In layman’s terms, we refer to a buddy as a close friend. At work, it can be someone we can confide in and ask for insights about the company, significant people, and someone who is able to answer questions about the team, department, or position.
For a new hire, the onboarding journey can be intimidating. But according to a study by Microsoft, having a “buddy” partnered with a new hire has improved their new employees in three ways:
- Those with a work buddy had a better understanding of their role or how their work contributed to their team’s success.
- Those with a work buddy became more productive.
- Those with a work buddy reported higher job satisfaction than new employees without a buddy.
The idea on having a buddy system is to facilitate the learning experience better, encourage knowledge sharing, and basically help the new hire to be at ease with the team and work environment.
In this blog, we will uncover the importance of having a Buddy System during the onboarding of a new hire.
Creating a Buddy System Program that will support the onboarding of a new hire entails different levels of commitment and processes.
First and most important, is that there should be the buy-in of all senior leaders and line managers. This will allow the whole department to align with the goals of the onboarding, prepare all employees to manage their schedules, and plan for essential topics to be covered.
Second, there should be the involvement of the key stakeholders. This will enable your department to get insights from your stakeholders on their expectations of the new hire. Scheduled introductory meetings between the stakeholder, buddy, and new hire will get allow introductions, discuss priorities, and create a sense of comfort for the new hire. Tapping external HR consultants will also allow your organization to have a robust onboarding plan for your new hires.
Third, keep in mind the workload and tenure of the buddy. Make sure that the buddy has been with your company for a minimum of one year. This ensures that the buddy has been exposed to the organization’s culture, has been immersed in the role, and has experienced the company in different aspects. One more thing that shouldn’t be missed is the consideration of the buddy’s workload. Even if the buddy would be a good fit for the new hire, consider the different deadlines that the buddy has to complete to ensure that the buddy will be able to give 100% support to the new hire.
Fourth, is the trends that span across places and generations. As our times keep on changing, make sure that your program keeps up with the trends to make it relevant. For example, the practice of diversity, equality, and inclusion, or having social activities like a “lunch and learn”. These activities encourage a genuine connection between the buddy and the new hire.
Fifth, create and implement structure. This allows both the new hire and the buddy to have a clear direction as to what they should accomplish. Leave some room for flexibility, where they can put in some of their personal touches. To keep them on track, provide buddies with specific resources, like checklists, timelines, and suggested talking points.
Sixth, to make sure that there will always be engagement, set timely reminders to the new hire, the buddy, and their respective line managers. Especially during the first 90 days, it is essential that they have reminders on their calendars to keep things in order.
Seventh, keep the whole program in check by collecting qualitative and quantitative data, then presenting them to the rest of the team. This will greatly help improve the program and evaluate what aspects need to be emphasized. Then try to get feedback by sending out surveys. This will help determine the goals and the pairing of the buddy and the new hire.
Finally, let the program grow, based on the business needs and the responses you have gathered from your surveys. Allowing the program to adapt more with the new hires will make it more efficient for both the new hire and the buddy.
So what are you waiting for? Start drafting your Buddy System Program and launch it on your next onboarding session.
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