We wanted to encourage people to make connections outside their own teams or departments, break down silos, collaborate and learn from each other.
Our Fab Ambassador, Leeanne Lockley, and the Library & Knowledge Services team worked together to coordinate a Randomised Coffee Trial across the Trust as part of #FabChangeWeek.
Participants were recruited by email and via other #FabChangeWeek activities. Participants provided their name, email address and job title and we used an Excel spreadsheet to randomly pair people up.
Each pairing was then sent an email to introduce them to each other and suggesting that they meet for a coffee to talk about anything they liked! Suggestions for talking points were included.
In January 2018 we sent everyone who had signed up a feedback questionnaire (produced using Survey Monkey) to assess the impact of the Randomised Coffee Trial.
52 people signed up to the Randomised Coffee Trial and 23 responded to the feedback questionnaire (response rate 44%).
61% of respondents (14 people) had met up with their pairing;
39% (9 people) had not.
Of those that didn’t meet, this was due to the other person not responding, work pressures and sickness.
One pairing had a telephone conversation instead.
100% of the people who met with their pairing said it was a positive experience for them.
As a result of meeting, respondents connected with someone that they wouldn’t otherwise have met (78%), widened their professional network (56%) and learned something new (44%).
91% of respondents said they would take part in another Randomised Coffee Trial (whether they met up with their pairing or not).
Some of our learning points are:
• A Randomised Coffee Trial is a simple but effective knowledge sharing activity that can enable people to make connections, widen their professional networks and learn from each other.
• Combining the skills and expertise of the Fab Ambassador and the library team helped enormously in promoting the activity and getting people to sign up.
• People were enthusiastic and curious about the concept.
• We hope to repeat the Randomised Coffee Trial later this year.
More people signed up that actually ended up meeting, so when we repeat the activity we need to work out how to encourage more meetings (offering a free coffee?).
Some of the responses from our feedback survey: “I got on very well with the person I met and we have agreed to meet up again in our own time. I found the trial interesting and enjoyable. I have worked in this building for 20 years and there must be hundreds of people I have never met. This is a great way to meet people for professional networking or just a friendly chat.”
“This is a great initiative which can only help improve staff engagement and staff morale.”
“A fantastic way to connect people, ideas and knowledge!”
“It was really nice to meet someone from a different department. We had a good chat and have kept in touch since our meeting.”