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Nina Kordic from IAG applied for a

Jawun secondment in 2014 for two

reasons: ‘I was looking for a way

to give back to the community,

and I wanted to do something that

would stretch me professionally.’

She was seconded to NAISDA

Dance College, Australia’s first

Indigenous dance school, on

the Central Coast of New South

Wales. ‘My project was to define

the “DNA” of the college,’ said

Nina. ‘It definitely developed my

critical thinking and strategic

thinking skills, and also my ability

to influence.’

On returning to work after six

weeks, Nina’s manager Carmen

Ashcroft, Senior Manager of

Talent & Diversity, gave her a

couple of days to readjust. For

Nina, this was extremely valuable.

‘The secondment is such a big

experience, there is so much

personal and professional growth.

It’s important for an organisation to

be mindful of that change.’ Carmen

had kept in touch with Nina during

her secondment and ‘had a strong

sense as to the sort of re-entry

she would need. The re-entry is

often as big an adjustment as

the immersion experience. It was

important for Nina to have an

opportunity to internalise what

she was processing. That time

helped her to consolidate her

understanding about her own

elements of change.’

Carmen said conversations

between manager and secondee

on re-entry are important to help

capture and maximise learnings.

‘I always say to people, “You’re

coming back with a host of new

and different experiences.

I want you to start thinking about

how they help inform your thinking

back here, and how you will best

be able to share and utilise your

new-found insights in the team

and the business at large.”’

By acting as a sounding board

for Nina, Carmen knew ‘she came

back with some different views

to the ones she held when she

left, but she could articulate them

and I could say to her, “How will

that play out differently at work?

How will that make you approach

something differently, influence

differently?” Allowing Nina time to

think and process and then use me

as a sounding board meant that we

could springboard some of those

experiences to greater effect.’

Carmen also looked for

opportunities for Nina to apply her

learnings. ‘There was an upcoming

project and I thought, “Here’s a

vehicle for Nina to practise and

exercise what she’s learnt.”’ It was

a culture project that allowed Nina

to draw directly on her Jawun

experiences. Carmen explained,

‘It was a live opportunity for her

to apply what she’d learnt.’

Nina’s professional growth soon

became obvious within the

business. ‘Other managers have

observed the changes in Nina,’

said Carmen. ‘She’s more confident

and at ease with stakeholder

engagement and management.’

Based on Nina’s performance,

Carmen recommended her for

‘three rather large pieces of work’

on a new talent framework rollout

and has continued to see her

growing in the workplace.


Transitioning back into the workplace

Nina Kordic from IAG presenting at NAISDA Dance College

while on secondment, 2014.

Photo: Fran Whitty

Maximising effectiveness

on return to work

In researching this report, three

elements emerged as key to a

successful transition back into the

workplace post-secondment:

• Time to process the transition.

Managers who supported

individuals (through coaching

or mentoring) to reflect on their

secondment experience and how

their altered perceptions may

affect them in the workplace

found that individuals could more

fully appreciate their internal

response to the experience,

readjust effectively to ‘regular

work life’, and demonstrate

new capabilities.

• Opportunity to openly share


Secondees whose

manager encouraged them

to share their experience with

colleagues in the form of

presentations to leaders and

peers were able to articulate

how their learnings applied to

the business, engage others

in the benefits, and help to

communicate secondment

opportunities to others.

• ‘Stretch assignments’ to apply


Secondees who had

opportunities to apply learnings

through leading or taking an

active role in assignments that

would stretch them to a new

level of performance were able

to demonstrate capability build

to leaders and colleagues outside

of their normal circle of influence.

This built greater understanding

of the value of the program

among senior leaders and

gave secondees visibility on

talent radars.