Published on 03/04/2022
The first few days for a new employee in a company are often intense: welcome breakfast, meetings with the line management and colleagues, getting to know tasks and processes, discovering the corporate culture, etc.
They are inundated with information, both written and oral, which can destabilise the newcomer and give rise to concerns. That’s why you need to follow the onboarding steps to make sure everything goes smoothly !
The integration of a new employee is therefore crucial for the company, which has often invested a substantial budget in recruitment. The buddy system therefore appears to be a valuable tool in this onboarding phase, making it possible to retain new talent and encourage their commitment to the company.
What is the precise definition of the corporate buddy system? Why and how should it be set up ? Steeple takes you on board and reveals the secrets of successful integration! 🚀
#1 – What is a corporate buddy system?
The buddy system is one of the means available to Human Resources to facilitate the integration of the employee and to guide them during their first weeks in the company.
It is therefore an onboarding tool, a crucial stage in recruitment aimed at welcoming the employee in their new professional adventure.
The buddy system consists of assigning a buddy to the employee upon their arrival. The buddy’s role will be to personally accompany them in their first steps and to make sure that they find their bearings in the company easily.
#2 – How do you choose a workplace buddy?
For the buddy system to work for a new employee, the buddy must be chosen carefully.
What is their role?
First of all, let us list their tasks, which vary according to the structure. In concrete terms, the buddy may be required to :
- welcome the employee to the department (they act as a relay for Human resources or the manager)
- present the team
- help them to settle in at their workstation
- show them around the premises and introduce them to other staff
- have lunch with them on the day of their arrival
- explain how the department, methods, practices, tools, Intranet, etc., are organised.
But their role goes far beyond simply taking charge of the first few days : the buddy accompanies the newcomer over several weeks, or even several months, depending on the size of the position.
Through informal chats and regular follow-up meetings, they provide the newcomer with all the keys to understanding the company’s operations, tacit rules, values and culture. They are a daily support in the employee’s learning process, both in its technical and social dimensions.
In short, they provide all the knowledge necessary for a smooth and successful integration, and thus play a complementary role to that of the manager and the HR department.
What is their profile?
A good buddy has been with the company long enough to be well versed in the corporate culture and to know all the ins and outs of the company. Ideally, they are in the same department (if the structure allows) or, at least, in a similar position.
The golden rule for a successful buddy programme is that the buddy should have no hierarchical link with the newcomer, so that the latter can ask questions and exchange ideas without fear of judgement.
A good buddy must also have good interpersonal skills. They know how to listen, guide and give confidence. They like to pass on both their knowledge and their pleasure in being part of the company.
This is why the buddy is obviously voluntary : their role can in no way be perceived as a constraint!
👉 Find out how to create a strong corporate culture! 👈
#3 – The corporate buddy programme : a win/win relationship
Setting up a buddy system is not only beneficial for the new employee, but also for the workplace buddy and the company.
Benefits for the employee
If the employee is well supported when they start their job, they feel expected, valued and considered. All QLW (Quality of Life at Work) indicators are green:
- they quickly develop a sense of belonging to the company
- they trust the company’s (colleagues, managers, management) ability to help them carry out their new tasks
- they are willing to invest and plan for the long term
Benefits for the company
The company benefits from the enthusiasm of the new employee, who is motivated and involved. By facilitating the integration of the employee, the buddy system brings them up to speed.
In a study conducted within Microsoft and reported in the Harvard Business Review,
97% of the firm’s new recruits reported that their buddy helped them to significantly increase their productivity, exchanging 8 or more times in the first 3 months after joining.
In addition, by quickly embracing the company’s culture and values, the employee contributes to the development of the employer brand.
Finally, a good buddy programme and, more generally, an effective onboarding system, is a powerful vector of loyalty: the holy grail for all HR managers !
When you know the average cost of a failed recruitment (between €20,000 and €200,000, all expenses included, according to Digital Recruiters), you understand why it is essential to limit employee turnover within a company.
I truly believe that integration is an art. Every new employee brings with them a potential to achieve and succeed. Losing the energy of a new employee due to poor integration is a lost opportunity.Sarah Wetzel, HR Director at engage:BDR
Benefits for the buddy
Acting as a buddy is an excellent way to develop your coaching skills. But this is not the only advantage : by entrusting them with this task, the company values their experience and demonstrates its confidence in them. What could be more stimulating than this recognition?
#4 – The key steps to setting up the buddy programme
Here are some tips for a successful buddy programme :
Step 1 : appoint a project leader
The first step is to appoint a reference person, who will be responsible for defining the precise scope of the buddy’s task: objective of the programme, duration, scope of intervention, time allocated to the buddied person and frequency of exchanges, budget (for the organisation of breakfasts or lunches, for example), etc.
It is essential to set up a framework and to arrange the schedule of the workplace buddy so that they can really devote time to this additional task.
Step 2 : prepare the onboarding programme for the newcomer
The second step is to plan the customised onboarding of the new employee, prior to their arrival :
- kit out their workstation (and, if available, prepare company goodies as a welcome)
- organise a welcome breakfast with the team, integrating it into everyone’s diaries
- add the new employee to the organisation charts, directories, email lists, discussion channels, etc.
- if the company is equipped with the Steeple tool, prepare their profile and plan a welcome post
Step 3 : welcome the newcomer on the first day
A decisive ste p! The new employee’s first impressions will strongly determine how they experience their first few days on the job. Their successful integration is essential and the day must therefore be planned in full : welcome by the manager or the human resources department, arrival breakfast, then being taken care of by the buddy, lunch at the restaurant, visit of the premises, etc.
Step 4 : passing on the corporate culture
Throughout the first few days, the numerous chats with the buddy should help the employee to gradually become imbued with the company’s culture and values but also its history. From the very first week, the buddy establishes a climate of trust and a positive dynamic, favourable to constructive discussions.
Step 5 : take stock regularly
In order for the buddy system to be successful in the long term, it is important to survey the new employee to get their first impressions after a few days of integration.
While meetings between the buddy and the buddied employee may become less frequent over time, the link must be maintained over time.
Finally, the data collected should provide Human Resources with the necessary material for continuous improvement of the buddy programme.
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