Successful companies embrace continuous improvement, building a culture of constant learning and development. Lunch and learns — midday informational sessions — provide an opportunity to educate employees in a fun, casual setting. Executed effectively, these informal gatherings can sharpen team members’ skills and build a happier, more cohesive workforce.

Lunch and Learn: What Is It, Exactly?

A lunch and learn event is a lunchtime session where employees come together to share a meal and watch a presentation. The structure and topic are flexible — use the time to share information, discuss ideas, host a team-building event, or conduct a training. Each session is a professional-development opportunity and a chance for team members from across the company to build relationships that could lead to collaboration, innovation, and an all around better company culture.

The quality of a lunch and learn depends on a key factor: the topic. When you choose subjects that interest employees, you’re more likely to see high event attendance levels and engaging discussions.

Lunch and Learn Ideas Your Employees Will Love

Traditional lunch and learn events focus on topics that are relevant to company operations, but there’s plenty of room for creativity. A mix of topics can keep your team members engaged and provide value that extends beyond the workplace.

As you develop a schedule, consider these lunch and learn ideas:

  • Role and team introduction. Invite members of different teams to give presentations about what they do. This is an effective way to help employees understand how the business runs and how their own role fits into the overall operation. Don’t forget to include the C-suite and management team.
  • New Technology. If you’re planning to integrate a new tool, platform, or program into your business, introduce it to workers in a lunch and learn session. It’s a low-pressure way to build familiarity and encourage questions.
  • Professional tips and tricks. Bring in internal or external speakers to share strategies and tips to help employees improve their professional lives. Topics such as time management, organization, public speaking and stress mitigation can benefit the team and the company.
  • Skill-building. Use your lunch and learn program for professional development by training workers in skills that are relevant to company operations. Teach them to use a software program more efficiently, for example, or strengthen their coding knowledge.
  • Life topics. Not every lunch and learn topic needs to be work-related; add value for employees by bringing in professionals to speak about subjects such as personal finance, home repair, or health and wellness. To infuse an element of fun, schedule entertaining sessions on wine tasting, baking, or books.

Create a consistent, high-quality experience for your team by following lunch and learn best practices:

  • Choose a room that’s convenient for eating.
  • Promote events to everyone in the company.
  • Encourage managers and company leaders to participate.
  • Switch up topics frequently to attract more employees.
  • Reward attendees with employee appreciation perks.
  • Integrate interactive segments when possible.
  • Leave 10-15 minutes free for discussion after each session.

To increase participation in your lunch and learn program — particularly when the topic impacts company operations — consider offering a free meal. The best meals to serve are easy to eat; employees can enjoy pizza, sandwiches, or salads, while concentrating on the presentation. Consider buffet-style lunch catering for larger groups.

Virtual Lunch and Learn: A Guide for Remote Businesses

If your business has hybrid or remote workers, consider virtual lunch and learn sessions. Remote conferencing technology opens up a wealth of possibilities, making it easy to bring in speakers from around the world. You can even record each event to create a digital resource library for current and future employees.

Engage your remote employees by planning presentations that pique curiosity, provide professional development, or provide clear value. Bring in the CEO to discuss the company’s short-term and long-term goals, host a networking session, or invite an industry expert to discuss the latest trends. Where possible, design interactive sessions to motivate real-time participation.

Best practices for virtual events include:

  • Choose a time that accommodates the majority of employees.
  • Offer more than one session for teams that are spread over multiple time zones.
  • Stick closely to the schedule.
  • Ask the presenter to create a list of questions or prompts to engage remote employees and encourage discussion.
  • Open the online event for casual conversation before or after the session.

Make Lunch and Learns a Success With Grubhub Corporate

Whether you’re hosting an in-person or virtual lunch and learn session, Grubhub Corporate makes it easy to provide meals for attendees by offering multiple ways to order. For in-person events, you can order family-style catering or allow each person to add the meal of their choice to a group order. All meals show up at the same time, so the team-building session can start on schedule. If you’re thinking about virtual lunch and learn ideas, keep in mind that Grubhub also supports individual meals. Simply assign each remote employee a budget and they can have lunch delivered directly to their home or workspace.

As you build a thriving lunch and learn program, Grubhub Corporate can help you increase participation and save time. Contact us to learn more about feeding your employees for lunch and learns today.