The “Buddy System” For New Hires Blog | February 17, 2015

“You will never get a second chance to make a first impression” Will Rogers

As much as employers are looking for the new employees to make a good first impression during their first few days in a new job, new employees are looking to their employers to also make a first good impression. One key area of this for an employer is the onboarding process of new employees entering your organization.

Many times we hear of new employees spending their first few hours at a new job sitting in a room by themselves, or with a few other newbies, and filling out paperwork or reading manuals.

New hires begin their first day with excitement and enthusiasm, but this spirit can be enhanced or destroyed, depending on the employee’s first impression of the organization. What happens during the first few days will determine an employee’s perception of the company and the staff they will be working with. Oftentimes we see new employees sent off to their department or work desk with only a busy supervisor or business owner to train and answer their questions.

It doesn’t have to be this way. Using a buddy system can help build a personal connection with a coworker, the organization and may accelerate the productivity of new hires and enhance job satisfaction, so that the new employees stay with the company. A new employee who is made to feel part of the work group gains more confidence and will likely become more productive faster.

What is a buddy program?

A buddy is a company-identified employee who partners with the new employee during their first few weeks of employment, offering guidance and share experiences with. In addition to your current onboarding program, having a ‘buddy’ to talk with is an efficient and effective way to communicate all the ‘unwritten’ rules of your workplace.

How To Start?

Identify a successful buddy candidate as a seasoned employee who has an understanding of the business’ practices, culture, processes and systems. A buddy should be a friendly volunteer with high personal performance standards, and a positive attitude and communicate well.

  • Meet the new employee of their first day
  • Have them give a tour of the work place, introduce them to others
  • Provide some money for the buddy’s to go for lunch
  • Weekly catch-ups. Something like coffee in the lunch room before their shift starts
  • Explain any slang or acronyms the new employee may come across
  • Provide moral support and an understanding ear to the new employee’s experiences
  • Involve the new employee in any social, official or unofficial

A buddy isn’t just beneficial to your new employee either; it’s a good way to develop some job enrichment and skills of existing staff members. The buddy will learn more about the business, its employees as well as gain valuable mentoring and leadership skills that’ll be useful within your company.

The buddy’s role is not to be the new employee’s supervisor. Training and communicating performance standards and evaluations builds a foundation for the supervisor to guide the employee in the future. This should not be delegated to the buddy. A successful system includes buy-in from all levels within the business.

The Program Should Establish The Following:

  • Expectations for the new hire, buddy, and supervisor.
  • What knowledge the buddy should impart to increase productivity and performance.
  • How much time the program should take.
  • Requirements for “check-ins” and follow-up from the buddy and new hire on program effectiveness.

The goal is for new employees and the company to both make good first impressions, be acclimated to the organization quicker, become more productive sooner and to keep talent within the organization.

For more ideas like these and assistance with your HR needs reach out to us at:


Recently, an employee gave two weeks’ notice at the same time I was leaving for vacation. I contacted HRfx and provided them all the details to start the RPO process. When I returned after two weeks, I had several candidates to interview and I hired a great applicant from the short list that was given to me.
The HRfx team removed the stress off my plate and I could enjoy my vacation.

Nic Marples, Ocean Park Mechanical