Having a new hire buddy system within your workplace gives not only the new employee benefits but in turn, can reward your company. Having workplace buddies set up for new members of staff ensures that they have someone to speak to – the first few days of a new job are the most daunting!
This is really important in making sure they feel welcome into the company and is a great gateway for them to get to know other employees too. It is likely that if they have an uplifting and positive first few days, this will overall provide them with confidence in what they are doing and make them feel comfortable in their new work setting.
Having someone who is already part of the team and knows the structure of how things are done makes the experience for the new employee more personal; they will feel as if they are gaining useful knowledge on aspects of their new job that will be beneficial to them.
This article will outline how you can set up your own new hire buddy system, as well as the important elements you will need to know.
How to Set Up the New Hire Buddy Program?
Setting up and creating a new hire buddy system within your workplace takes careful planning and consideration, as this is an “investment” to your company, according to John Cooper from PMI. It is very important that this is done with the new employee’s mindset at the forefront of all planning.
This type of program is not expensive to have, there is no extra cost as you are using present employees that are not working outside of working hours. It is not a hard system to run either so it is definitely a good thing to consider implementing into your company. It is always good to start off creating the main framework of the new hire buddy system, so noting down the reasoning for implementing the program, the main goal for having it, and the expectations of the system as a whole.
This will enable you to visually see if your main ambitions for the program will be met and the ways in which you and the buddy can work together to achieve them.
Ensure that you have chosen someone to be the buddy who is kind, easy-going, and friendly so that the new hire really maximizes the benefits of the program. This will also make them feel welcomed to the team – this is one of the first members of staff that the employee will come into contact with, so it is important that the buddy sets a good impression of themselves and of the company.
Obviously, not every new employee that joins the company does the exact same job role, so the program will need to be looked over each time, giving you a chance to make adjustments or improvements as you hire more staff. There should also be a start and end date for the system to be in place and running for – beginning on the employee’s first day and ending however many days or weeks later. This will enable the buddy to organize the way in which they follow the initial planning and framework so that the employee feels confident at the end.
There is a great list available on Indeed for this segment on the framework. During this time, the buddy should look out for aspects of the system that aren’t successful or don’t quite fit in well so that you are able to adjust this for both new and existing employees.
As mentioned, not every new employee is employed to start the same job, so having buddies available to participate from all departments would be more suitable for this kind of program.
Again, this will most definitely ensure that the employee feels welcomed, especially if their new hire buddy is a member of staff that does the same job as them or works in the same department. It will ensure that any questions that they ask will be answered properly and effectively by someone who is already experienced in the field, making them feel that they are in safe hands on their first few days of the job. Additionally, you could have a variety of buddies for the employee to ‘choose’ from, which will help them to be paired with someone that they will get along with well and work successfully alongside after the program ends for them.
Not only this, but some individuals are more hands-on learners compared to others who may just appreciate the occasional check-in, so it is important to have new hire buddies who are suitable to the new employee that is joining. After all, this is put in place for the new employees so what they want should be considered first before anyone else makes decisions.
You could also put this on the job description when advertising for new roles in your company. It might bring you more applicants if they see that there is a new hire buddy system operating for new employees as it will make them feel more at ease about starting a new job or starting out in a different field of work.
Whether they are experienced or not, the new employee would always appreciate having an extra helping hand or someone to ensure that they are settling in well to their new job.
The Role of the Buddy
- The buddy is the person that the new employee is partnered up with for the first few days or weeks in their new job. They are an existing employee that is experienced both in their field of employment and working for the company too.
- The buddy’s role is to be of any assistance to the new employee, providing them with the ‘behind the scenes’ of what happens on a day-to-day basis when working for the company and being a helping hand if and when it is needed on their first few days.
- Being helpful is a very simple but important skill that the buddy must have – they must be alert that the new employee may need extra care or attention especially on their first couple of days. They shouldn’t just tell them the answer to questions, they should also show them the most successful ways to approach any issues that they may have in the future so that they begin to find the right balance.
- It is also suggested by PMI that the buddy should go over the company procedures, policies, rules, and general information at the start so that they are aware as soon as possible of what is set in place. This kind of aid at the beginning of employment also helps the new employee to fit in with the company and other members of staff more quickly.
- The buddy should make it known to their partnered new employee that they are available whenever, highlighting the importance of fellowship in the workplace. They should also be a good communicator too, finding the right balance of being confident and knowledgeable, you do not want the buddy to come across as arrogant in front of the new employee as that would not be a good first impression, nor would it make them feel comfortable.
- Additionally, the role of the buddy is to provide the idea that the new member of staff can express their thoughts and questions to you and other employees, knowing that it is a safe environment to do so.
- Obviously, when you first start a new job, it can take a while to settle in, understand what is going on and find your feet, so the buddy should also be patient and be aware that they may need to go over topics or policies more than once. Patience is a good skill to have, so finding a participant within your team that would be tolerant and accommodating when buddying up with a new employee is very important.
