Hema Mistry

Organisation: Civil Service (Fast Stream) 

Years of secondment: 6 months

Role before secondment: Data Protection Policy Advisor – DCMS

Role during secondment: Project Delivery, Events and Comms Manager

Role after secondment: INTERPOL Policy Advisor – Home Office

Why did you opt for a secondment at Movement to Work?

I wanted to gain exposure to work outside of my day to day of Government policy development and implementation. I was interested in understanding and experiencing this in a unique organisation which differed in scale and culture to the Civil Service. I was really looking for something to shake things up and take me out my comfort zone and allow me to learn and progress in a new environment.  

In my secondment, I sought to broaden my experience and skills beyond my usual role in Government policy development and implementation. I was drawn to this unique organisation with a distinct culture and scale that would challenge me and take me out of my comfort zone. I saw this as an opportunity to learn and grow from others in an interesting environment.

What was the best thing about your secondment?

One of the best things about my secondment was the people I had the privilege of working with. They were truly one of the nicest and most supportive teams I have ever encountered. The secondment model, which brings together individuals from different backgrounds, experiences and skill sets, added to the dynamic of the team. Working towards a common, very important goal, with such a diverse group of people brought a unique blend of perspectives and ideas that enriched the charity’s work. The passion and enthusiasm of my colleague was contagious and made me fully appreciate the impactful work MtW does.

What were some of the key learnings you took away personally and professionally following your secondment?

Working at MtW was empowering personally and professionally. Unlike in my home organisation, where multiple levels of clearance and processes slow progress, at MtW I was given the freedom and trust to bring my ideas and processes to life. The autonomy I experienced and the confidence the leadership placed in me to deliver results allowed me to think outside the box, tackle challenges with creative solutions, and ultimately make a meaningful impact in my role.

Why should employers consider seconding team members to Movement to Work?

I chose a secondment to enhance my skills and leadership abilities, with the goal of bringing back valuable insights and experience to my role in the Civil Service. During my secondment, I had the opportunity to work closely with the COO, which gave me a deeper understanding of the operational aspect of leadership. This has added to my overall development as a leader and will undoubtedly be beneficial as I continue to advance my career. 

More generally employers should consider seconding team members 1) seconding employees can provide them with the opportunity as part of their learning and development goals with an opportunity to learn new skills and broaden their knowledge base. Giving employees the opportunity to take on new challenges and grow in their careers are more likely to be engaged and committed to their home organisation 2) A secondment can expose employees to fresh ideas and approaches to the workplace, helping to drive innovation and improve processes 3) Secondment provides employees with the opportunity to expand their professional network and make valuable connections

If you could sum up the purpose and mission of Movement to Work in your own words and what it means to you, what would you say?

For me, Movement to Work is all about lending a hand to young people who are struggling to find their way in the world of work. By bringing together some of the UK’s biggest employers, MtW creates a powerful platform for making a collective impact on the youth employability challenges facing our society. With this kind of collaboration, they can make much bigger changes than they could on their own.