All you Need to Know About Secondments

Have you ever thought about taking on a secondee from another business? A secondment can be particularly useful when there is a need for temporary help, perhaps to get you through a particularly busy period or to cover another staff member's maternity or parental leave, or long term sickness. Would it be a good idea to second one of your staff members elsewhere to help someone out, or to acquire skills that would be useful in your own business?

Why Second Someone?

These are all good reasons for secondments, but for you there could be other advantages as well. If you'd like to get a closer business relationship with the other organisation, offering a secondee could be a good start. For your personnel, it might be a really good career move that will enhance their CVs, so it could be a great way to reward them for loyalty and hard work.

Perhaps a member of staff has gone a bit stale and is thinking of moving on; you don't want to lose them in the long-term, so hope that a secondment elsewhere could freshen up their working day. They might come back full of new ideas and enthusiastic to make them work.

If you have been going through a bad patch and think you might have to make one or two members of staff redundant, you could send them on a secondment for a time. Things could be better by the end of it. You will still have the responsibility to pay their salary, but will recover this and more from the companies that receive them.

Why Take on a Secondee?

It can be a great way to avoid all the hassle and cost of recruiting someone new. Sometimes you just need an extra pair of hands for a while. Taking on a secondee with skills not present in your team is another advantage, especially if he or she can pass those skills on while they are with you.

What are the Downsides?

Of course there are, as always, some pitfalls to avoid. The first may be concerns about confidentiality on both sides, so measures must be taken to avoid the passing on of sensitive business information. This can be solved with relevant clauses written into an agreement between all parties.

Another thing that might make you anxious if you let someone take up a secondment is that they might not want to return, but be taken on by the other company. Again, a well thought out and carefully written secondment agreement can restrict employment of the secondee by the host company for a period of time once the secondment comes to an end.

If you are still not sure about all this, your local bookkeepers may have experience of what is needed in secondment agreements, and be happy to discuss it with you. They might also be able to introduce you to professionals who could help if you feel this is needed. The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development also offers fact sheets about secondments on its website.

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