A work buddy is a versatile person who helps new hires with onboarding. This is a more experienced person on the team who guides the new hires in the first few weeks of the onboarding process.

At Microsoft, the buddy system is quite prevalent. 56 percent of the new hires revealed that meeting their buddy once in the first 90 days helped them become more productive on the job. This percentage increased to 73% for those who met their buddy 2-3 times.

Disinterest and disengagement in the workplace can result in employees quitting or feeling unmotivated. Disengagement is sadly a common phenomenon in the plastics industry. According to Revere Plastics Systems, 53% of employees don’t feel attached to their company’s vision or goals.

Should your onboarding program include a buddy system? Incorporating a buddy system can bring employees together and help them feel productive again.

Let’s look at a few reasons why a buddy system can be great for your company:

1. Boosts employee confidence

Negative feedback coming from a manager sounds harsher compared to one from a friend who is at a similar level to you. If you make a mistake or don’t understand something, you wouldn’t feel as hesitant to talk to a buddy as you would to a manager.

A buddy system can be a great way to voice your concerns, take feedback, and implement it.

2. Take the stress away

Figuring things out on your own in a new place can be stressful. Having someone on the team to rely on provides a sense of security. New hires can easily get overwhelmed by the work thrown their way. Onboarding, training, field/lab visits, shadowing sessions, and an increased pressure to get on board quickly can be stressful.

Knowing a buddy can help the new hires navigate uncertainties and can take away the feeling of stress.

3. Better employee retention

Demotivated, disengaged, and frustrated employees want out. While a buddy cannot solve all problems, they can certainly mitigate problems before they start.

Happy, motivated, and productive employees want to stay with the company. A buddy system can produce happy employees; and as a result, your company will have a better employee retention rate.

4. Provides context for new hires

The current employees have the company’s lingo, style, and references well-embedded in their everyday life; but for a new employee, all of that language is foreign.

Having the context of how things work in a new place is very important for new hires to be able to navigate through unchartered waters. A buddy system helps make sense of things and brings the new hires up to par with the company’s style.

5. Vessel for new ideas and suggestions

New hires bring in a third-person’s perspective. They see things that can be improved on. New hires provide useful insight and suggestions. Listening to that fresh perspective is imperative to growth.

Sometimes bringing those ideas to a manager can feel intimidating. A buddy can be a great bridge between the manager and the new hire. If needed, the buddy can listen to the new hire’s ideas and introduce them to the higher-ups.

Onboarding is an essential part of the hiring process. Your new hires will feel motivated and pumped to get started if onboarding is done right. If the new hires feel lost in the process, they may question their decision of joining you. To ensure your team hires the right people and provides the best tools for new employees, executive search firms can help!

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