Integrating new employees into your organization is a process that is as exciting as it is stressful. It’s also a crucial period for the success of any company. And although the combination of a good onboarding process and attentive management is essential to getting positive results during those first few weeks of integrating new employees, there is a method that could make this process even easier – guaranteeing a faster, more successful onboarding experience all around. This method is known as Buddy Onboarding.
If you haven’t heard about it yet, in this article we’ll be explaining what it is, why it plays such a crucial role in job integration, and how you too can successfully implement a buddy onboarding program.
What is a buddy onboarding program?
Buddy onboarding is a business practice that has gained great popularity in recent years. This method involves assigning each new employee with an experienced colleague, who will become their “buddy” or companion during their first days, weeks or months in the organization.
The main objective of a buddy onboarding program is to help the new employee quickly adapt to their new work environment, as well as understand the company culture and familiarize themself with their responsibilities.
Why is buddy onboarding essential in integrating new employees?
Buddy onboarding programs benefit not only the new employee, but also the wider organization and the buddy him/herself.
In the first example, having a colleague who guides new talent through the norms, culture and working context of the organization will help that talent feel more confident, committed and productive.
As for benefits to the organization, buddy onboarding programs normally guarantee less preparation or adaptation time, and result in greater commitment and sense of belonging. While for the buddy, their participation in the program offers the opportunity to develop leadership skills, expand their networks within the organization and deepen their own understanding of the company.
Research conducted by Gallup showed that employees who have a “best friend” in the organization are seven times more likely to be engaged, offer higher quality work, and enjoy a higher sense of wellbeing at work.
Another piece of research carried out by Microsoft showed that buddy onboarding improved satisfaction in the onboarding experience by 36%. Meanwhile, 86% of new employees who met with their buddy at least four times in their first 90 days felt that their buddy helped them improve in their new position.
Tips for successfully implementing buddy onboarding
When managers think about implementing an onboarding program, they often focus on the new employee’s first actions within the organization, such as getting to know the facilities, meeting their colleagues, and grasping their responsibilities. Although a buddy program does indeed incorporate these features, there are 4 very specific steps to consider for a successful implementation:
Step 1: Choose the right companions
Not all employees are well-suited to be buddies. Look for people with strong communication skills, patience, and a deep understanding of the company and its values. Microsoft, in its research and pilot program, determined that the ideal buddy must also have time to dedicate to the new employee, a good history of work performance and sufficient knowledge on the role that the new employee will play.
Step 2: Determine what functions the buddy will perform
Set clear expectations and roles for buddies and make sure they know how to help new employees. This includes offering guidance, answering questions and providing ongoing support. Other functions of a buddy will include teaching the new employee how to use tools, involving them in social activities, or informing them how teams are organized and what means of communication they use.
Step 3: Design the program structure
It doesn’t take a lot of resources to implement a successful buddy onboarding program, but what is essential is proper planning. To achieve this, you must begin by clearly establishing the objective of the program, which may be, for example, to help orient new employees or improve retention, satisfaction and productivity.
In your planning you should also ensure that you correctly match both new employee and buddy and, above all, establish the duration of the program, which is typically at least 90 days. Finally, it’s crucial to create a schedule of activities that will guide the new employee during their first days, weeks and months within the organization. If you want to know more about the different phases of a reception plan, as well as the timing they should follow, we invite you to take a look at this article.
Step 4: Use the right tool to automate your buddy onboarding
Technology can help you simplify and improve the buddy onboarding process. Use a tool that allows you to automate tasks such as issuing regular meeting reminders, collecting feedback from new employees, colleagues and managers, or sorting tasks into priority order, as this will help save you time and effort.
If you don’t yet have an onboarding program or tool, why not try isEazy Engage – an onboarding app that will help you simplify your onboarding process, as well as improve the experience for new employees.
How to implement a buddy onboarding program in your organization with isEazy Engage
isEazy Engage is a training, communication, knowledge and task management tool that will help you implement and optimize your very own buddy onboarding program.
With our app you can create training plans packed with various types of micro-content, allowing you to effectively train both your buddies and new employees. In addition, you can keep track of your learning in real time by analyzing access data, most viewed content and interactions.
With isEazy Engage you’ll also facilitate communication between buddies and new employees – not to mention with other colleagues and the organization itself – through features like individual and group chats, news walls, push notifications and others. Want to learn more? Discover our onboarding app today!