What exactly is a Buddy?
A Buddy is a fellow employee (other than the manager) who provides advice, guidance and support on the different aspects of working at your company and the role the new hire has assumed. Buddies might be called something different in your company’s vernacular. Common alternatives include: Mentor, Advisor, Peer, Peer Advisor , Collaborator etc. A Buddy is also there to listen, provide encouragement, advice and support as the new hire acclimates to your company’s culture and workplace.
What should you look for in a strong Buddy candidate?
A strong Buddy candidate has been with your company for at least 12 months, understands the culture and environment, is a high achiever, and foremost is willing to put in the extra work to be an effective Buddy.
Key characteristics of a Buddy include:
• Communicator: A Buddy should encourage open communication. The Buddy should provide relevant information to the new hire and encourage a process of continued, self-directed learning.
• Role Model: The Buddy should be a model employee and exemplify your company's values.
• Motivated: The Buddy should have a positive outlook on his/her work and use that perspective to help build self-confidence and loyalty in the new hire. The Buddy should lead by example.
• Strong Performer: The Buddy can help guide the new hire in many situations based on his/her experience and knowledge obtained in the work environment.
Additional criteria include:
- Familiar with employee’s role and work unit.
- Strong communication and interpersonal skills.
- Patience and empathy.
- Well regarded and trusted by others.
Qualifying employees usually volunteer to be considered as a Buddy or might be recommended by others. In some companies, Human Resources have the final say or mandate Buddy selection from a list of accredited Buddies. If you are unsure what the practice is at your company, best to check first with HR.
What are some typical Buddy responsibilities?
A Buddy serves as a valuable resource for you and your new hire by creating a trusting relationship and maintaining confidentiality.
- Providing information on policies and procedures.
- Identifying resources in the workplace.
- Familiarizing the new hire to your company’s culture, norms, and unwritten guidelines.
- Introducing the new hire to others in your team, your business unit, and people they need to know throughout your company.
- Showing your new hire around. Both places of note in your facility as well as local haunts for those new to the area.
- Answering questions and referring the hire to the appropriate resources.