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What is the advantage of a buddy system for new hires?

The use of a buddy system may accelerate the productivity of new hires and enhance job satisfaction making it easier for employers to retain individuals. Such a system helps build an immediate personal connection between the new employee and the organization. In addition, a new employee who is made to feel part of the work group gains more confidence and is likely to become more productive faster.

The buddy can make the new employee feel welcome, answer questions and help the new person navigate through the organization’s culture. This leads the new employee to feel comfortable sooner and to achieve a sense of acceptance and belonging. For example, new hires may be uncomfortable asking questions for fear of appearing incompetent. Buddies can fill in the gap by making themselves available for questions that new hires might not want to discuss with their boss. Buddies also can show the new employees around, introduce them to others, go to lunch with them the first few days, keep lines of communication open while respecting confidentiality and offer encouragement.

A successful buddy candidate should be a seasoned employee who has an understanding of organizational practices, culture, processes and systems. A buddy should be a friendly volunteer with high personal performance standards, have a positive attitude and communicate well.

The buddy's role is not to be the new employee’s supervisor. Training and communicating performance standards and evaluations builds a foundation for the supervisor to guide the employee in the future and should not be delegated to the buddy.

A successful buddy system includes buy-in from staff and management. The assignment should be a well designed process with follow-through. The program should establish the following:

  • Expectations for the new hire, buddy and supervisor.
  • What knowledge the buddy should impart to increase productivity and performance.
  • How much time the program should take.
  • Requirements for “check-ins” and follow-up from the buddy and new hire on program effectiveness.

The goal is for new employees to be acclimated to the organization quicker and become more productive sooner and to keep talent within the organization.


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