Why We Introduced Lunch & Learn - And Your Business Should Too


It all started when we were a training company. We needed dedicated training management software that would allow us to efficiently track and manage courses, resources, trainers and delegates. But with no realistic options out there on the market, we developed our own course management system. That decision, over 20 years ago, was the beginning of our drive to ‘learn and improve’ – a core accessplanit value. It’s a commitment we’ve maintained ever since, 

What is Lunch & Learn?

As a training provider, you know how important it is to ensure your delegates get the most out of their learning. However, the drive for continual improvement starts not with your course attendees but with your business.

Look for long enough and you’ll find plenty of ways to improve aspects of your company – from increasing online course bookings to gaining detailed business insights that determine your company’s trajectory. The introduction of a learning culture.

Often reserved for delegates, training professionals (indeed, any employee at any company) can really benefit from a culture of learning within the workplace. One such example is Lunch & Learn.

Lunch & Learn can mean different things to different organisations. But, for us it's about meeting regularly to improve our team's skills. One of the key traits of our people is wanting to learn and improve, so introducing our own program was a no brainer.

Topics aren't necessarily job-role specific and include exercise activities such as yoga or Pilates, mindfulness, managing your finances for retirement, how to create an effective morning routine and book clubs.

The secret of success

Last month saw the debut session of the accessplanit Lunch & Learn. We invited the brilliant Kev House from the equally brilliant company The Art of Brilliance. Their goal is to ‘make you a more positive, motivated and brilliant person [and] remind you how to be your best self.’

Ah, our best selves. That charming, affable, knowledgeable, professional creature we lock away for special occasions. Just imagine what we’d be like, and how effective our companies could be, if everyone – from the MD down – was operating at 10-out-of-10 level all the time. According to Kev, that requires happiness.

Happy employees, Kev explained, are…

  • Productive
  • Creative
  • Helpful
  • Motivated
  • Resilient
  • Energetic

Already, our team feels far more confident- enough to reflect on what their best selves really look like, and how to hit that 10/10, 100% of the time. And that’s after just one event.

So, how can you make the most of your own Lunch & Learn sessions?

Why your company should introduce Lunch & Learn

There are plenty of Lunch & Learn ideas available to you; you don’t always have to opt for an external speaker. You might have team members who have knowledge to share; online videos that broaden those horizons; a book club… You’re pretty much limited only by imagination.

Regardless of what you and your team are planning, these tips show you how to get the most out of any learning (and lunching) you do.

 Define your goals

Before you roll-out the Lunch & Learn, you’ll want to give careful consideration to what you want to get out of it – both from individual sessions and the project as a whole.

Are you bettering yourself, acquiring key skills, exploring the industry? All are valid objectives. One of the most popular reasons for introducing L&L is to transform or solidify company culture. Once everyone understands why you’re doing it, it’ll be easier to figure out how you’ll achieve it.

 Choose the right topics

Don’t be rigid here. Not all Lunch & Learns need to be business-focused. It’s as much about benefiting staff too, so if your team shows an interest in, say, unleashing their inner artist, then it’s worth exploring these sessions, and tying lessons back to your company where possible.

Also, choose a high-concept theme – the sort you can sum up in a single sentence. This will keep any Lunch & Learn session focused and accessible.

Recent session topics delivered at accessplanit have included:

  • Self defence 
  • Meditation 
  • An introduction to computer programming

 Don’t be boring

Lunch & Learn sessions shouldn’t be like a school maths class on a Monday morning. There’s more to them than a monologue, a PowerPoint presentation and a roomful of clock-watchers. Sessions should include tons of variety – from discussing key points and sharing experiences to quiet reflection and simple listening. Mix it up. Your team will be much more engaged (and more likely to retain any learning).

 Debrief, process and revisit

To ensure that everyone gets the most out of their learning, ensure time is also dedicated to processing all that information – the ‘Lunch’ part of the Lunch & Learn is the ideal time, of course. That might take the form of a quiz. Or a round-table discussion.

Whatever works best for the team to lock in that learning. If you do deliver slideshow presentations, videos or reading lists during the session, make sure these are available to staff after the event. You should also consider gathering feedback, to continually assess and improve your Lunch & Learns.

 Maintain that momentum

It’s all too easy to let learning fall by the way side – don’t fall into that trap. All those lovely lessons need to be locked in and lived. As such, it’s crucial to maintain the momentum once you’re under way, so you can continue to transform the culture of the workplace

Ideally, this should be done during the initial session planning, where you can follow-up learning with related and relevant activities, such as videos and feedback forums. This will keep those ideas fresh and front-and-centre of the mind, as well as offering further opportunities to learn.

We’ll hand the last words over to a bit of Confucian philosophy, with the famed Chinese proverb…

‘Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.’

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