Starting a new job can be stressful and lonely. New hires don’t know their co-workers yet and are unfamiliar with their new work environment, workflow processes, and general rules. Assigning them a buddy who can help ease the transition into their new role can be helpful during the onboarding process.
A buddy is a colleague, not a manager or supervisor, who is assigned to a new hire for the first few months of employment and acts as a guide for the day-to-day activities of the company. A buddy is someone who can be available to show the new hire around the office, go over protocols and policies, and generally help the new hire familiarize him- or herself with the company’s inner workings and culture.
Buddies should be great communicators who can easily provide important information and who will encourage the new hire to express his or her thoughts and concerns. They should also have a positive outlook on the company and be able to use their perspective to encourage a sense of pride and loyalty in the new employee, as well as act as a role model to exemplify the company’s values.
A buddy can be responsible for his or her new employee during the onboarding period, with the following goals and objectives:
Just as a buddy has his or her responsibilities in the role, so do the new hires. A few things that a buddy should expect from his or her new employee include:
The purpose of assigning a buddy to new hires is to help them assimilate the company’s culture and understand how things work in a more informal and easy manner. A buddy is not the hire’s manager or supervisor. He or she is simply a colleague who acts as a guide in order to make the new employee feel comfortable asking questions he or she may not want to ask a manager for fear of seeming incompetent. Buddies can serve as confidants in a way that managers cannot.
Assigning a buddy as part of the onboarding process can be highly effective and relatively inexpensive. Consider establishing expectations for all parties concerned (the new hire, the buddy and the hire’s manager), covering the basic knowledge that the buddy should make sure the new employee understands fully, as well as guidelines for how much time the onboarding process should take and requirements for buddy-new hire meetings and follow-ups.
Remember, the ultimate goal is to develop a process that helps new hires familiarize themselves with the company and their roles quicker while increasing their productivity and enhancing their job satisfaction. Through the buddy system, new employees will build a more personal connection to the company and will be more likely to become established and stay with the organization longer.