Over the past decade, many firms have integrated Lunch & Learn sessions into their employee training programs. Synonymous with "brown bag" sessions (in reference to the food), lunch and learns are a great tool to engage employees in a subject matter that is prevalent to their industry when time is in a crunch. Many employees have bought into this monthly/bi-weekly event as they simply substitute their lunch break for a free meal and an educational opportunity.
So what do these programs typically include? We suggest the following topics to properly make use of these sessions:
- Employee-led Professional Development: This gives your employees a chance to lead the conversation among themselves, providing a more intimate feel. This is a great opportunity for an employee with a niche skill to explain how having an understanding of a certain topic has helped in their professional development.
- Diversity Initiatives: A very popular lunch and learn is to promote organizational diversity, detail the importance of a diverse workforce, and potentially provide a time that employees can vent concerns with a non-diverse company.
- Product/System Training: Just implemented a new system for your employees in the marketing department to track consumers who engaged with social posts? Instead of scheduling an hour meeting to go over the basics, why not hold a lunch and learn as a replacement to the on-boarding meeting.
- Personal Skills / HR Communication: These sessions provide an excellent opportunity to meet face to face with the workforce and offer benefits and outlets for them which they might have not been aware of. Other personally life skills that have been popular topics of lunch and learns have been personally budgeting, physical fitness in the office and retirement planning.
A great strategy to pilot a lunch and learn is to schedule 2-3 sessions over the course of the next fiscal quarter with topics you find particularly relevant to your employees. If two of these sessions include technical training, consider adding a more relaxed session - perhaps "Ways to Fight Office Fatigue".
Mainspring Solutions also provides lunch and learn seminars from our CEO Thom Rogers, and provides consulting on methods to get your enterprise started utilizing these events.
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