Having reviewed the secondment process through its stages and from the perspectives of the secondee, the home organisation and the host organisation, the research clearly indicates that a number of processes and considerations need to be in place to ensure both a successful secondment and the effective
reintegration of the secondee back into the home organisation. In this section, these processes and considerations are presented as a series of recommendations as they relate to each stage of the secondment process.
The preparation stage
The home organisation should issue clear policy statements on the use, availability and methods of selection for secondments to support perceptions of fair distribution and equity in the treatment of staff.
Secondment opportunities should be matched to the appropriate secondee through professional development interviews, expressions of interest and other forms of assessment to ensure individuals can best utilise their soon-to-be-acquired experiences fully.
The home organisation should have discussions with the secondee to adequately prepare them for the forthcoming secondment in terms the arrangements for the exchange. These discussions should address the duration of the secondment, terms and conditions during the secondment and arrangements for regular
contact with the secondee. They should also be a source of support for the secondee providing them with the opportunity to express any apprehensions and concerns they may have at this stage.
The host organisation and the secondee, and the home organisation to the extent feasible, should negotiate clearly-defined roles and requirements for the secondee while they are with the host organisation. This would ideally involve drawing up formal contracts and development targets for secondees.
The home and host organisation should enter into an agreement for the secondment that includes a 'no poaching' clause.
The encounter, adjustment and stabilisation stages
The host organisation should make formal arrangements to provide a level of social engagement for the secondee to assist in their integration into a new workplace with different work expectations and a different work culture.
Related to Recommendation 6, the host organisation should consider and support the secondee's placement within the wider dynamic of the team structure to ensure that constructive relationships develop and their psychological adjustment to the new working environment is enhanced.
The host organisation should encourage and provide a forum for the secondee to share insights about the new role and any innovation or improvement that they may wish to introduce.
As foreshadowed in Recommendation 3, the home organisation should maintain an appropriate level of contact with the secondee throughout the secondment period. This contact may be with a designated sponsor in the home organisation and / or through participation in work-related discussion forums of various
Additionally, ongoing three-way communication between the home/host organisations and individual secondees should be maintained to monitor progress and keep all parties up-to-date on relevant issues.
There should be an appropriate level of communication between the secondee and their replacement to assist in transitions, while reassuring secondees that few, if any, issues will need to be resolved following their post-secondment return, should they be returning to their pre-secondment role.
The host organisation should provide various forms of support to the secondee throughout their placement. These should include initial encounter and adjustment support, ongoing communication and feedback, positive performance evaluation and the encouragement of engagement and project ownership.
The exit stage
The home organisation should inform the secondee, as soon as practicable, about the specific arrangements for their return.
The host organisation should place clear limits on the scope and duration of the secondment including whether there are to be any extensions. Arrangements for return should also be put in place well in advance of the conclusion of the secondment to ensure that the Exit stage is accomplished smoothly.
The re-entry stage
For secondments of 12 months or longer, if possible, the secondee should be returned to a new role in the home organisation rather than the role they were in prior to secondment. This would not apply, however, if the secondment was undertaken because of specific job requirements of the pre-secondment
role and the home organisation intended to use the newly developed capabilities of the secondee in that role.
The home organisation should fully explore and acknowledge the new skills, knowledge and networks that the secondee is bringing back. To facilitate this, secondees require effective support and recognition of their status and needs and it is important that they are provided with opportunities to utilise
these new capabilities and contacts as fully as possible. Ongoing communication during this time is essential to clarify conditions of re-entry and reinforce the value of the secondee to the home organisation.
The home organisation should acknowledge that the returning secondee may need to relearn some previous skills and update themselves with key work changes that have occurred while they have been away. Arrangements should be made for them to be brought up to date so that their readjustment is facilitated.
While opportunities for formal promotion on return may be limited, the home organisation should at least assess opportunities for acting at higher levels, ongoing development or promotion for the secondee post-return and discuss these with them.