Buddy: A Friend at the Workplace

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A wedding ceremony signifies the culture, traditions, and customs of a community. The wedding procession is accompanied by lights and fireworks. The bride’s home speaks through the decorations and the dinner. The bride’s house looks like a bride. It is illuminated as if it is the Diwali day. Bands would accompany the procession. Sometimes a piece of refined music played on instruments, awaits the bridegroom. Similarly, when the bride enters the house of the groom, similar kinds of rituals and proceedings can be seen. Welcoming a bride in a new house itself is a big activity because the bride leaves her old house, the parental house, and joins a new home wherein everything is new.

Traditionally, it has been seen that there are sets of activities, which the new bride goes through, like the introduction to each family member, and their whereabouts and nature. In return, it is the creation of an environment wherein the newlywed bride feels comfortable and gets help in settling down in the new house of the groom.

Bringing A New Joinee Onboard Is An Exciting And Challenging Task.

The supervisor plays a critical role in shaping the new joinee in the first week and the initial few months just like the role of the sister-in-law of a bride is critical in the initial phase of settling for the new bride. It is the creation of a congenial ambiance for the new joinee to get them settled down in the organization easily.

Substantial Percentage Of Separation Happens Due To Improper Orientation And Lack Of Compatibility During The Initial Phase.

It’s tough being a new joinee who is not too sure what lies behind each door; there are enough acronyms and buzzwords to fill a book.

Not knowing the answer to what’s ”normal,” what’s ”right,” what’s “acceptable” and what’s “wrong” and, with such questions in mind, a new joinee feels like an ”outsider” during the initial phase of joining.

Consequently, the typical new joinee is less confident and somewhat insecure when it comes to relating with their colleagues – junior, senior, or peer. It makes the new joinee hesitant and confused in interpreting the responses.

At the end of their first day and in subsequent weeks, the new joinee feels internally that they made the right decision to accept the position.

In most of the cases, the new joinee begins their first day on the job with anticipation and eagerness. This early enthusiasm can be either boosted or ruined, depending on the first impression. What happens during the first few days determines the new joinee’s long-term perception of the job and the organization. A lot of times, we hear from a new joinee that “it is the personal touch from the superior and peer group during initial days which brings more comfort” rather than the hardware, infrastructure and support system like arranging for a desk, login, etc. which is easy, but recovering from a bad impression – that’s hard. 

Here, the onboarding buddies play an important role in ensuring a successful onboarding experience. It’s like giving an experience to the new bride during the initial phase to understand the new family, and ensuring that she is well introduced to all the family members and well conversed with the culture and tradition of the new home.

Organizational orientation is all about making the new joinee feel at home.

Along the way, that also means helping them understand organizational culture. Buddy program acts as a great tool to assist in both of these objectives.

Ultimately, successful onboarding doesn’t require an overcomplicated playbook. It’s important to have a multi-dimensional onboarding plan in place; the most important thing a new joinee needs for success is support. The supervisor and a dedicated onboarding buddy- a friend-play an important role to ensure that the new joinee has a positive and productive experience in the first few months on the job. A buddy is a friend who can support in accelerating the new joinee deal with the early disconcerting issues. By matching the new joinee with a ”buddy” – someone who has been in the organization for a while – this issue can be addressed easily. The buddy always assists in organizational orientation and is extremely helpful in cultural integration and in providing emotional support to the new joinee to succeed in the role.

A buddy is involved in providing a point of access to essential information and knowledge sharing to orient the new joinee. The buddy is an employee who guides the new joinee during the initial period of resuming the new job. It includes a formal documented process that outlines the responsibilities of the buddy as well as the checklist of items to be covered over the first few weeks or months of employment.

The buddy system encourages the new joinee to share project management tips, tools, knowledge, and techniques through their previous work experience. A workplace buddy gives the new joinee an opportunity to offer confidential feedback about the onboarding process.

The success of running such kind of a program always benefits both the buddy and the organization.

Buddy”: Recognition as a strong performer, an expanded network, opportunity to encourage and engage others, a fresh perspective, enhanced leadership and communication skills, public recognition and rewards.

“Organization”: Increased employee satisfaction and retention, enhanced employee development, enhanced quality work processes, and productivity.

The role of HR as a facilitator

The role of HR as a facilitator is very important: as a human resources process, it is extremely essential and significant to understand the mindset of a new joinee so that they can get along with the system and processes, and the culture with comfort. A systematic process for identifying a buddy, organizing periodic interactive sessions for the new joinee with the buddy, and seeking structural feedback from the buddy about the Buddy Process are the few structured approaches of HR orientation and review for the effectiveness of the pogramme for sustainable practices.

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Subhransu Mohanty, Head-Human Resources, Everest Industries Ltd. He is an HR Professional with 25 years of diversified experience in well-known reputed companies in India like Kirloskar Oil Engines Limited, Tata Auto Comp Systems, Endurance Technologies Ltd and RSB Transmissions. He holds a Black Belt Certification in Six Sigma and a certified external assessor for CII-EXIM award. He was a selection member of leading B-School, Welingkar Institute of Management Development & Research for selecting Management Students. His Hobbies include Travelling and actively involved in CSR Activities.

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