Company lunch and learns provide a way for employers to develop employees' knowledge and pique their interest in opportunities for growth and development. They also provide a casual, friendly way for employees to share information about topics of interest.
A scheduled lunch and learn event may involve company-provided catered food or require employees to bring their own lunch. These gatherings may include guest speakers, educational videos, and concluding question-and-answer (Q&A) sessions. They provide a learning opportunity for employees and employers interested in sharing their thoughts and ideas concerning employee and company-related issues.
Purpose of Lunch and Learns
Lunch and learns encourage employees to share their thoughts and ideas in a more relaxed, casual environment at lunchtime. They aim to enhance the skills, knowledge, thinking, and learning abilities of employees. They are provided in an informal setting that employees appreciate, learning something new and interesting.
Lunch and learns are also an opportunity to build teamwork and a positive work culture or environment for employees. Their purpose is to:
- Enhance employee learning about topics that are ancillary to work topics
- Develop employee knowledge about life skills, the world, and other topics of interest
- Provide a reason for employees to gather to enhance teamwork and company values
- Raise employees' level of engagement and motivation at work by providing onsite education
- Increase employees' ability to grow as well as contribute to their company's success
Ideas for Lunch and Learn Sessions
Companies should take advantage of lunch and learn sessions by determining topics that can help lead to company growth and success. Engaging employees in this process motivates them to learn and grow with your company.
Topics for lunch and learns can vary widely, although they should relate to a company's goals and beliefs. The following suggested sessions may help you determine your own company-specific lunch and learns:
- Community volunteer opportunities. Present a list of volunteer opportunities for employees compiled by the community relations committee. This may include a brief presentation by people who work for volunteer organizations.
- New approach to marketing. Invite a few key marketing people to make a presentation that includes a slideshow to introduce a new approach to marketing and its affect on different roles in the workplace. Hold a Q&A session to receive feedback and answer any questions.
- Work more efficiently to meet deadlines. Engage employees in a discussion about working more efficiently. Ask them to share tips and insights, as well as any challenges they may face in performing their job successfully.
- Health and wellness. Have human resources (HR) present updated health and wellness benefits such as additional discounted gym memberships, onsite weight loss group meetings, and healthier vending machine and cafeteria options. Invite a medical technician to take employees' blood pressure or a chiropractor to offer free evaluations.
Lunch and Learn Topics
Topics that companies may consider include:
- Options for 401(k) investments
- How to take advantage of employee benefits involving advice and counseling
- Managing your work/life balance
- Sharpen your communication and listening skills
- Improving reading comprehension
- How to think outside the box
- Time management tips
- Productivity apps for various browsers, smartphones, or the Apple iPad
- Stress management tips
- Mastering email overload in an organized, helpful fashion
- Tips about getting the most out of Microsoft Windows and Word
- The operations, functions, and contributions of any department in the company
Use your company activity, culture, wellness, or employee morale committee to schedule lunch and learn events as an opportunity to show employees that you care about them, the quality of their lives, and their ongoing learning for the success of your organization. In turn, employees will feel valued and involved as main contributors to the overall success of your business.