Life is always better with a buddy. And yet, the kind of buddy you spend toasting Friday night with may not necessarily be the same kind you greet in a suit and tie on Monday morning.
A buddy program can be a wonderful way to onboard a new hire, by connecting them with a seasoned employee who can provide guidance, motivation and encouragement. It can boost productivity, enhance job satisfaction and ease new employees into an organization faster. If you’re an employer whose organization doesn’t have a buddy program yet, this one’s for you.
How a Buddy Program Works
A buddy program essentially links a new hire to an experienced employee with the intent of making the former feel welcomed, guided and instantly integrated with the organization. The buddy can also be a sounding board, answering questions and offering direction through the inevitable unknown. They can also fill in by answering questions that a new employee may feel too conscious or embarrassed to ask an immediate manager. When it comes to picking a suitable buddy, it is important to make sure that the person assigned for the role is deep-rooted in the company’s culture and has a holistic understanding of its practices, culture, processes and policies. Also, a buddy with a notable track record can serve as an example of exemplary employee spirit, dedication, and zeal.
How to Choose a Buddy
A buddy program isn’t an overnight production. It takes thought, careful planning and multiple buy-ins from important stakeholders. Just like the various roles of a job, the expectations from a buddy should be highlighted in a document and shared with the individual assigned for the role. The document should carry the following:
- Role of the new hire and name of the supervisor
- Responsibilities of the buddy in terms of communication, explanation of new role and integration of employee into the company culture
- Key points on ways of working and paths to improve productivity and performance
- Duration of the buddy program
- Control checkpoints to assess the effectiveness of the buddy program, possibly through weekly reviews by HR
Benefits of a Buddy System at Work
The buddy program can be an organizational game-changer and can work to integrate new hires quickly, build a sense of belonging and catalyze productivity. However, it doesn’t just stop at that. A buddy system also does the following:
- Builds relationships between colleagues
- Welcomes new hires
- Develops comfort and confidence among new hires
- Opens casual lines of communication
With buddies in business, you can create a close-knit culture that can effectively accelerate your organization. If you don’t have a program in place, it’s not too late to step on the gas. Begin here, and see the difference for yourself.
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