In today’s evolving work landscape, hybrid teams have become the new norm. As organizations continue to adapt to remote and in-office work dynamics, fostering collaboration, communication, and a sense of unity among team members can be a significant challenge. That’s where “Lunch and Learn” sessions come into play. These sessions provide a unique opportunity to bring together hybrid team members, both virtually and in person, for valuable learning experiences while enjoying a meal. But launching these sessions effectively requires best practices and the right training approach, such as the TIGERS Learning Circle, to cultivate the behaviors that build strong teams and address those that cause predictable problems.
The Power of Lunch and Learn for Hybrid Teams
“Lunch and Learn” sessions are a versatile and engaging way to promote continuous learning, team building, and knowledge sharing. They offer a relaxed, non-threatening environment where team members can connect, collaborate, and grow together. Here’s five reasons why they are so effective for hybrid teams.
First, they are convenient and inclusive. “Lunch and Learn” sessions accommodate team members regardless of their location, making them an inclusive choice for hybrid teams. Virtual participants can join from anywhere, creating a level playing field for all.
Second, they are casual and engaging opportunities to connect to one another. The informal nature of these sessions fosters open dialogue and engagement. Team members can relax, enjoy a meal, and participate in discussions without the pressure of a formal meeting.
Next they produce continuous learning opportunities. They promote a culture of continuous learning by providing opportunities for skill development, knowledge sharing, and staying up-to-date with industry trends.
Team Bonding is the next advantage. “Lunch and Learn” sessions create a sense of camaraderie. Team members get to know each other on a personal level, strengthening interpersonal connections that are often missing in virtual settings.
Finally they promote team efficiency for managers. Combining learning with lunch maximizes time efficiency, allowing team members to multitask and make the most of their break.
Best Practices for Launching Lunch and Learn
To ensure the successful launch of “Lunch and Learn” sessions for your hybrid team, consider the following best practices:
Communicate the purpose and benefits of these sessions to your team members. Explain how they align with your organization’s goals, why active participation is essential and what it means for their career development.
Choose a consistent day and time for these sessions, accommodating various time zones and work schedules. Alternating between breakfast, lunch, and after-work sessions can also cater to different preferences.
Vary the topics to keep sessions interesting and relevant. Topics can range from industry trends and skill-building to team-building activities and wellness initiatives. This is a great way to use the power of groups to strike various communication initiatives off a manager’s to do list.
Encourage interaction during sessions. Incorporate polls, Q&A sessions, breakout rooms, or group discussions to keep participants engaged and foster teamwork.
Invite guest speakers, both internal and external, to share their expertise and insights. Their fresh perspectives can add value and stimulate discussions. It is also a constructive way for employees to meet managers and colleagues from different departments for laying the groundwork for interdepartmental mobility.
Gather feedback from participants after each session. Use this feedback to improve future sessions and adapt to the changing needs, interests and preferences of your team.
Ensure that virtual participants have the same access to resources and opportunities to contribute as those attending in person. Use video conferencing tools to bridge the gap between remote and on-site team members. When onsite members don’t have to travel to meeting rooms or offsite employees to onsite operations, it saves time and affords more life balance for people both at work and at home.
Record sessions for team members who couldn’t attend in real-time. Make these recordings easily accessible so that team members can catch up at their convenience. Likewise, develop a place on your intranet to link topics for new employees to learn from, too. You can add these conversations and topics to employee onboarding, making it easy for those managers of new employees who hold conversations with them designed to build trust and connection.
Elevate Lunch and Learn Sessions with TIGERS Learning Circles
While “Lunch and Learn” sessions provide an excellent platform for hybrid teams to connect and learn together, introducing a structured training approach can elevate these sessions to a whole new level. This is where the TIGERS Learning Circle comes into play.
The TIGERS Learning Circle is a comprehensive training program that focuses on the six core principles of Trust, Interdependence, Genuineness, Empathy, Risk, and Success. These principles are fundamental to building strong teams and addressing predictable problems. Here’s how the TIGERS Learning Circle enhances the “Lunch and Learn” experience:
Establishing a Common Language
The TIGERS Learning Circle provides a shared framework and common language for team members to discuss and understand team dynamics and group process. This facilitates more meaningful discussions during “Lunch and Learn” sessions for developing group behavior norms that employees feel accountable for because they helped to construct them. This is a very powerful tool for building critical mass for collaborative work transformations.
It offers valuable insights into team behaviors. By understanding the TIGERS 6 Principles and the behaviors that anchor them, team members can identify behaviors that contribute to team strength and those that lead to problems. This leads to improved team performance and minimizes conflict that is disruptive to the team. It often falls to managers to resolve the conflict, so when team members feel accountable for the behavior norms they contribute to, this frees managers to work on growth initiatives.
The TIGERS 6 Principles emphasize continuous improvement, aligning with the “Lunch and Learn” goal of promoting ongoing learning and growth. Teams can apply these principles to their daily interactions and measure progress over time.
The TIGERS principles actively promote the development of trust, empathy, and interdependence, all of which are crucial for effective teamwork. These principles encourage team members to collaborate more effectively and build strong, cohesive teams.
Leadership skills are integral to building strong teams. The TIGERS Learning Circle also empowers team members with leadership skills that enhance team dynamics. At the same time they prepare a wider pool off employees for succession leadership opportunities.
Launching “Lunch and Learn” sessions for hybrid teams can significantly contribute to team building, knowledge sharing, and overall engagement. However, combining this approach with the TIGERS Learning Circle takes these sessions to a higher level by providing a structured framework for understanding team behaviors and fostering stronger, more effective teams. As hybrid work continues to evolve, embracing innovative methods like “Lunch and Learn” sessions supported by the TIGERS Learning Circle can lead to more resilient, agile, and collaborative teams, ultimately driving organizational success in this dynamic era of work.
Care to dig deeper into this hybrid team conversation?
Here are some resources that will add to your knowledge.
- Leading with empathy in the hybrid workplace
- How to Lead Learning Circles
- Surviving 2022 with a hybrid work environment
- Facilitative Management Series
- Complimentary Webinar on the TIGERS 6 Principles
Copyright TIGERS Success Series, Inc. by Dianne Crampton
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