The Role Buddy
The Role Buddy is, as the name suggests, someone whose activity and consultation will be strictly linked to role specific questions. The role buddy is often a peer that is already a part of the team that you are joining as a new hire. In case the role buddy is from another team, it is essential that he/she performs a comparable role to the one that you are going to perform, so as to ensure that they can provide you with any relevant information you might require by having first-hand experience with the role itself.
As Buffer describes the purpose of the role buddy is to “help new teammates learn the ins and outs of the role, systems and expectations for that particular job.”
The Culture Buddy
The Culture Buddy is defined as “a point of contact on all things Buffer culture and values […] the guide as they learn and absorb it all.”
The culture buddy figure is closest to what a generic onboarding buddy’s role is defined in many companies: assist the new hire to integrate socially and culturally.
While there is a high chance that the role buddy belongs to the same team as you, the new hire, the culture buddy will typically be from a different team. The culture buddy is selected to help guide you culture-related discussions, providing additional context to company history and norms.
The culture buddy support is meant to be active for at least the first 6 weeks, after which he can continue being around, on request.
The Buffer Mastermind
The Mastermind programme was created out of a perceived hunger for: cross-area context, deeper connections, and a need for having a work friend and consistent partner (who is there to stay even in cases of changing area or management).
Employees are matched with a “mastermind” buddy on the basis of 4 key criteria: different teams, similar tenure, similar role, time zone overlap. These criteria reinforce the aforementioned hunger for a cross-team connection and consistent partner. Of course that it makes most sense to be paired with someone with a compatible time-zone and someone who has similar interests and experiences.
The mastermind conversations are structured as a 1-hour session held on at least a bi-weekly basis. The role of the masterminds is to “establish a deep connection with a peer outside your immediate area for long-term support, accountability and continuity.”
The mastermind sessions debut with discussions on each individual employee’s personal stories covering their upbringing, work history, hobbies etc. It is an exercise meant to set up a connection based on vulnerability and employees getting to know each other beyond surface-level. Then, further conversations tackle work at Buffer, with covering questions such as “How are things feeling in your role?” or “Is there anything blocking you?”
It’s interesting to note that Buffer made the executive decision to make the mastermind sessions required, only allowing opting out in special cases, so as to reach optimum success.