Buddy Guide

The guide for how to be a buddy for a New Hire

Before the Employee's First Day

  • Meet with the hiring manager to review the onboarding plan, clearly define your role, and schedule a date to have lunch with the employee during his/her first week. (1 week before new hire starts)
  • If appropriate, call or email the employee. (Get contact information from the hiring manager.)
  • Familiarize yourself with the onboarding framework to be able to answer questions from the new employee.
  • Learn about the employee. Get his/her resume or background from HR or hiring manager. Google him/her. Check LinkedIn, etc.

Onboarding Buddy Suggestions and Tips

  • As a Buddy to a new employee, you play an integral part in helping the employee successfully acclimate to the team and company. Here are some suggestions to help you in this vital role.

On the Employee’s First Day

  • Stop by the employee’s office to introduce yourself. Confirm plans to meet with the employee later that week. Give him/her your contact information.

Introductions / get to know each other [~5 mins]

  • What jobs did you work before this?
  • What did you like about those jobs?
  • What didn’t you like about those jobs?
  • If desired:
  • In what area do you live?
  • What are your interests / priorities outside of work?

Buddy’s role: Here are the things I can help you with.

  • If your supervisor is not available or the questions you have are more about the details of your everyday work, you can come to me and I will help you.
  • If you need support with being more efficient, or tips about how to do things more effectively, I’m happy to help.
  • I’m also here to help you have a friend at work, which is really important.

NOT the buddy’s role: Here are the things I can’t help you with - these are the responsibilities of your supervisor.

  • I can’t officially evaluate your work
  • I don’t assign you tasks or tell you what to work on
  • I can’t help you with large issues or questions relating to your work, your pay, your job function, etc.

There is no real end to the buddy program, but I will be most useful to you in your first 2 weeks to a month of work.

Buddy: Basically, I’m here as a peer to help you feel comfortable and supported, even when your supervisor is not around. This job can take a little while to get used to, so please ask questions and let us know what you need to feel comfortable.

Do you have any questions?

During the First Week

  • Take the employee to lunch. Share information about yourself – how long you’ve been at the company; what it was like when you first started; your role, interests, and hobbies. Learn about the employee’s background and interests.
  • Show the employee around the working area and make introductions.
  • Explain how to order equipment and supplies.
  • Take a walking tour/walking meeting.

During the Following Months

  • Reinforce how the new employee’s role interacts with others in the organization.
  • Provide some perspective or history on how the new employee’s department or business unit has evolved over time.
  • Highlight the most important terms/jargon related to the new employee’s role/business unit.
  • Plan ahead by scheduling meetings for the next several months. Meet over coffee.
  • Check in with the employee in between regularly scheduled meetings to see how things are going and if he/she has any questions.
  • Continue introducing the employee to others.
  • Invite employee to relevant business or social events.

Helpful Tips

  • Don’t worry about being perceived as the “expert” or think you need to have all the answers. Your experience at the company is what’s most important to the employee.
  • In some situations, listening is more valuable than giving advice. Ask questions like “What do you need?” or “How can I help?”
  • We all have a preferred communication style. Talk about each other’s preferences, as the new employee may have a different style from yours.
  • Recognize that it takes time to develop a relationship.
  • Be patient, positive, and supportive. Don’t try or expect to cover everything over a short period of time.
  • Stay open minded, and avoid being judgmental.
  • Maintain confidentiality.