Vic's learnings: Do you have what it takes to be an onboarding buddy?

Appical Team
Victor Romijn
June 5, 2023
min read
Table of Contents
Last week, my wife started her new job. It's with a (semi-government) employer where she had worked before, but in a different region. Although her function didn't change that much, the processes and systems were completely different. It took a little time to get used to again, but fortunately, she quickly got back into the swing of things.

The unwritten rules

She started at the same time as another new colleague who is slightly younger. Someone next to you who is in the same boat quickly creates a bond and that often makes it a bit easier to find your way. Especially because in moments of uncertainty, you can also ask the other person if they are experiencing the same thing.

Besides her fellow newcomer, she also has a buddy. A colleague (not necessarily from the same team) to whom she can ask all her questions. Of course, for work-related matters, you can often turn to your manager or colleague, but especially for the unwritten rules or other uncertainties, it's really nice to have a buddy.

What makes a good onboarding buddy?

But what makes a good buddy? In my opinion, it has to do with a number of things:

  1. The buddy is not from the same team. This way you can ask all the questions you have, even if they are about your colleagues or your work.
  2. The buddy has been working at the organization for a longer period of time. They know exactly what the organization does, which colleague is in which team, and what the relationships are like.
  3. The buddy enjoys being a buddy. You can even create a pool of colleagues who get energy from it.
  4. The buddy is a good match with the new colleague. If it doesn't click, it's better to match with another buddy than to continue. Otherwise, it will only become awkward.
  5. The buddy has time for the buddyship. Just like with managers: in the beginning, it will take a little more time, but that will naturally decrease. Think of half an hour per day in the first week, 2 x half an hour in the second week, half an hour in the third week, and then every other week or every month.
  6. The buddy is trustworthy and is not obligated to pass on reports or comments from the new employee to the manager.
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