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What Does a Buddy Do, Anyway?

Kristen Buchanan

Does your onboarding process involve assigning a “buddy” for a new hire? Most technical onboarding processes do.

Companies use the buddy system to give the new hire context and connections outside of HR and their manager.

The buddy system can be a very effective element of onboarding when it’s done well. When a buddy is available, open to questions, and invested in the success of the new hire, the new employee can be quickly integrated into the day-to-day operations of the team and get up to speed faster than they would otherwise.

But often companies assign a buddy to the new hire and simply stop there.

Being a buddy involves more than having lunch with the new hire and saying, “If you have any questions, you know where to find me!”

Companies can take the buddy system to the next level by equipping and empowering buddies to be valuable resources for the new hire.

To prepare a buddy for the new hire's arrival, a manager can offer the buddy some context about what the new hire will be looking to learn from them, and how the buddy can be the best guide for the new hire's transition into the company.

When a buddy knows what to expect and has the tools to show the new hire the ropes, they have the chance to actually feel good about the experience, rather than feel like they've been given extra work and do the bare minimum.

And when the buddy feels good about the experience, chances are the new hire will have a positive experience, too.

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