Bringing new hires onboard in an organization is always an exciting and stressful process. The new hires usually have the essential skill sets, but they tend to be unfamiliar with the organization's culture, processes, and also their managers. A workplace buddy is assigned to the new employee to ease their transition into their new workspaces, which is critical during the onboarding process.
A buddy is an individual who partners with a new hire during the first few months of their job. Buddies are typically existing employees who help the new employee get through the first hardships when recruited to a new position.
Buddies are always available to show the new employee around the offices, offer some insights into the daily organizational activities, go over the policies and procedures, and help the new employee fit in more quickly to the entire workplace, and assist them to be familiar with the organization's culture and inner workings.
Setting up a buddy system as part of onboarding new employees.
A buddy system is a method used for onboarding and sharing knowledge in the orientation of new hires. It also includes a formal documented process outlining the buddies' responsibilities and the areas to cover during the first few months at work. A buddy system plays another role in encouraging the new employees to share project management techniques, tools, knowledge, and tips they acquired from their previous working experience.
You don't need to hire much staff or spend huge amounts of funds and time on setting up an effective buddy system. Consider drafting a simple and formal document outlining what the buddy role involves and look for the appropriate staff member to take the role. Ensure that they fully understand your intent, then evaluate the effectiveness of the program over time.
1. Decide and document the work buddy program, such as highlighting the roles, purposes, length of time, and ground rules.
2. Identify the person to act as the buddy and confirm that they are willing and can play the role. Also, review the whole buddy process with them.
3. Provide a list of topics that the buddy should make sure they cover with the new hire, such as introducing the employee to key staff, demonstrating the telephone systems, show the new employee around the workplace, etc.
4. Strongly recommend knowledge sharing culture between the existing employees and the new ones.
5. Finally, evaluate and debrief with both the buddy and the new hire.
Apart from providing benefits to the new employees, having a buddy system in your workplace is also valuable to the entire organization. Assigning workplace buddies ensures that new hires have somebody to talk to, which usually is essential in the first few weeks in a new job position.
The benefits of a buddy system
During the onboarding process, it can be overwhelming, stressful, and confusing to a new employee starting a new job on day one with new processes, new people, new goals, new environment, etc. Buddy systems are known to reduce the time new employees require to be productive and also increase the retention rates.
These systems are part of the onboarding process that provides the new employee with a motivated, ongoing, and reliable single point of contact for any question about the work processes.
Here are some of the significant benefits of establishing an employee buddy onboarding program in the workplace:
- Boosts productivity;
Productivity speed is mostly a concern for the new hire and the organization. A buddy is known to influence the productivity of a new hire because they will have the tension between taking time to learn the new job and the need to ramp up quickly.
The more a new hire meets with his or her buddy, the more productive they become. For instance, an employee who is assembling page slides can feel very comfortable turning to their buddy for assistance and get to know where they're doing incorrectly after a few slides, which saves a lot of time for more work.
- Increases new employee satisfaction;
New hires that get buddies assigned to them tend to be more satisfied with the entire onboarding experience and receive more active support from their managers when compared to those without buddies in the workplace.
The new hires also gain higher confidence in connecting with both their managers and the broader team alike, reflecting that buddies play a key role in speeding up the integration process into the larger organization community.
- Contextual awareness.
Most of the things that new employees need to know are not always covered in the employee handbook. Instead, onboarding buddies help new employees navigate unspoken cultural and social cues and boost their confidence in social settings.
Context is always a precious commodity for new employees, and without it, they will struggle a lot, trying to understand their roles or how to contribute to their team's success. Buddies will give the type of context not usually found in the employee handbooks.
For example, buddies will help new employees identify the relevant stakeholders, matrix navigation of various organizations, and strategic thinking when solving problems.
In conclusion, strategic employee onboarding is always making the new hires excellent employees. When the new hires buddy up with the existing employees, they receive encouragement and gain insights into inner information that's critical to make them comfortable in the new workplace. This means that the new hires with best friends in the workplace are more likely to be engaged in their jobs. Buddy programs that embrace workplace friendships help an organization quickly achieve its onboarding goals and have higher employee engagement levels for both existing and new employees.
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