Lunch and Learns are a popular trend at a lot of companies these days, and Bananatag is no exception. We’ve jumped on the lunch and learn train ourselves and we have to admit, we’re not turning back.
If you haven’t heard about these yet, a lunch and learn is essentially a lunch break plus a quick lesson about any given topic presented by your coworker. It’s a chance for employees to solidify a topic they’re learning about by teaching it too, and putting a focus on their personal development.
They’re a creative way to bring often segmented employees together, learn something new, and connect with one another.
Why you should host a Lunch and Learn
Our first answer is: well, why not?
Build culture: Lunch and learns, more so than any other event, can help cultivate a sense of community in your workplace. Whoever is able to attend (it’s good to note that not everyone in your office will be able to make it to every L&L and that’s okay -- people have things to do, but employees are encouraged to join.).
Allow employees to share who they are: There’s often the sense at a workplace that employees can’t exactly be their true selves -- as if they have to check their personality out at the door and get to work. But lunch and learns create an environment where employees celebrate what they’re interested in and learn something new. It’s an ideal opportunity to allow employees personalities shine through and bring their whole selves at work.
Encourage personal development: At Bananatag, we’re big on personal development. A lunch and learn is a perfect way to solidify personal learning goals that many of our employees have set (it could be to pick up a new skill like coding, or pro-level excel, or more personal like how to be more creative or organized in your everyday life). Setting a presentation date helps to make these goals seem more ‘real’ and attainable. An added bonus: everyone has an opportunity to work on public speaking skills!
Cross-training: This typical lunch break alternative opens up the opportunity for cross-training at your organization. It’s not every day that different departments can come together and learn something from one another, especially new concepts outside of their work.
Lunch and learns are fun! This is an obvious one but it has to be mentioned. Lunch and learns are a really good time. They bring a few of our favourite things together: lunch and learning about an interesting new topic.
Lunch and Learns at Bananatag
At Bananatag, we try to host our lunch and learns every two to three weeks and we follow a rotating schedule. Until everyone in the office has presented once, the rotation begins again. This allows everyone a chance to present their topic and it gives them enough time to prepare a presentation they would be proud of.
We’re just a couple months into this tradition and we’ve had a fun range of presentations. Some of our talks have included:
- How to properly recycle
- HTML basics
- The importance of design
- The power of habit
- Handwriting analysis
How does it work? Well we have a couple ways of going about this: either our team members bring their own lunches or buy theirs and then we all meet in the ping pong meeting room for the presentation. Talks can be from 15 to 25 minutes and everyone is welcome to eat before or during the presentation -- anything works.
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Our lunches might look something like this (it’s true -- we are all aboard the Poké train):
How to host a Lunch and Learn at your organization
Be organized: Use Google calendar (or however your organization keeps things organized), send out an internal email and remind your team about the great lunchtime alternative that will be happening. The more employees present, the better! And this relies on strong organization to get everyone involved. You can use this Google Form we created to take lunch and learn submissions at your own organization.
Be consistent: Make sure you host each lunch at learn at the same time and same day for every presentation! Not only is this easy for employees to remember and commit to, but it quickly becomes a fun company tradition.
Give employees freedom: Their presentation could be something they’re working on at the office, or it might not be related to work in the slightest. Whatever it is, make sure employees chose their own topic. There’s nothing worse than presenting a topic you’re completely uninterested in -- that means, have a variety of topics presented in your own company lunch and learns. The presentations should be a spectrum of subjects, as your employees likely have a range of interests and why not uncover them?
Invite guest speakers: Since starting up our lunch and learn tradition, we’ve always branched out and invited guest speakers to present (friends of colleagues) topics neither of our team members might know about.
Lunch and Learns + Employee Engagement
Engaging employees is an added benefit of having lunch and learns at your organization.
By bringing everyone together, and getting the chance to slow down and focus on our team members, and what they are passionate about, employees become more engaged with their work and each other.