The Ideal New Hire Buddy Characteristics
There are a number of characteristics that a buddy should have in order to be suitable and successful in the role, as Ingrid Towey explains from OpenSource.
As mentioned earlier, the new hire buddy should have the patience of a saint. They should expect to explain things a couple of times to the new employee and should not react negatively or badly if this is the case as this would close off the relationship between the buddy and the employee.
As the new member of staff composes themselves in the company and gets used to their new working environment, the buddy should be on hand and willing to answer questions about topics already covered, but on a more complex level than before.
Starting a new job and joining a new company can be very overwhelming for anyone, so ensuring that the buddy is easily approachable in any circumstance within the workplace is really significant in making the new employee feel comfortable and ensuring that they progress with their work.
It can be awkward to interrupt and ask for help, so the buddy should make it known that the employee can come to them whenever and do not mind being disrupted if their advice is needed.
This is an important characteristic that the buddy should have. Being a good communicator will be really beneficial to the new employee, the buddy will be able to use their top knowledge to help teach them about the workplace, company, and everything in between. They should speak with confidence to show professionalism, but they should not be arrogant or come across as bossy as this can make the new employee feel not worthy, as well as forcing them to feel more introverted.
It is easy for newbies to hide how they really feel, especially if they are struggling, so buddies should be proactive in asking them questions rather than just sitting back and waiting for the new employee to go to them. This should go beyond the usual ‘How are you?’ style questions, and be more in depth to gauge a real understanding of how the employee is doing. A lot of people are afraid to admit they are stuck or need assistance so new hire buddies should have some responsibility in taking care of the employee.
Everybody has been in the same situation of starting a new job and has felt all the emotions and feelings that come along with it. A good new hire buddy should be compassionate about this and remember those feelings of being the newbie in a new workplace.
They should want to help get rid of those feelings that the new employee may be feeling and help encourage them to feel more settled using their own experience of starting out in that specific company.
This goes hand in hand with good communication; the buddy should not be overly introverted and should be able to freely speak to any member of staff, especially the new employee. Having a sociable buddy, gives the idea that the team members are inviting, friendly and outgoing making the individual feel more relaxed and welcomed into their new work setting.
Accepted by Others
When finding participants for the new hire buddy program, you should elect those who are eagerly accepted by other members of staff and those who are spoken of highly. You want the buddy to represent your company in a positive and uplifting manner, so it is really important to have individuals be part of the system that are well regarded by other employees.
Also, they should be trusted to speak well of the leadership team, other employees, and the company too.
Manages Time Well
Time management is key in any job, but it is especially present within this system. The buddy should be focused on their job and their own work, but ensure that any time that they spend helping the new employee should be catered around and well organized in their schedule so that they don’t fall behind.
The buddy should be able to show that they have the time to help the new member of staff and not seem as if they’re stressed and cannot help them.
The Benefits of a New Hire Buddy Program
- One benefit of setting up a new hire buddy system is that it can help contribute towards better productivity of the new employee. It provides an instant connection between the employee and the company, meaning they will settle faster and can therefore begin to generate quality work sooner. This program will also give them confidence within the team, company, and within their field of work, adding to this idea that they will feel more comfortable in what they are doing.
- This program can also improve employee satisfaction too. A study from Harvard Business Review found that new employees that were aided with a buddy from the very start were 23% more satisfied with their experience at the beginning of their job compared to new employees who did not have a buddy. This just proves that this system can really have a positive impact on the way employees are made to feel when they start a new job with a new company, and can really affect their outlook on their role in the future.
- Another benefit is that it is mutually beneficial to most employees and not just the new hire. It gives the buddy an opportunity to show different skills than what they are perhaps used to already showing in the workplace, for example, they get the chance to display leadership skills. It can be advantageous to them in this way for their own skill set and knowledge, as they could potentially learn more about how to manage and lead employees for future reference.
- This program also helps to broaden and expand employee communication throughout all departments within the company. In an organization, there are different levels and ranks, meaning not all employees may know each other or even meet, so this is a great way for employees to become familiar with other staff members and communicate with one another regardless of their department of level.
- Implementing this system can also provide you with a fresh perspective on the company and everything that is set in place. When a new employee is hired, they immediately have a perception of the organization, the employees, and the workplace in general, so it is good to have some form of feedback or evaluation from the new member of staff. This will help to give an understanding of how the company is perceived by onlookers and fresh faces.
- As mentioned previously, it is wise to have a buddy from each department, so in return, this can actually provide better employee development within each one. If the new employee is introduced to one or more other staff members that already work in their department, this can really help in the future with the development and workload that is generated. Working collaboratively is a really important aspect to have in the workplace, so if the new employee immediately gets to know the people they are working alongside, this can contribute to developing individually and with each other too.