Sometimes inspiration can strike in the most random of ways! This blog is no exception…how a humble scone can make a big HR impact.

Like so many workplaces across the country last week, our offices held a Macmillan Coffee Morning, and as we all know, calories, when consumed for charitable purposes, simply don’t count, and I’m all in favour of guilt-free giving!

For this particular Macmillan Coffee Morning, much of the focus had been directed towards the donation of batch of scones. No ordinary scones apparently, these scones would be be created by a top chef, be delivered to us, and be the ultimate in ‘scone experience’. The very stuff of baking legend.

Now, I like a scone, but in the arena of a charity coffee morning, they don’t tend to be in my natural area of choice. Point me in the direction of a nice, moist sponge with lashings of filling and topping and I’m there…preferably chocolate of course (I am open to other flavour suggestions!). So the scones, well I’d probably pass them by.

But not this time…

In the run-up to the coffee morning, the scones had received coverage on social media and we were expecting big things – a whole new level of ‘scone sensation’. Expectation was building, the scene was set. Ready, steady…BAKE!

So the day finally arrived, I checked my purse for coins and skipped breakfast in anticipation of the sweet treats to come, and before we knew it, ‘scone o’clock’ was nearly upon the office.

But then the cruel hand of fate stepped in, and my desk phone rang, just as the altar of baking was to be declared open. Now obviously as a professional I reached to answer it whilst thrusting donation money into my colleague’s hand and mouthing the words “scones…Go!Go!Go!”, to him.

He went.

He returned. With a scone.

And there it sat before me, the object of so much frenzied expectation, the professionally crafted scone that Bake Off contestants could only dream of replicating.

I stopped, time stopped, (it didn’t really, I’m just saying that for dramatic buildup), and then the moment…the first bite.

And I should just stop the blog there, right there, for I had never tasted anything like it before and maybe never will again.

Or at least, let’s hope so…

It was, quite frankly, the most disgusting scone I had ever eaten (weren’t expecting that now were you readers!). Words simply cannot convey the disappointment of just how truly awful it was. So bad in fact, that the jam and cream had no chance of salvaging matters…it was a lost cause.

I think the ingredients were a lost cause too. The sugar had certainly been lost from both scone and jam, a deadly combination at any time, but worse than that, far, far worse than that was the suspected ADDITION of salt to the scone…no doubt in the exact same quantity that our sugary missing ingredient should have been.

A scone tragedy. Let’s take a moment here…

But life goes on, and I had to overcome my bitter disappointment (as bitter as the scone in fact) and throw myself into my work. It’s a coping thing.

Back on a more even keel, the rest of the working day passed relatively uneventfully, until it came to go home.

As I crossed the car park, a voice called out behind me, the same voice that been the source of recommendation and tantalising buildup to this scone-based tragedy.

I had a moment, a small window of opportunity, to ignore it would have been to lose it forever, so I seized it, I took it. What should have come out of my mouth was a gracious smile and a good mannered response, together with a mumbled ‘moment on the lips…’ quote.

But that’s not what happened…instead I heard myself unburdening the anguish that only a disappointed cake lover could understand, and at the risk of breaking the rules of polite society, I spoke only of the truth, and it was a sad day indeed for the humble scone.

With that I made my farewell and carried on towards my car, the whole sorry event now thankfully behind me.

And that would have been that, but a conversation with our Managing Director a little later inspired this blog. Michael had phoned for a quick ‘check-in’, and of course to hear tales of ‘scones baked by angels and served upon clouds of baking delights’. He didn’t get that, he got ‘Sconegate…The Highlights’.

After I’d had to revisit the whole episode again, there was silence at the other end of the phone. Then Michael spoke and said “good to hear you demonstrating a Chrysalis value – you had a HOT conversation about the scone, Honest, Open and Transparent”. He left me with the line “and there’s a blog if ever I heard one”. So it’s his fault you’re now sitting reading this!

So maybe my blog will inspire you to try and make your own perfect scone (it’ll be a long time before I can face one again!), or maybe you’ll check your sugar isn’t in the salt container and vice verse, or maybe you’ll be inspired to have your own HOT conversation – life in HR is way too complicated enough at times, so we should all practice the art of simpler communication.

I dedicate my blog to Michael Fearnhead, Chrysalis Consulting MD, and advocate of HOT communication!

Sue Alty – The Creative Coordinator

Contact Sue

We think Sue must be a ‘Master of the Dark Arts’, as she has hidden depths! Running our office with meticulous planning and capability, Sue is an avid list writer with a keen eye for detail. But don’t be fooled by that organised demeanour, for Sue is as creative as she is efficient! A skilled communicator with a humorous edge, Sue is as passionate about people and their learning and development as she is about becoming the future Mrs Tom Hardy or Mrs Benedict Cumberbatch (either will do!).  An interesting career path has taken her from the glamour of working in luxury London hotels to the chilled Distribution Centres of supermarket retail, and whether managing small groups or large teams, people are at the heart of everything Sue does.