Continuing education and specialized training seminars are an essential part of doing business. From teaching employees about new technology to getting everyone on the same page following the on-boarding of a big new client, these meetings are vital. Yet one question always remains: How will you find the time?
Turning lunch into an opportunity for company-wide growth is a two-birds-one-stone strategy that is far more effective than you may think.
What Is a Lunch and Learn?
Lunch and learn or brown bag session are both catchy terms that refer to a training session or seminar, which is scheduled during what would typically be your employees’ lunch hour. Rather than watching your staff abandon their desks and leave the building in search of sustenance, the company provides a delicious and nutritious meal accompanied by a healthy helping of education.
You may use the time to:
- Offer skilled training in job-related tools like SalesForce or Photoshop
- Discuss new company developments
- Cross-train employees so they’re prepared to do jobs in different departments
- Introduce a new product to the sales team
How to Keep Your Employees Engaged
First, think of the lunch you’re providing not as an expense, but as an incentive. You’re asking (or requiring, as the case may be) staff to give up fresh air or social time in favor of a structured training event.
Secondly, don’t restrict your lunch and learns to strictly business topics. Incorporate some fun ideas like:
- A monthly book club
- Stress-reduction tips
- Five minute desk stretch or yoga routines
- Discussions based on TED talks
- Expert talks on personal finance or debt reduction
- Meditation and mindfulness
Lastly, be transparent about why you think these lunch and learn opportunities are important. When you confidently say you believe you’re fostering team unity, creating a stronger company, offering opportunities for personal growth, and trying to be more open about company operations, suddenly trading in a lunch hour seems like an excellent choice.
How a Catered Lunch Can Help
As we mentioned above, the lunch part of a lunch and learn should be an incentive, and boring meals that are unappealing aren’t going to inspire employees to give up their free time. Bringing in a professional food partner gives your workers a delicious, mouthwatering spread of dishes from which to choose, something that tends to melt even the most ardent resistance. For those employees who are still second-guessing their attendance, one whiff of chicken Parmesan or made-to-order omelets wafting through the halls will likely change at least a few minds.
Hiring a caterer also frees you to concentrate on the content of your lunch and learn. Instead of unwrapping sandwich platters, you will interact with your employees and strike up valuable conversations. You’ll have access to curated meals based on dietary restrictions. Feeling extra creative? Coordinate the lunch and learn topics to complement the meal your team is noshing on during training.
There are many benefits to hosting a lunch and learn, the key is finding a flexible food partner to support your game plan. ZeroCater is ready to help host memorable meals that bring people together and take lunch and learns to the next level.
- Learn at lunch: a program to help employees grow
- Lunch and learn: why we do it and you should too
- How to set off a brown bag session in 30 minutes at your company