Let’s Chat… Introductory Coffee Chats!

Welcome back, everyone! Today we’re here to piggyback on our rotation review. Once you’ve rotated, trained a backfill, and are beginning to shift your full attention to onboarding, it’s crucial to set up coffee chats across your new organization! What is a coffee chat? How do you best succeed in these conversations? Find out everything you need to know below!

What is a “Coffee Chat”?

Coffee chats are typically 30-minute conversations scheduled between 2 employees of an organization. Especially at large corporate offices, these “chats” may mean a quick run to an on-site coffee shop or sitting area, walking around the perimeter of the office, meeting at a desk, or joining a virtual call. Do these chats always involve coffee? Nope! Likely, both employees will bring the coffee they’ve already purchased earlier that day; the title just sets the tone for a casual, friendly atmosphere. During these conversations, employees may get to know each other, gain introductory information about their jobs, ask for feedback, or learn about completely different areas and positions within the organization! We encourage you to ALWAYS offer to purchase coffee for the other person as a thank you for their time and conversation.

Capitalizing on Coffee Chats:

  • Preparation and Purpose: In order to gain a meaningful amount of knowledge from your conversations, make sure that you are setting up chats with employees that you have a true interest in (whether that be their role, background, accomplishments, etc.). When entering into this conversation, you should have previously conducted a quick search on their background, and a light gauge of their current work so as to avoid taking a large portion of time dedicated solely to introductions.
  • Utilize your Org Chart! Almost all employees have access to an internal org chart that displays all employees within departments, business units, teams, etc. Evaluate your org chart to better understand all of the key players that will contribute to your role (either in dependency, cross-functionality, on your team or in leadership!). By creating personal relationships with other employees that you are bound to interact with almost every day, you will be setting yourself up for success and simultaneously showcasing a genuine desire to get to know them beyond the scope of their work.
  • Ask Specific Questions: As it relates to our point above, you should not be asking questions like, “How’d you get here?” or “So, what do you do?” If you’ve initiated a chat, it is likely for the specific purpose to learn more about an employee. For example, if you’re speaking to someone on the public relations side of the business, focus questions around, “How have you handled our company’s relationship with X topic/company/etc.? How much of your time do spend avoiding negative PR vs creating positive PR?” Always make the employee feel valued! After all, they dedicated a portion of their day specifically to you.
  • Maintain the Relationship: A coffee chat might be a periodic occurrence, but communication should not be. Make sure to maintain the relationships that you’ve worked to schedule and cultivate! Whether this means a weekly check-in, an email update of your recent accomplishments, or a quick link to a relevant article, make sure to keep consistent contact and follow up after your thank you note!

Employees are incredibly fortunate to be afforded the opportunity to network with one another and dedicate work time to meeting and chatting! Take advantage of these opportunities and capitalize on your time through prior research, preparation, and purpose.

Searching for a new position? Check out our open jobs list!