Secondment Guidelines


These guidelines apply to all staff members at the University


To explain the processes that apply to arranging secondments at the University



A secondment is the temporary placement of a staff member into another position to provide a practical opportunity to develop and grow in line with career aspirations. Secondments are also designed to benefit the University by promoting greater mobility of staff and by increasing collaboration and understanding of the entire University and its complexities


Appropriate scenarios for secondment

  • A secondment is appropriate when it is mutually beneficial and provides tangible benefits for both the University and individual. 
  •  A secondment opportunity may allow a staff member and department to acquire insights into other departments, to transfer knowledge, act as a subject matter expert and to contribute to University-wide outcomes. It may contribute to an individual’s long term career aspirations and provide practical exposure to or experience with leadership, higher levels of accountability or project management. 
  • Secondments can be used to fill a department’s short term capability requirements and build internal capability by resourcing projects, bringing in specialist skills and transferring knowledge. They can be used to fill positions during a staff member’s absence, during a period of organisational change where business requirements are being determined or to provide back-up cover while a vacancy is being advertised and filled.

Inappropriate scenarios for secondments

  • Secondments work well when there is an individual identified from within the University that has the required skills and experience at the minimum level for the vacant position, but would benefit from practical application of these skills. Otherwise, it is most appropriate to recruit externally.
  • Secondments are not to be used as a means of shifting a performance problem, as a trial before making a permanent appointment or when other learning strategies or experiences would be more appropriate.


  • Consider all staff members from within the team and outside the team (as appropriate) for the secondment opportunity. The suggested best practice is to email out to internal networks advising of the secondment opportunity and inviting expressions of interest (EOI’s)
  • Once a preferred candidate is identified and discuss with the staff member’s current manager the details of the secondment including duration and release plans
  • Provide your HR Advisor with the details of the secondment, including the role, duties, start, end dates and any higher duties allowance you propose to be offered for the period
  • Once details are confirmed with HR, verbally offer the preferred candidate the secondment
  • Once verbally accepted, the secondment letter will be generated by HR Advisor and sent to individual for signature
  • Secondment is loaded into Peoplesoft HR
  • Host manager should contact substantive manager to discuss details of proposed transition of individual into the role

Conclusion of secondments

  • When a secondment approaches its conclusion, it is good practise for the host manager, substantive manager and the secondee to undertake an evaluation of the secondment. This should evaluate the value of the experience for the individual and the benefits gained by the University
  • The host manager might like to facilitate a final meeting with the secondee and the substantive manager, in order to gather their feedback. The substantive manager should then continue the dialogue with the secondee when they return to their substantive position. This is important to ensure the secondee has an opportunity to reflect on their experience and their learning and to agree how these will be applied to their continuing work.

Questions to consider for evaluation

  • Host Manager
    o Was the secondment the appropriate means to meet the business need?
    o Did the nature of the work change? In what way?
    o What worked well with the secondment? With the secondee?
    o What didn’t work so well with the secondment? With the secondee?
    o What would you do differently with the next secondment?
  • Home Manager
    o Was a secondment the appropriate development initiative for the individual?
    o How did the back-filling arrangements go?
    o Did the secondee enhance their competencies and performance as a result of the secondment?
    o What worked well with the secondment? With the secondee? What didn’t work so well with the secondment? With the secondee?
    o What would you do differently with the next secondment?
  • Secondee
    o Was the secondment worthwhile for you?
    o Was it a successful development opportunity?
    o Do you use what you learnt on secondment in your current role?
    o Has your home faculty/department built on the experience gained as a result of the secondment? If so, how?
    o What would you do differently with the next secondment?

Managing challenges related to secondments

  • Any concerns that a manager or secondee have around a potential secondment should be discussed and addressed proactively. This provides clarity and enhances the experience for all involved.


The following definitions apply to these guidelines:

Secondment is an arrangement between two units where a staff member is temporarily transferred to another position in the University

Staff member refers to an individual employed by the uinversity on a full or part time basis

University means the University of Auckland and includes all subsidiaries

Document management and control

Owner: Director Human Resources

Content manager: Associate Director, Talent and Recruitment

Approved by: Vice-Chancellor

Date approved: 19 April 2018

Review date: 19 April 2021