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Orientation/Onboarding Intervention Strategies

What is a Buddy? 2.4.3.a

A buddy (sometimes called a sponsor) provides information and assistance beyond that provided in the orientation or by the supervisor. Before the new employee arrives, the supervisor and the buddy should determine what information will be addressed by whom. The buddy may assist the supervisor in training the new employee, but most often the buddy will simply provide informal support to help the new employee feel comfortable in the new environment.

The buddy is a resource for questions the new employee may not wish to discuss with the supervisor. This can range from questions about social norms, such as “Where do I hang my coat?”, “Where do I put my lunch?”, and “Do most employees eat in or go out?”, to questions regarding the informal culture and unwritten rules of the organization, for example “What are the potential land mines in this company?” and “What issues are not questioned in this organizational culture?”

The buddy should be sure to convey a sense of openness, security, and confidentiality. A new hire should know that the lines of communication are open but that confidentiality will be respected, and feel comfortable to go to his/her buddy without feeling intimidated. The buddy should check with the new employee daily for a while to answer questions and offer guidance. At a minimum, the buddy should:
  • Show the new employee around and introduce him/her to others;
  • Show him/her where to get equipment and supplies;
  • Eat lunch with him/her during the first few days; and
  • Offer encouragement.

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