For most professionals, lunchtime is most likely a time to quickly grab a bite, nibble a sandwich or two while checking our phones and then heading right back to work. During this time, we will probably catch up on some latest news, personal messages, calls etc. Could we utilise this time, perhaps once a week, to enrich ourselves with an activity which will enhance our personal and professional growth?
Course 1: For Starters
Personal growth doesn’t just happen with day to day work but also in the way we engage with our colleagues through the process of learning. At TriNimbus, we are in the business where technologies are constantly evolving. We are also big believers in learning as we want to use all this knowledge about new tech to benefit our customers. In light of this, the Trinimbus team developed a program that has empowered our employees with new ways to learn, share and keep connected with the business, as it evolves. As our organisation continues it’s rapid growth pace, this will become more and more important as we learn about different practice teams and specialities within the organisation. When discussion and interaction is encouraged, it promotes a culture which educates and inspires everyone involved. It's cross-functional and relevant to every employee.
To encourage employees from multiple locations and offices to build connections with one another, we realised that our Lunch & Learns needed to be available to all employees so they can participate from anywhere. Whether someone joins the live presenter in a conference room, or connects virtually through video conference, Lunch & Learns at TriNimbus have proven to create a friendly and informal setting for getting to know our colleagues while learning something about new technologies and about AWS - while enjoying delicious food!
Course 2: For Mains, we recommend...
What has worked really well for us so far has been topics on new AWS tools which enhance productivity, introducing new features of AWS, code demos on integrating different features of AWS as well as discussion on emerging technologies and product demos.
Although some sessions could be focused, others could be summary of interesting and relevant stuff happening. Some topics could be so interesting that it will inspire others to have a followup session on a similar topic.This is also a great time to motivate employees by reinforcing the core values and vision of the organisation.
If you are like us (passionate about AWS), the initial set of topics could include an introduction to an emerging AWS service or a deep dive on a specific service like AWS GreenGrass, Polly or Machine Learning, stuff that many individuals usually don't get time to explore during their regular work. You can also utilize the time, for someone in the team to share what they learnt about a new technology, new practices or paradigms or the topic could be just talking anything exciting happening in the company.
From our experience, it is recommended that the duration of each session be around 30 - 40 mins and allowing 10 mins for questions, so that it comfortably fits everyone’s lunch break. If it is conducted regularly, it will enforce a sort of routine, that people will be begin looking forward to the session and factoring it into their work schedules.
There are challenges of course. In TriNimbus’ case, our offices are scattered across different timezones and this makes it difficult to work with everyone’s schedules. We try our best to find a sweet spot. We also record our sessions, so that people who could not participate in real time, will have the opportunity to review the session at a later time.
Course 3: Desert or Dessert?
Even though we all work together (because we are a part of the same organization), in reality, we’re on different projects and we might not know what else is happening around us. There is almost a little sense of isolation like you are in a desert with your small/big group trying to complete the safari (project) before meeting up with the rest of the groups. This happens frequently at companies of all different sizes; you might understand what projects your team is working on, but not know what the team across the hallway is working on. Lunch and Learns serve as a platform for teams to explain and share what they are working on. When you understand what everyone does, you have a new appreciation for work being done at your company and understand where they fit. We have plenty of success stories we could share about how these sessions have particularly helped our team to improve the way they work and engage with customers.
Lunch and Learns are not only about improving our work – it improves our work relationships. They give everyone a chance to showcase their projects and interests. When you start bouncing ideas with people you don’t normally work with, it fosters learning and growth. An environment where people are encouraged to learn also encourages them to grow both their technical and soft skills. Lunch and Learns have helped build synergy and trust relationships at TriNimbus in a significant way, so we definitely recommend it to our readers to try at their own organizations. After all, only good things can come out of learning over food, right? If not, we hope at least the food was delicious. 🙂