Onboarding Buddy Programs

The Benefits of an Onboarding Buddy

As humans, it’s a simple fact of our existence that the majority of us appreciate having a good friend (or friends). They’re with you through the difficult times, celebrate with you in the good times and ensure everything else life throws at you seem almost tolerable and occasionally even copacetic with the universe. In the instance of employee onboarding, the same principles apply. Enter the profound need for a buddy program that starts during the onboarding process!

Starting a new job on Day 1 – with new people, new processes, new environment, new goals, new everything – can be overwhelming, confusing and stressful. Having an onboarding buddy to help you along the way makes for a more enriching, impactful employee experience.

Why there’s a real need for onboarding buddies

According to SHRM.org, “The use of a buddy system may accelerate the productivity of new hires and enhance job satisfaction making it easier for employers to retain individuals. Such a system helps build an immediate personal connection between the new employee and the organization.” SHRM adds the critical need for organizations to make new hires feel like a valuable part of the team from the very beginning. An onboarding buddy program can likely transform new employees into productive and collaborative team members, significantly faster.

Additionally, onboarding buddy systems help foster the acceleration of personal connections between the new hire and the business which can magnify confidence and trust. In fact, Harvard Business Review maintains that 87% of organizations supporting a buddy or mentor program during the onboarding process is an undoubtedly reliable way to effectively boost the proficiency of new employees.

Furthermore, Gallup research contends that, “…those who have a best friend at work are 7x more likely to be engaged in their job.” Now this math makes complete sense; a buddy can allow for more fluent communication and potential camaraderie between other team members. Just imagine the long-term benefits of an onboarding buddy who actually turns into a trusted work friend; that’s a win-win for sure!

Three key onboarding buddy skills

Determining which team members make the best buddy ambassadors for your next new hires does take a bit of thought and planning. To start things off, choose team members with these important skills:

  • Communication
    This part of the buddy onboarding program is crucial. Encouraging open, honest and frequent communication lays the foundation for interacting with team members as well as business units and partners across the org. Emphasize the importance of clear communication with internal and external customers.
  • Patience
    This skill, as the old adage says, is truly a virtue. New hires are often predisposed to feeling nervous or anxious when learning the ropes. Let them know it’s perfectly normal to have those feelings. Be patient if they don’t grasp things as quickly as you and your colleagues do; the new hire is dealing with a learning curve, and a buddy’s compassion and understanding can go a long way!
  • Motivation
    No matter how exciting the onboarding process can be for new hires, there may be times during the learning curve that a new hire struggles. Information overload is real, people! A smile and a little motivation goes a long way in scenarios like this. Motivate and inspire your new hire, articulating how their work directly contributes to the company’s “big picture” … this can instill a sense of pride that’s reinvigorating for the new hire.

Studies show that the single most fundamental requirement for long-term new hire success is support. Simply realizing you’ll have a trusted employee who knows the ropes and has got your back makes new hire onboarding that much more effective and rewarding.

For more ideas for empowering and upgrading your organization’s onboarding experience, trust the dedicated experts at Click Boarding.

Want more onboarding?

Get the latest news and content delivered straight to your inbox!

Engaging Experiences Growth & Retention