Buddies are commonly referred to as sponsors in the integration of new employees. A good onboarding program is collaborative. Each party in the onboarding team has the necessary skills for a successful integration. Among them, the workplace buddy is special because it is not a job within the company but a role in addition to the person's main job 👇.
What is a buddy?
A buddy has a proven quality in the company, which is that of being a go-to person! Because of their experience in the company and their ability to federate, they are motivated and willing to offer their skills, knowledge and vision of professional life to a younger person or a new recruit. These qualities allow them to support the onboardee during his/her integration and in the achievement of his/her professional goals.
What is the role of the buddy (or "sponsor") in the company?
Guiding, accompanying, answering questions... The scope of a buddy's actions can be more or less extensive depending on the company. They are there to play the role of a big brother/sister and are supposed to be able to answer all the questions related to the company: organization, functioning, strategy, actors... They are therefore a landmark in the company for the onboardee.
The buddy must not replace the role of the manager and must not interfere with the manager's directives in any way
The only limit that can be identified and that can sometimes be crossed is the manager's role. Indeed, not being a line manager (ever!), the buddy must not substitute the manager's role and must not interfere in any way with the manager's instructions, nor with the employee's objectives. You may want to clarify the role of each member of the onboarding team when setting up the onboarding program.
Should the buddy be from the same department as the onboardee?
You can choose a buddy from the same department as the onboardee. However, choosing a buddy who is not from the same department has great virtues. In order to ensure objective point of views and exchanges on the company and to promote communication between departments, it is always preferable to choose buddies from outside the department of the employee being onboarded.
Inter-departmental communication is one of the key success factors of lasting companies, so it is essential to create these bridges whenever you have the opportunity. This will also facilitate internal mobility, because the closer employees are, the better their knowledge of each other's jobs will be, and therefore their understanding of what they can do within the company. It's only benefits, right?
When does the buddy become involved?
Ideally, the buddy should introduce himself to the new employee as soon as he arrives. It is essential to create this relationship from the very first steps of the new employee in the company and to establish a climate of trust as soon as possible between these two actors.
Until when should the buddy hold his role?
There are obviously no rules on this point. As the integration progresses, the buddy's presence will certainly be less necessary. However, the buddy should be available to listen to the onboardee's needs throughout the integration and beyond if desired. In the event that the buddy and the onboardee do not get along, it is important to understand why the relationship is not working and, if possible, to assign another buddy.
In conclusion, the implementation of the buddy system in a company must be well thought out, organized, and make sense in the short, medium and long term for all the actors. The role of the buddy is distinct from that of the manager but complements it.
Carefully select high potentials for the buddy role. This will have a double effect:
- Valuing this talent by giving them responsibilities out of their mission scope.
- Transmitting the company's culture and values to the new employees
- Both buddies and new employees will therefore automatically be more committed and more loyal 💪.