The CEO Magazine
A monthly magazine for business leaders and decision makers

Learning Luncheon: A Taste of Success!!

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Learning Luncheon: A Taste of Success!!

 

Breaking bread together is a powerful way to build a company culture and stir innovation.  Your schedule may force you to wolf down something less than super appetizing alone at your desk every once in a while. But if, as a business owner, you haven’t at least considered getting your team to together for a midday meal from time to time, you’re missing out on a seriously good opportunity to spark conversations, build bonds and get their creative juices flowing. Lunch isn’t just about physically fueling your team, it’s a good chunk of time where you aren’t responding to emails, phone calls, or being productive with projects. Food is all about catalyzing conversation.

 

There are all sorts of ways to build bonds among team members. Some businesses go to extremes to do it – luxurious weekend retreats even city-wide scavenger hunts. To keep your employees connected and engaged, you don’t need to spend gobs of money and time on complicated trips or scenarios. For a small business especially, team building doesn’t have to be a complicated endeavor. A small company generally has a small team, so building intimacy and bonds between employees and management can be as simple as lunch.  That’s because the act of eating together is often extraordinarily meaningful.

Platoons that ate meals together had better group job performance than firefighting teams that dined alone. Eating together is a more intimate act than looking over an Excel spreadsheet together. That intimacy spills back over into work. Having team lunches at least once in a month is a great way for employees to stay connected to each other on a deeper level.  It does wonders for work-culture and has the ability to build deeper relationships with team members. Team lunch add a little extra social element and bringing people together. It is also a good way to help new hires get dug in.

 

You may think what does all of this have to do with food? Well, if social bonds and friendships are a key to a positive work environment, then team lunch simply provides the opportunity for those bonds to form or strengthen. Rather than just having some food in the break room and sending out an email, employers should also make a point to invite everyone to share the meal together. Structuring meals as a social occasion send the message to employees that taking the time to linger over conversations and get to know one another is considered valuable and a worthy use of company resources.

What’s more? If a catered meal is brought in as a reward for meeting a goal or completing a project, the entire team sitting together to eat, laugh, and reflect on the hard work that led to the point of celebration will only reinforce the ideas of teamwork and collaboration. The next time a challenging project arises, the memory and experience of celebrating success together could serve as a powerful confidence boost. A great way to encourage productivity is to use company lunches as a reward. If your team makes a certain amount of sales or executes on their goals flawlessly, celebrate success with a food truck catered lunch.

 

Essentially, eating together as a work team has the same benefits that have been demonstrated time and again for families: it fosters a sense of belonging and a shared, meaningful experience that can build supportive relationships. Eating together boosts relationships, forces people to talk about their personal lives and get to know each other outside of work. Even better, it can encourage cooperation and teamwork. Because what is the one thing all coworkers definitely have in common? Work!

 

We often hear the phrase, “Hate the work, love the people” when it comes to company reviews. Studies show that retention rate is much higher for companies with employees who feel like they have good relationships with their team. Having a strong team bond is imperative to making sure your employees stick around. So the next time you are looking for easy, effective ways to bolster team bonding, just do lunch. Use creative ways to a themed lunch for more fun. Use employees’ anniversaries or birthdays to act as an ice-breaker. If you want to take it to the next level, encourage employees to wear themed clothing or to bring meaningful dishes that they can discuss with the group. Besides, you can make the group lunch “potluck” style. Potluck-style lunches are usually the most social kind of group lunch. Make sure to survey all attendees prior to putting potlucks into your lunch rotation to find out any food allergies or preferences.

When you spend time together around the lunch table, it gives you the chance to better connect with your team and find commonalities needed to build strong, long-term relationships. Make company lunch a priority and try scheduling one day a month for a lunch even source one hour for simply eating and use the next hour for a team status meeting. People will be more supportive and excited about work with food in their stomachs and your company productivity will start reaping the benefits.

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