Secondment for Personal Development
This free guide explains how secondment for personal development can be used to build capability and performance.
Secondment is the placement of an individual in another role for a defined period of time, in order to fulfil a specific business purpose whilst simultaneously developing specific skills, knowledge and behaviours.
This guide focuses on the following types of secondment that may be considered as possible options depending on your specific needs:
- 1.Short term
- 2.Project based
- 3.Long term
WHY USE SECONDMENT?
The key benefits of secondment are: –
- Improved flexibility of individuals
- Excellent development experiences
Examples of the benefits that a secondment can bring are as follows: –
- To provide a speedy supply of suitably qualified individuals to assignments
- To fulfil specific business needs by the appointment of individuals on other than a permanent or contingency basis
- To transfer skills within the business to provide higher levels of business effectiveness
- To improve business effectiveness through employees with different ideas and perspectives.
- To improve the understanding of / between different parts of the business
- To increase individual performance through one of the most effective personal development methods
- To increase the number of individuals with wider expertise of the business
- Provides additional opportunities for career advancement
BEST PRACTICE GUIDELINES
1. SHORT TERM SECONDMENT
A short term secondment will normally be a few days or weeks spent in another part of the business. In the majority of cases, the secondee will return to their previous post once the secondment has been completed.
However, occasions can arise when there will be the need to provide a secondment for a longer period. Such occasions will enable the individual to experience a new role at first hand before they commit themselves, or otherwise, to a permanent career step into that role.
WHEN TO USE
This type of secondment will normally be suitable for developing people to perform their current job more effectively by providing the individual with a wider knowledge and understanding of other, often related roles or functions.
As a short-term secondment involves the absence of the secondee from their normal role for a defined period, then consideration may also be given to their original role being filled by a secondee from the host department. There may even be the opportunity for a ‘job swap’.
HOW TO USE
- 1. The manager and individual discuss the development need and what outcomes are expected from the secondment, the preferred or most suitable host location and timescale, plus possible opportunity for a ‘job swap’
- 2. Suitable job in host dept identified and both managers discuss all the necessary logistics in order try and maximise value of payback from secondment if implemented
- 3. Individual drafts and agrees with own and host manager their performance and development objectives
- 4. Need for additional support from coaches or buddy and reviews
- 5. Post secondment review discussion agreed to evaluate payback
NOTE: HR should normally be consulted for guidance prior to the secondment of an individual if there will be a change of budget centre or terms of employments.
2. PROJECT-BASED SECONDMENT
A project-based secondment is a period of time spent working on a specific project, generally for the expected “life” of the project. The secondee will normally return to their previous post in their home department upon completion of the secondment.
WHEN TO USE
This type of secondment is designed to extend an individual’s expertise for the purpose of both career and personal development.
Examples of project-based secondments might be:
- Leading the ‘on-boarding’ process of a new business acquisition
- Leading the implementation of a new system or major process
HOW TO USE
- 1. The man-power requirements and arrangements for a specific project will define the range of expertise required, and this will be progressed through to an agreed selection process and appointment of the secondee
- 2. Once seconded appointments have been confirmed, manager, secondee and host manager should discuss and agree performance and personal development objectives
- 3. Need for additional support from coaches, buddy and schedule for review dates agreed
- 4. Consideration should be given to replace the original secondee with another individual who will benefit from a development secondment
- 5. Post secondment review discussion agreed to evaluate payback and next steps
NOTE: HR should normally be consulted for guidance prior to the secondment of an individual if there will be a change of budget centre or terms of employments
3. LONG-TERM SECONDMENT
A long term secondment will normally last at least 12 months in a role in another part of the business. Given the developmental nature of secondment, typically the individual will not normally return to their former role upon completion of the secondment, but to another, often more senior role.
WHEN TO USE
This type of secondment is designed to facilitate an agreed stage of an individual’s career plan. Whilst the individual will be required to fulfil all business deliverables of the role, it’s accepted that the individual may lack some skills to the required standard – but that these will be developed upon appointment.
This type of secondment can provide the opportunity for another individual to be seconded into the post the individual vacates. However, the difference on this occasion being that it would be unlikely for the original jobholder to return, and therefore it’s likely someone could eventually be appointed on a permanent basis.
HOW TO USE
- 1. The man-power requirements for the vacancy are defined and whenever practical these should include the opportunity for the successful candidate to be appointed on a secondment rather than permanent basis.
- 2. Agreed selection process completed taking into account potential secondees may not fully satisfy the required standards for particular competencies.
- 3. Once secondee appointed, host manager and secondee should discuss and agree performance and personal development objectives.
- 4. Need for additional support from a mentor, coach or buddy agreed, and dates for periodic review agreed
NOTE: HR should be consulted for guidance prior to the secondment of an individual if there will be a change of cost centre or terms of employments
4. INTERNATIONAL SECONDMENT
An international secondment is in response to a specific business need. Time is spent within another part of the business outside of the individual’s home country. Apart from the location, an international secondment may be agreed on a short-term, long-term or project basis.
WHEN TO USE
An international secondment should satisfy one of the following requirements:
- Satisfy a specific business need coupled with a very specific requirement of an individual’s career plan i.e. to develop expertise in a role not available within the home country in a timescale suitable for the individual (short term or long term secondments).
- Undertake a specific project that requires input from an individual, or team of individuals, from another country coupled with a specific requirement of development plan(s) (project based secondments).
HOW TO USE
- 1. The man-power requirements for a specific vacancy, or project, have been defined and the appointment of an international secondment has been agreed.
- 2. Agreed selection process completed taking into account proposed secondee(s) may not fully satisfy the required standards for particular competencies.
- 3. Once secondee(s) appointed, the host manager and secondee(s) should discuss and agree performance and personal development objectives.
- 4. Need for additional support from a mentor, coach or buddy agreed and dates for periodic review agreed.
NOTE: Given the costs and legal requirements associated with international secondments, it is recommended that guidance is taken from your HR department.
An integral part of the secondment process should be the agreement of SMART objectives for both performance and personal development. The joint periodic review of these should help assist in the achievement of objectives, and implementation of adjustments where appropriate.
TOP SECONDMENT TIPS
- Ensure your manager is aware of your request for a secondment (particularly project, long-term or international) and this is recorded in your PDP.
- Actively research a suitable role and department for a short-term secondment. Pursue this with the approval of your manager.
- Do not rush the preparation stage of agreeing the exact nature of the secondment and its deliverables
- Ensure you create smart objectives for both performance and development
- For long-term and international secondments consider the benefits of one or more of the following:
- A mentor
- Coaching from an agreed person
- Short-term secondments are normally very easy to organise, incur little or no costs and can be very motivating for the individual as well as being a very powerful development opportunity.
- Remember that the ‘loss’ of an individual from your team for a secondment for a few days, weeks or months can also be an opportunity to develop another individual. This may be someone else within your team who ‘steps-up’ or someone from the department the secondee is moving to by means of a job-swap.
- Ensure you take enough time to discuss and agree objectives, evaluation methods and support. Careful consideration of these issues at the planning stage will normally pay real dividends for all parties.
- Be prepared to say ’No’ when it is not practical to pursue a request for a secondment, or defer it to a later occasion.
We hope this free guide on secondment will assist your personal development and help to build your capability and performance.
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