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Orientation/Onboarding Intervention Strategies

Characteristics of a Good Buddy 2.4.3.b

A buddy needs to be someone who is proud of the organization and truly believes in its philosophy and vision, so he or she can communicate this enthusiasm to the new employee. By sharing with a new employee, the buddy is also reminded of these same company policies, goals, and vision that he or she is imparting to the new employee.

Ideally, a buddy should be someone in the same department as the new hire who recently joined the organization or department. This is so that he or she feels that the buddy understands the feelings related to beginning a new job and can relay information that the new hire may need. Of course, the buddy must be familiar enough with the organizational structures, both formal and informal, to be a reliable source of information.

The most appropriate buddy would also:
  • Want to be a buddy;
  • Be well-regarded and accepted by other employees;
  • Be a positive role model;
  • Have a good performance history; and
  • Have patience and good communication and interpersonal skills.[1]
Being a buddy is a development opportunity for employees. If possible, a different buddy should be selected for each new employee, giving everyone in the department the chance to participate.

It should be made very clear prior to implementing a Buddy System that the system does not replace the supervisor’s responsibilities regarding department orientation or on-the-job training. While the buddy may explain some simple job-related procedures, it is the responsibility of the supervisor to answer more complex questions that involve the work itself.

An example
of successfully implementing a buddy system into the orientation process is used by the University of Scranton; Scranton, PA.

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