A secondment is where an employee temporarily changes job roles within the same company or transfers to another organisation for an agreed period of time. Secondments can be to organisations within the private or public sector, or to a non profit making organisation, such as a charity or government body, and usually last between 3 to 24 months.
Secondments within an external organisation can range from management staff being seconded to an external company to give them experience of managing a different organisation, to technical staff taking secondments with suppliers or customers to gain experience of the supply chain.
Secondments benefit all parties involved; the employee, the employer and the host organisation.
Employees benefit from taking secondments as they are an excellent way to explore different career possibilities without them leaving their current job. They are a valuable way of offering employees professional development and career opportunities, especially within flat organisational structures where promotion may be limited.
Professional placements give employees the opportunity of acquiring new skills whilst continuing their employment with the same organisation. Secondees often acquire valuable experiences whilst on placement and generally gain a broader outlook.
Taking a secondment also demonstrates an employees flexibility and adaptability, both of which are desirable qualities to future employers. Most importantly secondments give employees the opportunity to improve their career possibilities by developing their CVs.
Employers benefit from allowing employees to take secondments in many ways. Employees that have taken a secondment acquire transferable skills and knowledge that they can put into practice once they return to their original position. These skills can then be communicated across the team and other departments within the organisation to improve and enhance the skill set of other staff.
Secondments also give the organisation the opportunity to build a wider network if the secondment is taken in an external company.
Host organisations also benefit where the employee is taking a secondment in an external organisation. The main benefit to them is that they gain assistance with projects, usually from skilled personnel. They also get an external perspective and transferable skills from the secondee, which can be beneficial for the project and the organisation.
If you are an employee interested in taking a secondment outside of your current company, there are many organisations that offer such schemes. Organisations often advertise secondment positions on their company website. The internet is therefore an excellent source to find information about suitable opportunities.