Tuesday, November 4, 2008

How training can capitalize on employees’ changing lunch habits

The struggling economy is having a powerful impact on the way Americans spend money during the workday, according to Vault.com’s “Workday Cutbacks” survey. An estimated 80% of workers have changed their workday habits when it comes to food and drink in order to save money.

The most significant changes in food and drink habits during the workday include:

  • Avoiding the vending machines (19%)
  • Bringing lunch from home (61%)
  • Cutting back on morning or afternoon coffee runs (28%)
  • Eating or picking up from less expensive places for lunch (41%)
  • Skipping the happy hour outing (23%)
  • Haven’t changed a thing (20%)

With more employees opting to bring their lunch to work rather than going out to eat, training professionals can capitalize on employees’ changing lunch habits is by offering “lunch and learn” training sessions.

Lunch and learn training programs are generally more relaxed and less structured than normal corporate training, where attending employees can enjoy their brown bag lunch while learning something new.

Among other bonuses, in-house employee training saves businesses money on travel expenses and improves productivity by reducing the time employees spend away from their desks.

Common lunch and learn programs include:

Skills training. Depending on the nature of your business, skills training could range from instructing sales teams how to answer the phone correctly to leadership training for newly promoted managers.

Product training. Lunch and learn training sessions are a great way to introduce new products and services your company is developing. It can also be a great time to brainstorm new product ideas.

Professional training. Use the talent already in the building to enhance the professional development of other employees. Maybe there’s someone in accounting who could teach a course in managing money, or someone in HR that could teach employees how to improve their resume.

Everyday skills. Especially with the economy in downturn, employees are interested in learning skills like household budgeting and investing. Other everyday training opportunities include first aid, fire safety and self defense.

Just for fun. Take an office poll - what do employees want to learn? Have fun with training by allowing employees with a special talent to teach a classes from arts and crafts to wood carving.

Turn the lunchroom into a classroom and foster employee training and development with a lunch and learn program of your own. Have fun and create a culture of learning employees will appreciate.


Totally Consumed said...

We've tried this a few times and called them, "Brown Bag Seminars". The only issue we had is that to have trainings during lunch time, they have to be "optional" since lunch is "non-work" time.

Training Time said...

Thanks for the comment Totally Consumed. We agree that attending "Brown Bag Seminars" or "Lunch and Learns" should be completely voluntary, since lunch is off the clock. Mandatory meetings should always be held during regular office hours, leave lunch time alone.

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