Starting a new job is stressful. There are so many new people to meet, names to remember, procedures to learn, routines to follow, and policies to understand which can make those first few days and weeks feel pretty overwhelming. At Unosquare, we know that the three-hour new employee orientation from HR isn’t enough to cover everything a team member needs to know. Furthermore, when we follow a traditional format of delivering a large amount of information all at once, valuable, but nuanced information is sometimes overlooked. We need our team members to consider different aspects of our company culture, workplace procedures, and all the activities that take place during and after work.
Our Belfast, Northern Ireland delivery center developed a solution for this problem that we’ve decided to implement on a global basis. We’re using the Buddy Program. It’s a simple yet effective solution to navigating new and difficult or even dangerous situations used everywhere from school-aged kids on field trips to the Wingman in the U.S. Air Force. We take the approach of pairing a new employee with a current employee to make the transition to their new job at Unosquare smoother and less stressful.
The results from the Buddy Program in Belfast were very positive. New employees reported that they found the relationship to be a useful resource for all those questions they didn’t think to ask during the HR orientation and that it created a bond that would last far beyond the official three months of the program. Intended to be a more casual relationship than reporting to a team leader, the Buddy is meant to be the person to ask about workplace systems and processes as well as socializing the new team member with Unosquare and their new environment. While knowing the best coffee shop nearby or when the next game night is scheduled isn’t tied to project deliverables, they are a part of helping the new employee feel valued and comfortable in their new surrounding. The Buddy is also a link to the larger company, meaning they can be a way to meet people beyond the team structure and develop peer relationships throughout the office. In the grand scheme of things, these might not seem like essential activities, but they are the kind of things that help new employees settle in and feel comfortable in their new environment which is vital to feeling fulfilled and productive in their job.
We already have a list of people who have volunteered to be Buddies in our Mexico delivery centers and have developed a brief training for them to cover our expectations and their responsibilities. We hope that as this program matures, we’ll have some of the new employees who had Buddies guide them through their first three months return and volunteer to be Buddies for the next wave of new hires.
We believe that the Buddy System is a win-win situation for our employees. New hires have a more relaxed and less stressful transition period and can be productive team members more quickly. At the same time, the Buddies learn valuable mentoring and leadership skills while positively impacting the overall company culture.
Sometimes the most straightforward solutions are not immediately apparent, but work out for the best.