Onboarding: Introducing the buddy system.

Onboarding: Introducing the buddy system.

What is a buddy system?

A buddy system is an onboarding method organizations use to orient new employees.  It is a mentoring system where a new employee is paired with a more employee, mostly from the same department or similar role. The buddy system serves as a way to guide new employees, helping them navigate the organization and settle into their roles.  The buddy system is designed to provide a personalized experience, training, and connection in their new role.

Before we delve into the details of the buddy system, let’s define what a buddy means.

According to the dictionary, a buddy is a partner or companion.

In the case of a buddy system, a buddy is someone who partners with a new employee during the first few months on the job. A buddy’s role is to give advice, resources, suggestions, and guidance, and introduce the new employee to the workplace culture and day-to-day activities.

There are several responsibilities of a buddy. These are;

  1. They are introduced to the new employees on Day 1.
  2. They establish a rapport with the new employee.
  3. They have lunch with the new employees to make them feel comfortable.
  4. They help the new employees familiarize themselves with the organization’s guidelines, norms, and culture.
  5. They act ct as an informational resource on the organization’s policies and procedures.
  6. Answer general/routine questions.
  7. They introduce the new employees to their other colleagues.
  8. They follow up with the new employee every week. This may include meeting for lunch, having brief chats, and accompanying the new employee to meetings.
  9. They provide general information on policies, procedures, work rules, norms, and day-to-day operational issues.
  10. They help the new employee integrate with the department and organization relative to the organization’s mission, vision, values, and expectations.
  11. They establish open and positive communication with the new employee.

Let us look at the characteristics of a Good Buddy:

  • A good buddy is an experienced employee who has been at the company for a minimum of 3 years.
  • Try to identify the new employee’s personality and communication style and adapt accordingly.
  • A good buddy must not be judgmental.
  • They are expected to offer feedback on new hires’ performance.
  • A good buddy must maintain a good attitude and a teaching spirit.
  • A buddy can be from a different department of the new employee.
  • A good buddy must be someone who is well-regarded and accepted by the organization.
  • A good buddy must demonstrate a strong performance in their existing role and have a basic understanding of the new hire’s role.
  • A good buddy must be patient and understand that new employees will grow into their roles if given proper training.
  • A good buddy must have strong communication and interpersonal skills.
  • A good buddy must have the willingness, the ability, and the passion to mentor others.
  • A good buddy must have the willingness to involve the new employee in social activities, such as lunches, coffee breaks, and informal outings.

Related: Onboarding Process: What is Onboarding?

Why Should Organizations Introduce the Buddy System?

Introducing the Buddy system within organizations can be highly beneficial because;

  1.  The buddy system fosters a healthy and productive work environment. By pairing new employees with experienced colleagues, companies can enjoy numerous advantages.
  2. The new employee can contribute value more quickly, leading to increased confidence and self-esteem.
  3. The buddy system improves business performance, profitability, and staff morale.
  4. The buddy system provides a general overview of the company allowing new hires to gain insights into the organization’s unwritten rules and cultural nuances, which may need to be covered during formal onboarding processes.
  5. Additionally, studies have shown that having friends at work can significantly increase employee engagement and retention, making the Buddy system a valuable asset for any organization aiming to create a positive and supportive workplace culture.

Related: Employee Onboarding Email Template.

The benefit of the Buddy System.

  1. One key benefit of the buddy system is that it accelerates the process of learning for new employees. Having a designated buddy to run to, new hires get up to speed on their responsibilities.
  2. The buddy system helps bridge the challenge of adapting to the organizational culture by providing insight and tips that would help new employees learn about the organization’s culture and adapt to it quickly.
  3. It helps new employees feel a sense of belonging.
  4. New employees have the opportunity to build relationships with other colleagues within and outside their department.
  5. The buddy system fosters a culture of collaboration, knowledge sharing, and networking within an organization.
  6. The buddy system supports open communication, mentorship, and continuous growth.
  7. It increases the productivity of an organization because it helps new hires adapt to their roles faster.
  8. Adopting the buddy system provides new employees with a safe space to ask questions, seek advice, and receive feedback.
  9. It saves the organization the stress of training new hires.

How organizations can Implement the Buddy System.

To successfully implement the buddy system in onboarding, organizations need to follow these;

  1. Define the roles and responsibilities of the buddy to ensure clarity.
  2. Encourage regular check-ins between buddies and new hires.
  3. Provide a training system and resources for buddies to equip them with the skills needed to support new hires.
  4. Establish a feedback system where both buddies and new hires can provide inputs on how to improve the buddy system and areas of improvement.
  5. Evaluate and improve the buddy system based on the feedback to ensure onboarding success.






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