What Is an Onboarding Buddy?

 

Our Pre & Onboarding Survey 2021 revealed that 65% of new hires say it is crucial for them to receive an onboarding buddy when starting a new job. However, as many as 64% of employees stated that their company did not have a buddy onboarding set-up. But what exactly is an onboarding buddy?

This article will address in depth the question of what is an onboarding buddy, showing that having a buddy at work as part of your onboarding programme, can accelerate your integration into your new company, making you feel at home from the very beginning.

When your employer invests in a software solution, like introdus, employee onboarding software, that is easily customisable, and which allows for the implementation of a buddy onboarding programme, you will be engaged as early as signing your new employment contract. This is one of the reasons why we highly recommend your company to invest in a new hire buddy programme, and we have built a buddy platform to facilitate it.

What Is an Onboarding Buddy: Definition

 

An onboarding buddy is a seasoned employee, a first point of contact for you as a new starter while settling into your new role in a new company. The onboarding buddy is a peer that assists your new hire integration into your new company and overlooks your cultural and social integration.

You can think of your onboarding buddy as a social and culture coach, the known friendly face waiting for you in the reception on your first day, your go-to person for asking any questions, no matter the subject, with zero pressure.

It is always easier to settle into a new job, when you know that you have a go-to person that can answer all your questions, but that is not a direct superior to you, as the buddy is your peer. Thus, a peer buddy at work relieves some of the stress of having to ask potentially “silly” questions to your supervisor or team leader.

Onboarding Buddy Insights

Having strong social ties can have a powerful effect on people’s well-being, including physical, mental, and cognitive health.


The Stanford Center on Longevity.

What Is an Onboarding Buddy’s Meaning for Your Integration?

 

Your onboarding buddy will be partnered with you at the beginning of your employment period and will be a part of your social and cultural integration for the first months of your employment (the length will depend on your employer’s programming).

 

The Onboarding Buddy Plays a Role in Your Social Connectedness

 

Creating the work buddy system for your onboarding journey with a company can be seen as the result of a key realisation: onboarding means more than just learning how to perform your job task. Effective onboarding has a strong social dimension, as social ties are key for encouraging feelings of belonging and commitment to a new company.

Additionally, it is shown that having strong social ties can have a powerful effect on people’s well-being, including physical, mental, and cognitive health. The Stanford Center on Longevity has been carrying out intensive work for investigating the ways that people characterise what the word wellness means to them. Their research shows that nearly every participant – 97% to be exact – mentioned social connections and how their social relationships have affected their quality of life as a component of their definition of wellness.

Thus, social connectedness is recognised by most people as a pivotal contributor to overall life satisfaction, more critical than other significant factors such as material status and physical health.

Having friends at work is incredibly important for your mental well-being. It is especially true for new employees joining a company that just want to fit in. So, it makes perfect sense for your employer to invest in a programme that can make you feel socially connected to your new organisation.

Moreover, strong social connections at the office can make you more productive, and can even make you feel more passionate about your work and less likely to quit

The onboarding buddy arrangement is built as an acknowledgement of these key facts.

 

The Onboarding Buddy Plays a Role in 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, as 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.

By more or less well-documented practices we mean those behaviours and ways of doing things – some formal, some informal.  Although you will be provided access to Codes of Conduct, that will not provide you with the insight into the informal practices of the office. Practices such as: we never bring cake to work on a Monday, or we always clean our desk spaces on Friday before leaving, or we always meet for coffee on the last Thursday of the month.

How Is an Onboarding Buddy Different from a Mentor?

 

It is important to distinguish between the Buddy, the Supervisor and the Career Coach. The role of a buddy is not the same as the one of a manager, mentor, supervisor, or even coach. Although a buddy can provide valuable insights into the work duties, technologies and ways of actually doing things professionally, the buddy relationship is a lot more informal. The buddy is not supposed to train you, or supervise your progress and employee development.

The core purpose of the buddy relationship is providing friendship, support and encouragement to the new employee. The buddy is there for you when you have questions and require any assistance, so as to better settle into the job. The buddy will also be the one to share any unspoken office rules, all leading to the new-hire’s cultural acclimation.

By contrast, a mentor would be a more senior employee, who would be in charge of helping you establish, review and assess your short and long term goals with regards to career development within the organisation. A mentor will have a strictly career advancement focus, assisting you in achieving your desired progress within your new company.

For example, let’s say you are a junior developer that is hungry for career advancement and have just taken a new job at a software development company. Your onboarding mentor, will make sure that you settle into the company culture and you achieve full cultural acclimation. On the other hand, your mentor will review your performance in the role and will guide you on your path to becoming a senior software developer.

If you are interested in having a look at an exact list of activities to be performed in conjunction with your onboarding buddy and your onboarding buddy’s responsibilities, an onboarding buddy checklist will provide a very clear picture. We have developed an onboarding buddy checklist, which you can find inside a dedicated article on our blog HR.

Onboarding Buddy Insights

We can see from our data and that the best ingredient in Pre & Onboarding is the onboarding buddy. It generates relationships and security.


—Stefan Sjørslev, Pre & Onboarding Specialist at introdus.

Get more of Stefan’ insights

To sum up, having friends at work is incredibly important for your mental well-being. It is especially true for new employees joining a company that just want to fit in.

So, it makes perfect sense for your employer to invest in a programme that can make you feel socially connected to your new organisation. A buddy system onboarding makes every employee feel like a natural part of the team.

And a final piece of advice: having the first buddy meeting prior to the first day of work can help calm first-day anxiety, by ensuring that when the first day does arrive, you have a familiar, friendly face waiting for you, rather than someone completely unknown. So don’t be shy, go say hi to your onboarding buddy!

New Hire integration and retention is easier when using introdus’ Onboarding Buddy System.

 

Get a free demo

We are using cookies to gather statistical data in order to improve your user experience. Read more.
Accept