Chris Gallon

Organisation: Sage

Years of secondment: Started Feb 2020

Role before secondment: Global Program Manager

Role during secondment:  Regional Lead – North East

Role after secondment: Global Program Manager

Can you talk about any highlights from your time at the Movement? 

You can read the article I wrote on LinkedIn here

What attracted you to the secondment?

I knew that to progress further at Sage I needed to get some experience externally and ideally in the third sector. MTW was an amazing opportunity to not only do that but help to make a real difference to young people’s lives in my region. I knew the role would take me completely outside of my comfort zone but that it would help me to build skills that I didn’t currently have and would help to develop the skills that I already had further.  

What was the first few months like?

A bit of a whirlwind, learning about how MTW operate and understanding what they do. Meeting the team and then some leaving after a couple of months and being replaced by new secondees was a challenge but also brought some great experience and new ideas. Covid hit soon after I started and we entered our first lockdown which was difficult as I’d planned a full NE launch event with a lot of NE businesses and partners due to attend but we had to cancel to morning of the event as the pandemic grew. It also meant that most businesses closed down for a long period as staff were on furlough so had paused any recruitment so we had to pivot in focus and look at the industries still operating and those businesses that would be in a position to recruit once the pandemic slowed.   

What was it like to move on from your time at Movement to Work? 

Sad, I felt like I’d made a real difference in the short time that I was there however there was also a real sense of frustration that had the pandemic not have happened whilst I was in MTW to work I feel like I could have achieved more. In a weird way though it also made me grow as an individual, learning to adapt to the climate at the time and maybe would not have taken away as much as I did had it not have happened. I still kept in touch with the team and supported at the last CEO Summit and Youth Awards.

What value do you think doing a secondment brings your career?

It gave me the chance to experience life outside of my organisation and do a role that I’d previously not considered as it felt like a huge stretch to what I was currently doing. Doing a secondment meant that I could build new skills that I knew ultimately I’d be able to take back with me to Sage and utilize to further my career.  

What value do you think it brings employers and the Movement?

I think for employers it allows there staff to develop in a new environment and build skills and connections they otherwise would find difficult to do, I’ve seen some secondments in other organisations take place but still think that its an untapped valuable L&D resource that employers should really explore. For MTW using the secondment model helps to bring in fresh new ideas and energy into the roles. 

What do you hope to achieve further in your career?

I love making a difference and I’ve been lucky enough that through Sage in their Foundation and through MTW I’ve been able to do that during the past 6 years. I’m not sure where my career will take me next as the company expands and invests in ESG and our Foundation there will be opportunities but I’d like to develop into senior leadership and continue to make a difference.

What is your biggest takeaway? 

I learnt that there really are some amazing people and organisations out there that are trying to do the right thing and have supporting young people at the heart of what they do but it’s a real minefield for businesses to navigate all of the different schemes and options available, that’s why being involved with an expert like MTW and their partner network to help guide and support you is essential. I learned personally that I can adapt to the toughest situations and can still put making a difference at the heart of what I do.    

Final thoughts? 

Stepping out of your comfort zone can be scary be can also be one of the best things that you’ll ever do. It forces you to learn and develop and you shouldn’t be afraid to try new things and fail but make sure that if you do you learn from it and apply your learnings going forward.

Your advice to a person considering doing a secondment?

Take the leap and do it. Getting out of your comfort zone could be the best thing that happens to you. 

And your advice to employers who are considering joining the movement?

Take some time to speak and learn from the experts, the support is out there and really is free so what’s stopping you? There is a whole host of untapped talent and potential out there that just needs the right kind of support to become amazing employees.