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Posted On: 17/07/2020

Organisations who offer their employees secondment opportunities reap the rewards – as do the individuals concerned. The term ‘secondment’ means to assign a member of staff to another department, or to work on a specific project, temporarily before returning to their usual role.

They can be short or long term; this all depends on what the secondment is to achieve for both the organisation and the employee. It’s a great way for an individual to learn new skills and gain additional insights.

It’s more common for secondments to be internal, but external ones do exist where there is a connection between the two organisations. During an external secondment, both organisations benefit from learning new ways of working.   

But, as internal secondments are more usual, this blog will focus on them.

Reasons for secondments

There are no firm rules to why a secondment should take place. Employees can request them if they have a high level of interest in one particular department, or a manager may ask a team member to consider one if they are displaying behaviours and talents best suited in another area or for a project.

Here are four top reasons why a business may choose to adopt secondments:

Benefits for the employee

The employee will also benefit from learning and developing in a safe space and have their familiar team members on hand to offer support.

Talent Management and Succession Planning

Managers who regularly communicate with their team members and hold frequent 1-2-1 meetings with them will be best placed to identify potential management and leadership candidates.

Identifying high performers, and those employees who show a desire to further their careers, and putting them forward for secondments is a cost-effective, low risk way of securing the successful future of the organisation. These individuals will achieve a high level of organisation specific knowledge enabling them to take on key positions.

Demonstrating this encouragement of learning and development fosters a culture of internal promotion and opportunities resulting in a loyal and motivated workforce.   

Questions to ask the individual

If you have a secondment in mind, it’s good practice to have an informal chat with the individual concerned before approaching the department you feel is best placed to host the employee. Here are some useful questions for you to ask the employee to make sure that you both gain from the experience.

Secondment FAQs

If your organisation has not taken part in a secondment project previously, here are some considerations for you.

We’re Here To Help

If your organisation would like to talk to a HR professional about any of the issues raised in this blog, please get in touch on 0161 941 2426.

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