about something new,” Katie said.
Plan lunches and presentations in advance
Katie usually plans who will be teaching at Lunch and Learn and from where lunch will be catered about a month in advance. Local restaurants are great options to order from, or personalize your Lunch and Learn even more by asking for employees favorite restaurants.
Most people will need regular encouragement to participate in a weekly Lunch and Learn, but with persistence, it can grow into an event that everyone looks forward to. “When you start something, the goal is that you don’t have to actively continue it,” Katie said. “The goal is for it to become something on its own. It takes awhile, but it’s happening.”
How Expand Learning Can Help With Your Lunch and Learn Program
It can seem a little daunting when first trying to establish a regular Lunch and Learn Program. At Expand Learning, we take the stress and worry out of Lunch and Learn events. We can coordinate meals, content, and even the location. We'll work with you to create a single lunch and learn event, or help you develop an ongoing series. Whether you want a 45 minute lunch and learn to talk about Sexual Harassment, or a private Microsoft Excel class with lunch provided, we're here to help make your Lunch and Learn event or program a glowing success! Contact us today to let us help you start planning your next event.
in addition to organizing Lunch and Learn programs, we can also help coordinate