How do you get the smartest people at your company to share their expertise without taking additional time out of their already busy schedules? After all, it’s a rare occasion when employees in marketing, sales, and services (etc.) actually get a chance to interact and share new ideas. I mean, who has the time to learn something new when your schedule already looks like swiss cheese?
Sure, being an expert in marketing may not require you to understand programming trends (and vice versa), but it certainly helps to learn about the challenges other departments face and gain beneficial knowledge about different professions in the company. As the business world moves forward, it’s no longer viable to just be a great marketer or sales manager. People that see the big picture tend to move up faster and are often the most respected leaders.
This is where the ‘Lunch and Learn’ comes into play. As we learned last week, food brings employees together and convinces them to do extraordinary things (like attend meetings). Some companies are starting to take this free lunch idea and use it as an incentive to get employees to spend that hour lunch break learning about new business trends and topics.
Pardot, a marketing automation company based out of Atlanta, GA offers a bimonthly ‘Lunch and Learn’ where employees happily dedicate an hour to quality food and education. As a marketing SaaS company, topics range from email deliverability to understanding the sales process. It creates a culture of collaborative, well-rounded employees that are educated on an array of industry topics.
How to implement:
- Ask for volunteers to present information about areas they are experts in. This gives them a chance to show what they are passionate about, without feeling obligated.
- Schedule some dining options during a day that most employees can attend (avoid holidays and fridays where most people will be gone).
- Have volunteers create a presentation about their topic using materials they are comfortable with (powerpoint, keynote, video software).
- Be amazed at how many employees actually want to learn more about different areas of your company.
- Start off slowly- don’t offer too many too quickly. It can be overwhelming to spend most lunches in the office. This should be a special treat!
- Leave ample time for people to sign up and clear their lunch schedules.
- Offer recordings of the presentations for those that cannot attend.
Any other tips?