McLean & Company, the globally trusted partner of HR and business leaders, has released its newest research-driven resource, titled Implement a Buddy System at Work. This data-backed guide is intended to support HR leaders in building a more consistent and effective way to help onboard new employees. With HR facing ongoing challenges like significant turnover and competition in the talent marketplace, a “buddy system” is an easy-to-implement solution that McLean & Company research indicates is effective at helping new employees acclimate to a new organization and role.
Onboarding is often exciting and stressful for both the new employee and the manager, and new hires often need extra support to settle into a new role. McLean & Company’s New Hire Survey Database shows employees are 1.8 times more likely to be engaged when their acclimatization experience is positive compared to those who rate their experience lower.
A buddy is different from a mentor or coach. The term “buddy” refers to the internal tenured employee who assists a new employee in settling in with an organization. The buddy acts as a friendly point of contact to help new employees adjust to their roles during the first few months by providing advice, answering questions, and making introductions.
The research indicates that a buddy system provides ongoing support to new hires after their initial orientation without a significant investment in time or resourcing and can alleviate some of HR’s pain points with similar programs.
Buddy system programs offer the following merits:
- Easy to implement with minimal coordination
- Senior-level members freed up for more formal interactions
- No specialized training required to be a buddy
- Flexibility in meeting frequency, duration, and location
For employees, buddy systems are valuable and offer such benefits as:
- An enhanced and more personalized onboarding experience
- Prevention of potential isolation when hired ad hoc rather than in large groups
- Help with the adjustment period as new employees become familiar with team processes and organizational culture
- Networking opportunities and identification of key contacts within the organization
- Improved distribution of the time managers traditionally spends on onboarding
McLean & Company explains that although the implementation of the buddy system and the buddy selection process fall under a manager’s list of responsibilities, HR can impact uptake and effectiveness by designing the framework and guiding managers on how to integrate it into their onboarding processes. This framework will ensure that a consistent approach is being applied throughout the organization and that all new employees have access to an additional layer of onboarding support.
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