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15 May 2024
by Claire Barnes

3 ways secondments can help boost a team’s mental wellbeing

Vidett’s Client Director & Head of Governance Claire Barnes looks at how adding a seconded employee to your staff can benefit the wellbeing of your team

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In an ideal world, your team would be always well equipped to deal with any task that it might face. However, in reality this just isn’t always possible.

Here are three ways that adding a temporary member to a team can bring benefits.

1. Reducing resource gaps

There are plenty of reasons why a team member might leave. They might be offered a new job. Or a team member may return after time away because of childcare or sickness.

In either instance, your remaining team members need to be considered. A team member leaving can have a negative impact on the wellbeing of the wider team, (particularly if their workloads were already high) making them busier and potentially increasing stress levels.

In the worst cases, this can create a chain reaction where one team member leaving causes others to leave, compounding the problem.

Employing a seconded worker to support your remaining team while someone is away (or for the time it takes to hire a new member of staff if a team member leaves) can greatly improve the wellbeing of your team by allowing work to spread appropriately across it.

This is especially true if the seconded worker that comes in knows the industry that you work in and has a similar level of experience to the worker they’re replacing, as they will be able to slot into the team straight away and often at short notice.

2. Adding expertise

If a team knows a project is coming up for which they lack the collective expertise it can be daunting, creating feelings of anxiety. What’s more, if the team can’t be trained for it quickly enough, trying to complete a project they lack the proper skills for can be demoralising.

Here, the right seconded worker can help the company, while also improving the mental health of the team they’re put in to support.

Adding a seconded worker with the expertise needed to complete a specific project can help to make that project rewarding for the wider team, allowing them to feel a sense of achievement while the seconded worker passes on their knowledge.

If team members are able to learn from a seconded worker, your company is able to retain their expertise long after they’ve left.

Equally, this also has a positive impact on the seconded worker through sharing learning from the in-house team, seeing how the company is run (which often you don’t get to see) and being given the opportunity to experience different people and new situations.

3. Improving culture

Sometimes, if a workplace stays the same for a long time, team members can begin to feel unfulfilled.

Processes and ways of working can be unchanged for long periods, causing teams to stagnate and feel understimulated, which isn’t good for people’s mental wellbeing.

Adding a seconded worker into the mix can prevent these problems. Those used to working for other companies can drive change and bring innovation as two different workplace cultures mix.

Someone new, with a fresh pair of eyes, can bring improvements to a company’s way of working that no one inside the company might have thought of.

I’ve been on two secondments now and recommend them for all parties. The key to making them work is matching the right person in terms of skills, experience, location, personality and communication style.

When done the right way, bringing a seconded worker into a team can improve employee wellbeing by changing company culture for the better.

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