Lunch & Learns; Don’t Eat Around the Bush
What are they?
Lunch & Learns: informal learning sessions that organizations arrange for their employees, during lunch time. These sessions could be training, presentations, skill learning exercises, or just another way to bond with colleagues. Companies arrange these as a part of their corporate wellness program; the purpose is to encourage employee engagement and add value to their employee’s skill set. In order to persuade employees to participate, companies will often provide free lunch or an opportunity to win prizes.
It’s a Win-Win for Employers and Employees
While Lunch & Learns can be about company training and procedures, they can also be focused on teaching people skills; budgeting, time management, taxes, or even healthy eating. The organization can either arrange for external speakers to come in and teach, or get volunteers from within the organization to conduct one. The casual setting encourages people to mingle with employees from different departments as well as with managers. Often, employees struggle or feel awkward having conversations with upper management, and this is the perfect way to develop the ‘one-team feeling’. Moreover, this feeling can act as a motivator for employees and can increase their performance at work.
For the company, motivated employee’s means that people are happier at work, creating a positive work culture. Moreover, when companies arrange personal development sessions, employees feel valued and in turn want to invest their energy into the organization. This also assists companies in retaining employees, because employees are able to feel themselves growing with the organization.
Keep it light-hearted and engaging
These are meant to be refreshing for employees. The last thing you want to do is bore them during their lunch! So incorporate some humour, PowerPoint’s with videos and pictures, music, and ask questions.
If you expect employees to attend and enjoy their time, make sure the topics are of interest to them and will either help them with professional or personal development. Ask them for their feedback about which topics they would like to cover, what they think of the sessions, and how they can improve.
This can be a great platform to provide employees with any quick updates about the company. Upcoming events, training’s, social activities, or even changes can be talked about briefly before the session begins. You have the attention of your employees so they are more likely to acknowledge them.
Make it mandatory
They are meant to be voluntary! Give employees the option to attend and something that they want to do rather than need to do. A mandatory session during their lunch time is not the right approach to get engagement.
Disturb other employees
Employees that choose not to participate should not have to suffer from excess noise or a common space being unavailable. In order to prevent this, host the lunch and learns in a noise-free area and make sure they do not run overtime. The good being done by these sessions can be cancelled out by other employees being frustrated by them.
Forget your remote employees
Give your remote employees the chance to participate by including a video conference option, but also encourage them to come in person if they can. This way, you are engaging all your employees.
Try Them Out
Based on the National Wellness Survey, organizations that have invested in wellness programs, such as lunch & learns, have seen a 40% reduced rate in absenteeism and 30% improvement in productivity. If you’re an employer looking to increase employee engagement at your company, or an employee that has been hesitant about attending these sessions, give Lunch & Learns a shot!
To learn more about our corporate wellness services, visit our Corporate Wellness page.