Are secondments the secret to talent retention and acquisition?

secondment the secret to talent retention and acquisition

In today’s tight labour market, many organizations are preoccupied with attracting and retaining talent amidst intense competition from other employers. Last year, as part of our talent management strategy, we started to ask – are secondments the secret to talent retention and acquisition? 

What this meant in practice was the opportunity for 24-year-old Craig to relocate to New Zealand for 12 months to work in a similar but different timber frame business. Craig joined Fleming Homes from school and had worked with us for five and a half years prior to secondment. During this time he worked across the whole business developing skills in our manufacturing facility, and in the areas of planning and building regulations and in construction design.

Conscious that Craig was stepping out of his comfort zone, we tried to create a soft landing for him in New Zealand. Craig is a keen rugby player so we connected him to Silverdale United Rugby Club in Rangiwahia. There, he fitted right in and quickly made friends.

Part experiment and part commitment to growing and developing our team, we were keen to explore what impact this opportunity would have on our business. Below are five key reasons why we think it was a good move for talent retention and acquisition.

Enhanced Skill Development:

Secondments offer the unique ability to enable employees to broaden their skill set and acquire new competencies. Exposure to different roles, responsibilities, and work environments, allows for continuous learning and professional growth. Secondees can develop expertise in new areas, gain fresh perspectives, and expand their professional and personal networks. This not only enhances their value to the business they work in, but also improves their long-term employability.

Increased Employee Engagement and Retention:

Providing secondment opportunities demonstrates a commitment to employee development. Employees who feel supported and challenged are more likely to stay with their current employer, reducing the cost of staff turnover. Certainly, a break from routine, and an injection of excitement and enthusiasm can be the perfect antidote to an employee’s itchy feet. Often, the secondee returns to their original role with renewed energy, motivation, and a broader skill set, benefiting both them and the business.

Collaboration and Partnership Working:

When an employee joins a different team or organisation, they bring fresh insights and approaches, fostering a culture of innovation and collaboration. Simultaneously, the secondee gains a deeper understanding of another business and a wider industry perspective, facilitating enhanced awareness. This enables better communication and collaboration. What this elevation in cooperation can lead to is improved efficiency, better problem-solving, and ultimately, more successful outcomes.

Building Brand Equity and Talent Acquisition:

Offering secondments can significantly enhance your reputation as an employer of choice. Diverse opportunities for growth and development are an attractive proposition for potential candidates. Prospective employees are more likely to have a positive view of a company that values personal growth, and career progression, making your business an attractive destination for top talent.

Growing confidence: Exposure to new challenges and responsibilities, and expanding an employee’s skill set can positively boost their confidence. Secondments also provide a chance to build a broader professional network, opening doors for future collaborations and career opportunities. New environments, colleagues and work also help to build personal resilience and adaptability for the future.

As we, like other businesses, continue to battle intense competition for talent, secondments are just one tactic we’ve adopted within a wider strategy. We remain optimistic that by offering them we can build our employment brand and ultimately enhance our business performance over time.

Craig’s all set to return to the UK at the end of August, so we’ll provide more of an update then. For now, we’re wondering who’ll be up for NZ next?

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