Merge's Blog

Encourage informal employee training by holding “Learn at Lunch” sessions

It’s been a few weeks since I’ve posted a video in our ongoing series on ideas and tips to develop and grow your employees.  Today’s strategy focuses on employee training – specifically to hold “Learn at Lunch” sessions for your staff.

Hold “Learn at Lunch” sessions

In my leadership practice, one of the most common concerns I hear raised when it comes to employee training is the lack of time available to take employees away from day-to-day responsibilities.  In these situations, I often suggest a “Learn at Lunch” program.  These can be a great way to develop and motivate staff, while creating a collaborative, communicative and learning workplace.

So what is a Learn at Lunch session?  It’s usually a 30-45 minute informal presentation organized by your company for your staff over the lunch hour, led either by internal employees or external resources, as needed.  While they can pretty much be held anywhere, they’re often, held in the cafeteria, auditorium, or a conference room.  As an incentive to attend, most organizations provide lunch, but if that’s not feasible for you, you can invite your employees to bring their own lunch during the session.

What kind of informal employee training is appropriate?

So what are appropriate subjects for “Learn at Lunch” programs?  Pretty much anything, limited only by the creativity and imagination of your employees. Some of the most common areas I see covered are a variety of communication and organization skills, as well as programs to raise awareness of the company’s products and services.  It can be an opportunity for employees who have attended a conference or training the chance to share the highlights for other employees who did not attend.  It may be about opportunities for employees to volunteer in their communities.

Some specific topics that I’ve seen client organizations cover are information about company benefits; How to talk, so people listen; Techniques of speed reading; Time and stress management tips; Productivity apps for various browsers or smartphones; Mastering email overload; Tips about getting the most out of Microsoft Windows and Word; and the operations, functions, and contributions of any department in the company.  I think you get the idea!

Well, I’m curious to hear what you think?  The most common objection I hear to “Learn at Lunch” programs is that employees won’t want to give up their personal lunch time for learning.  But as long as attendance is voluntary, my personal experience has been that many employees actually enjoy these.  What have been your experiences?  Please share by adding a comment below.

This has been an ongoing series of video tips that I started at the beginning of this year.  Here are the others:

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