What Is a Secondment? Definition and Advantages

A secondment is an internal or external temporary work placement for an employee in a different area than where they typically work. They are internal when the work is done in a different department of the same company, and they are external when an employee is temporarily transferred to a different company.

Both your business and your employees can really benefit from a well-run and successfully managed secondment program. A secondment should expand the skill sets and experience of your employees in fields unrelated to their current work but in ways that will be beneficial to their roles now and in the future. The purpose of secondments is to train workers for positions they couldn’t fill on their current teams. Your business may gain from networking opportunities that secondments provide employees in addition to skills and experience.

What is a Secondment Agreement?

When is secondment used?

Here are a few instances where a company might make use of a secondment:

Example 1

A worker transitions from a company’s marketing division to its human resources division. They enter a slow period where they have less work to do after several years of employment in the human resources department. The employee is temporarily transferred to the marketing department in order to make the most of the company’s resources. The secondee trains new hires using their marketing expertise, and they enjoy feeling more productive. They also learn how to assist new hires in settling in to the workplace. The secondee uses their secondment insight to enhance training policies when they return to their human resources position.

Example 2

A business is interested in working with a significant client but is unfamiliar with their sector. The company sends a supervisor on a secondment with the client to gain first-hand experience. The secondee works for the client during this contract role and gains knowledge of their sector. Additionally, they learn about their requirements for the potential project. When the secondee returns to their original employer, they start working on the client project. They make use of their expertise to make sure staff members meet client expectations Additionally, they make use of their connection with the client to promote effective communication throughout the project.

Example 3

A new project is started by a company that calls for ongoing communication with a supplier. The internal team tries to carry out this duty but learns that it is too busy with its other duties. In addition, the supplier lacks industry knowledge, making it uncertain when to deliver new orders. Both companies decide that a secondment will be advantageous, so a company employee works with the supplier. They provide sector knowledge so the supplier can effectively complete orders.

What is a secondment?

A secondment is a situation in which a business temporarily transfers an employee to a different position. The new position could be with the company or with a different company, like a customer or supplier. Even though the job is at a different company, the original employer typically keeps the employee and pays their salary. Employees, referred to as secondees, work on a project while they are seconded, and when their duties are finished, they return to their original position. Even though most secondments are domestic, a company can move the secondee to a foreign assignment.

How does secondment work?

Some businesses have formal secondment programs where employees are frequently placed in temporary positions. Employees can apply for these programs or respond to company invitations. Other companies use secondments on an as-needed basis.

Regardless of how you secure a secondment, think about formalizing the arrangement with a written contract. To make sure everyone is aware of the expectations, you and the business can agree on the terms and sign them. Consider having the third-party organization sign the contract if your position is not with the company. The contract’s terms may change depending on you and your business, but the following are some potential clauses:

Control of employment relationship

Your employer should keep you on staff if a secondment requires you to work for a different company. This clause can be included in the contract by your employer to ensure that you both uphold your obligations to one another. For instance, the original company expects you to disclose any conflicts of interest when you continue to work there. In exchange, the business keeps up with its commitments to you, like paying your salary.

Some secondments might enable a third-party company to hire you on a temporary basis. In this case, the third party would be in charge of paying your salary. The best employment arrangement will depend on the requirements of the business and any outside organizations, but you can clarify the terms by making sure your formal employer is identified in the contract.


If your new position is with the same company or is comparable to your prior one, your pay may stay the same. Positions with more responsibilities often require an increase in compensation. Additionally, it’s wise to budget for extra costs like relocation, training, bonuses, and overtime. To determine exact compensation and who pays for what, think about collaborating with your company and a third party organization.


A secondee who works for another business is still obligated to their first employer. For instance, the initial employer might anticipate that they will uphold its obligation to follow reasonable instructions. In a secondment agreement, duties related to the third party organization are also given to the employees. These obligations frequently dictate the daily tasks of the employees and call for them to follow the rules of the company.

Absence policy

Check to see if the secondment agreement you and your employer are creating has an absence policy and whether it addresses the following issues:


Because you work for two companies, confidentiality may be an issue for both your employer and the host employer. They may contain clauses outlining your responsibilities for safeguarding private data. You can stay loyal to both parties if you comprehend and abide by these guidelines.


Secondments are typically brief assignments, but you can give clarity by making sure the closure procedure is mentioned in your contract. Consider seeing if the terms answer the following questions:

Advantages of a secondment

Here are some of the advantages of a secondment:

Gain experience

Although secondees may fill positions that are similar to their current ones, they typically gain experience by learning new skills or investigating untapped markets. For instance, you might discover techniques or strategies that weren’t available to you when you first started. By keeping a journal and talking about your progress with a supervisor, you can recall and hone these abilities. Consider reviewing the entire experience after your secondment is over to see what you learned. When you return to your original position, your experience can help you work more productively.

Advance your career

Your new position gives you access to organizations, customers, and suppliers that you couldn’t before. If you’re looking for a new job, these connections can help you expand your network and identify permanent positions that interest you. Your experience also gives you the chance to enhance your resume, potentially opening up more career opportunities and even raising your earning potential.

Prevent burnout

Burnout may occur in a worker who has held the same position for an extended period of time. By giving them new experiences, a secondment can help them maintain their productivity and improve their job satisfaction. Their new position may serve as a reminder of what they like about their current work or an introduction to alternative career paths.

Low-risk opportunity

A secondment enables you to look into career opportunities while still being employed by your company. If you decide the new job isn’t right for you, you can go back to your old one and look for a different position. If you like your new job, you can use the experience you’ve gained to apply for a job that is permanent.

Disadvantages of a secondment

Here are some possible drawbacks of a secondment and suggestions for avoiding them:

Discouragement upon returning to your original position

Because your new job can be exciting, you might feel discouraged when you go back to your old one. By continuing to use your new abilities, try to overcome this feeling. For instance, if you picked up new software skills while working for the host company, you might realize that using it by your team would increase productivity. You can suggest this to your manager to assist with training staff on the new software.

Disruption to your personal and work life

You might need to relocate, change your schedule, or take on new responsibilities as a result of your secondment. These adjustments may interfere with both your personal and professional life, making it difficult to adjust to your new position and absorb lessons from the host employer. By requesting assistance from your employer and the host employer, you can minimize any disruption. Resources like additional training often make the transition easier. Consider reviewing your contract as well to make sure you are aware of what the employer expects. You can request modifications to the agreement to make it more reasonable if a clause such as one relating to a long-distance move would be too disruptive.


What does it mean to go on secondment?

A secondment offers the opportunity to temporarily work for a different team within your organization or, in some cases, for a completely different organization (also known as a “job rotation”). Consider secondments as the equivalent of exchange student programs for the workplace.

What secondment means?

Secondment is defined as the removal of a person from their regular organization for a temporary assignment elsewhere (such as a military officer).

What are the disadvantages of a secondment?

When you accept a secondment, you frequently have to travel or live away from home—sometimes even abroad. What this means for you personally and how you are as a person will determine how much of a drawback this is. Some people might consider the cost of the disruption to their lives to be too high, while others might be enthusiastic about the idea.

What is an employment secondment?

the brief transfer of a worker from one company to another for a predetermined amount of time, typically to complete a specific project

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