First day at work always comes across as a nervous experience for new hires. The process of onboarding is stressful and not easy, especially when you have to walk through the workplace with the new hires introducing them to colleagues, business leaders, workplace policies, work areas, assigned desks, and so on.
On joining a new office and assuming a new desk space, it is expected of new hires to be flexible to adapt with the new working environments, workplace culture, interact with new managers and co-workers to integrate working styles, as now being a part of the team.
Besides being excited and nervous at the same point of time, company’s first impression on the new hires will determine if they choose to stay with the organisation, work with enthusiasm and if their initial excitement of joining a brand will vanish instantly or last longer. As an HR leader, how do you provide new hires with a smooth onboarding experience?
The ‘Buddy system’ or ‘buddy approach’ at work is now commonly used onboarding practice followed by organisations of all sizes, to smoothly transition new hires and help them integrate into the workplace culture easily. And there is a reason why the “buddy approach” is one of the most popular onboarding strategies: This is simply because it works well in most cases, irrespective of the size and scale of business or geographical cultural divide.
In most cases, new hires are directly led to their respective departments and introduced to their supervisors for induction training and orientation. However, new hires have a lot of unanswered questions on mind, some out of curiosity and some to draw a better understanding of the workplace culture, job role expectations, understanding of the manager etc. New hires are often reluctant to ask, and seek for more information.
This is where the buddy system comes to aid, to act as a bridging support to promote workplace relationships between the new hires, their supervisors, colleagues and the senior management.
Gallup report highlights several advantages of building camaraderie at the workplace. Healthy relationships at work tend to improve cardiovascular functioning and decrease stress levels. Also, employees who have best friends at work are seven times more engaged in their jobs, better at engaging customers, produce higher quality work, reflect better state of emotional, mental and physical wellbeing.
If you want to accelerate the onboarding process for new hires in your company, here are several tips you can follow:
You do not have to invest huge sums of money or more time to create a buddy system that works. First of all, you have to clearly define who can and cannot be the buddy for a new hire in your team. For example, only those who have worked for at least three years with calm mind and careful understanding of business requirements can be a buddy at work.
Next, you should define their responsibilities, such as how long the program will last, the guidelines, and what they should do to assist new hires.
When you have created core points, you can assign tenured employees as a buddy. Those who are appointed as a buddy, should be committed to sharing knowledge and be willing to take on responsibilities assigned to the job role. Do not enforce buddy program on employees since it will not generate positive outcomes. If necessary, you can open volunteer for the program.
Before introducing the buddy to new hires, you should provide guidelines for the buddy to execute the onboarding functions smoothly. Give them detailed instructions and set schedule of what is expected of them during the program. For example, you can sketch out a daily, weekly, or even monthly activities to be accomplished by the buddy for the new hire at work. This method will help both parties to have effective dialogue and an efficient onboarding process.
As the buddy system comes to an end after the onboarding exercise, you should review and evaluate the effectiveness of the program. You can do this by conducting face-to-face meeting with new employees and their buddies, or by sending them a questionnaire.
Besides the formal orientation, developing a buddy system could be great alternative to boost onboarding process for the new hires. Initiating a buddy system helps new employees to adjust faster to their new surroundings at work, and learn right with senior employees’ assistance.
Not only does this method ease HR responsibilities, a buddy helps provide ongoing support for new hires to be able to integrate themselves into new workplace culture quickly.