What Is an Onboarding Buddy at Work?
We will start by providing a brief definition. The onboarding buddy at work is a first point of contact for you while settling into your new role.
He/she is a first point of contact for you as a new starter while settling into your new role in a new company. Additionally, the onboarding buddy is a peer that assists your new hire integration into your new company. Their main responsibility is your cultural and social integration.
You can think of your onboarding buddy as a social and culture coach. He/ she is the known friendly face waiting for you in the reception on your first day. Your onboarding buddy is your go-to person for asking any questions, no matter the subject, with zero pressure.
It is worth noting that the benefits of a buddy system onboarding extend beyond employee socialisation. This is what makes buddy onboarding attractive and desirable for many employees.
Onboarding Buddy vs Mentor
The role of a buddy is not the same as the one of a manager, mentor, supervisor, or even coach.
An Onboarding Buddy Will Not Provide Role Training
A buddy can provide valuable insights into the work duties, technologies and ways of actually doing things professionally. The buddy is not supposed to train you, or supervise your progress and employee development. By contrast, a mentor would be a more senior employee. He/she will help you establish, review and assess your goals with regards to career development within the organisation.
An Onboarding Buddy Focuses on Cultural Acclimation
The core purpose of the buddy relationship is providing friendship, support and encouragement to the new employee. The buddy will also be the one to share any unspoken office rules, all leading to the new-hire’s cultural acclimation.
What Is an Onboarding Buddy’s Meaning for Your Integration?
Onboarding buddy programs at work are attractive because they enhance Pre & Onboarding programs. Additionally, organisations with a strong Pre & Onboarding process improve new hire retention by 82%. They also improve productivity by over 70%. This is the conclusion of a Brandon Hall Group Study.
The length of the partnership will depend on your employer’s programming. You will be engaged as early as stepping into your new company.
Effective onboarding has a strong social dimension. This is because social ties are key for encouraging feelings of belonging and commitment to a new company. Additionally, strong social ties can have a powerful effect on people’s well-being, including physical, mental, and cognitive health.
Thus, buddy programs at work can also be regarded as knowledge sharing methods. Through an informal relationship, they orient you when starting a new job. After all, onboarding means more than just gaining access to technology and shaking everyone’s hand on the first day. Effective onboarding not only targets your professional skills and productivity, but also your social integration into the company.
Learning “How Things Are Done”
Regardless of your level of seniority and years of experience, starting a new job always has the potential of being stressful. You are, all of a sudden, an outsider to an organisation and a group of people that has well-established practices, which are more or less well-documented.
Trust and Collaboration
A good work buddy facilitates meaningful relationships based on trust, security and insight. “Despite my manager’s emphasis on perks, the most impactful part of the onboarding experience was the connections he allowed me to make with my co-workers. One of them was Maddy [my onboarding buddy] who had a deep understanding of my role”, Megan Rogers, Intern at Gather