The process of onboarding new employees varies from organisation to organisation based on company culture, founding values and people objectives. A smooth orientation helps recruits feel comfortable and equipped to begin their new journey with a company.
One such common onboarding practice that companies across the globe are now adopting is the buddy system.
Here’s everything you should know about it:
What is the buddy system?
The buddy system is an orientation method used to onboard new employees. It involves assigning existing employees to new recruits so that they can guide the new employee through their first few weeks or months at work.
What are the benefits of a buddy system at work?
- Smoother onboarding: Buddies help new recruits understand the company’s goals and culture and enable them to get a detailed understanding of the existing work processes within the organisation
- Lower attrition: Onboarding new employees can be a tough process but what’s even tougher is finding a replacement for an employee who has just been recruited. A smooth onboarding can help create a good impression in the eyes of the new employee ensuring that they have an experience that motivates them to continue their journey with the company.
- Better employee relations: Beginning your journey in a new company can be tough, having a buddy can help new recruits feel welcomed and can enable them to speak to other co-workers through proper introductions from the buddy.
For the new employee:
- Friendly support: Having a buddy from day one who can answer all your questions and introduce you to other employees within the team can be helpful for new recruits as they get familiar with the workings of the company.
- Faster onboarding: Buddies can help new teammates understand the workings of the organisation quickly by providing all the required information and answering all queries to ensure that the employee is ready to begin their journey in the new role.
- Increased productivity: Good relations amongst employees leads to a productive workplace. As proved through research conducted by Warwick — happiness makes people around 12% more productive. Having a buddy that is there for you since day one can help you build a strong relation with them and their co-workers, ensuring a healthy and happy bond amongst the team.
How to implement a buddy system at work?
Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to implement a buddy system at your company:
- Confirm the objective
Decide the key results you would like to achieve along with necessary metrics that can help you track and improve your company’s buddy system.
- Set necessary processes
Create a list of tasks that need to be undertaken by the buddy in order to ensure that all objectives are met. This can include initiatives such as creating an onboarding document, setting up 1:1 calls with other team members and providing a run-through of existing processes.
- Find potential buddies
It is important to find employees that can provide extensive support to the new recruits and assist them with all queries. Having buddies from different departments can help with faster knowledge transfer as new employees can be assigned buddies that have similar job profiles.
- Make suitable pairs
To ensure a successful buddy system it is important to match new recruits with employees that have similar job profiles, interests, learning styles and personalities. This can help ensure that both individuals are able to communicate comfortably in order to achieve the main objectives of the buddy system.
How to find the right employees for the buddy system at your workplace?
A potential buddy should have the following characteristics:
- Strong communicator: The buddy should be able to smoothly communicate all necessary information to the recruit along with answering any questions the new employee may have.
- High performer: Buddies should be able to manage their own tasks along with providing the necessary support to the new employee, it’s all so necessary that they act as an example for employee efficiency to the new recruit.
- Easily accessible: New recruits usually require consistent help with their queries, it’s always good to have a buddy who can be easily accessed and is from the same department so that they can easily transfer relevant knowledge to the employee.
What are the limitations of buddy system at work?
Although the buddy system has been adopted by several organisations, it can have certain disadvantages including:
- Conflict amongst buddies: Buddies spend a lot of time working together, this increases the chances of conflicts arising due to miscommunication and differences in opinions.
- Incorrect pairing: Pairing two employees can go wrong if their personalities and working styles do not match.
- Wrong information transfer: It’s important to ensure that the buddy has all the relevant information in order to help onboard a new employee, buddies who lack basic knowledge and communication skills can transfer information that might be incorrect or unnecessary for the smooth functioning of the new recruit.
Adopting the buddy system at work comes with its own set of pros and cons. In order to ensure that you implement a system that works well for your organisation, you need to understand the needs and skills of both the buddy and the new employee.
Apart from a well-thought-out buddy system, there are several other practices that can help you ensure a smooth onboarding process. This includes planning ahead, practising experience mapping and much more.
What processes does your team follow in order to ensure smooth onboarding? Write to us at email@example.com and let us know!
Until next time, happy onboarding!