07 Dipping strawberries

I do enjoy a good employee forum.

No, really, I genuinely do.

Like anything, they’re not for every organisation, but I’m a huge advocate of the power of the employee forum in the right place, having been both a staff member and a member of the management team on them.

Anyway, I was updating our staff forum yesterday on some early thinking about a new learning and development approach when I found myself talking about “sheep dip” training. I hadn’t particularly planned to go there but, before I knew it, the words had left my mouth – and I had to hastily explain that it’s a long-accepted HR bit of jargon used to describe a skills-based update that everyone has to go on (of which there are many in a clinical setting).

A colleague looked at me with mock-horror and said “so you are saying we’re all sheep?!” I should have known better really and I was thinking quickly about how to reverse out of the situation when I was rescued by another colleague, Caroline, who suggested a much better analogy would be that of dipping strawberries in chocolate. Cue laughter all round and a situation retrieved.

I scribbled “strawberries in chocolate” on my notes but the metaphor kept coming back to me and I thought I’d share it as it made a couple of learning points for me:

1. Always think before you speak, even if you’re using an accepted “HR” turn of phrase!

2. I loved the concept of an L&D intervention taking something already great in its own right (a strawberry) and adding a little something extra (the chocolate).

I’m not an L&D specialist by any stretch of the imagination but I really love that mental image and I will never use the phrase “sheep dip” again. Promise!strawberry

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