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Secondments in the workplace


Has anyone had experience with cross functional or regional secondments within a corporate? I am looking to understand what works well vs what doesn't i.e. a best practice guide. I'd be extremely grateful for any tips as well.
Many thanks
Faye Parry

3 Responses

  1. Secondment Roles

    In response to your question, here are something’s that you may wish to consider:-

    Many of those who apply for secondments are looking to move into that specific role full time if the opportunity arises therefore the help, support and development they receive whilst in the secondment role will shape their views on the position and whether they will apply for it as and when a position becomes available.

    • A role specific ‘mini’ induction programme should be created that will allow the person to have a clear understanding of what is expected of them in their new role, plus it is also worth giving them tips and techniques that may help them with areas of their new role, time management tips are always a plus for someone starting out in a new position.

    • A carefully selected ‘buddy’ who can help support them as they move into their new role and be on hand to help them when needed and maybe provide some small training for them.

    • A S.M.A.R.T. Personal Development plan to ensure that the successful applicant has a clear development plan whilst in the role. Regular reviews should take place.

    • When the secondment comes to an end, a review of their performance within the role and where possible this should also include their original line manager as they will need to take over and support the person with any development plan.

    Above all, ensure there is consistent communication with the person in the secondment role, that they are given all the help, support and development they need rather than just being told to ‘get on with it’

    I trust this is of some help. If I can be of any further help, please feel free to drop me an email at


  2. a personal experience
    Dear Faye

    I know what all the management texts say, but my comments below are from personal experience. I was seconded from a senior-ish position while working at a large PR firm to the marketing and PR department of a client, who wanted someone to “fill in” for four months.

    While I was there, the company had a change of CEO and I became involved in the communication of the change. As such, I worked with the Board, the CEO and the Chairman, and the consultants who were managing the change programme. My confidence soared, I did good work, I gained the respect of some of the most senior positions in my client’s organisation.

    So my return to the PR company after four months came as a bit of a shock when I was asked simply to return to the duties I had previously been assigned. It didn’t seem as if there was any interest in the work I’d been doing, the experience I’d gained or indeed, the opportunity for further revenue by taking on the internal communications change work in my client.

    I felt demoted, demoralised and overlooked – as if handling all the issues about secondment (feeling apart from my company, not really having any support or support networks) had not really been worth it.

    I left six months after the secondment ended, feeling very slightly bitter, particularly towards the director to whom I reported.

    So – with the luxury of hindsight, I’d strongly recommend:

    – regular debriefs while on secondment if it’s a short one
    – a sensible and serious conversation about skill gains and how these can be used after the secondment
    – a clear understanding of what secondment might do to the individual involved before the secondment is agreed – i.e. that they might want more of the same when they return!

    Hope this helps

  3. Looking for the positive!
    Hi Faye,

    I am currently coming to the end of a 2 year secondment(expat) in France. This was an opportunity for me to work in T+D at a global level, and has provided me with new challenges, new perspectics and a great deal more confidence in what I can offer.
    It is my choice to go back to the UK and not take a permenant position here. My old position is no longer available, and it is not likely that I will be offered another post. However I knew this from the start and therefore there is no difficulty in adjusting. In fact I think that is good. I am not the person I was and I don’t think I could go back to the same situation.
    It could be argued that the company will fail to capitalise on these development areas, however they have benefited from an enthusiastic, hard working and motivated individual who has contributed to the organisiation for these two years.
    I think that offering people this type of opportunity is great, but everyone should be aware of the situation at the end, think it through and discuss all the possibilities, so that they can adjust. This type of activity is likely to lead to development of the individual and with that it is very difficult to imagine “going back”. If leaving the company is the only way someone can utilise their new found skills this should be addressed and a way to support the decision found. This positive action will only reflect well on the organisation.


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