Coffee & learn is a recurring 15-minute session we hold in the Marketing department. The team comes together for a coffee break, and we take turn delivering short presentations on something we do, something we know, or something we are.
Why do we do it? Back at the beginning of 2018, our Marketing department grew from 5 to 9 people in the span of one month. We needed to figure out how we’d all work together, and we also wanted to make sure the newest hires would feel part of the team from the very beginning.
I’d just read a Google study which argued that the foundation of effective and successful teams was psychological safety. Long story short, when team members feel comfortable and safe with each other as people they are willing to show vulnerability, take risks, accept challenges, and find new ways to work together and innovate.
I’d also just come back from a nomadic summer in Scandinavia where I’d learned about the Swedish tradition of ‘Fika’: taking a pause to socialize with colleagues while sharing a drink and a snack. Combining the two things gave me the inspiration to host a recurring 15-minute event to help create that base layer of trust and feeling of safety.
How does it work? As the activity owner, I only have two tasks: make sure that my co-workers take turns signing up for a speech, and send out recurring calendar invites. Once coffee & learn day comes, we stay online after scrum for an additional 15 minutes, and one of us shares their screen and delivers a presentation. Here is the schedule for last year: