- 56% of new hires who met their onboarding partner at least once in their first 90 days said it helped them quickly become productive in their role.
- 73% of new hires who met their friend two to three times in their first 90 days said they were more productive.
- 86% of new hires who met their friend four to eight times in their first 90 days said they were more productive.
- 97% of new hires who met their friend more than eight times in their first 90 days said they were more productive.
Create a buddy program
There was a conscious decision when creating Wasserman’s program to use a diversity, equity and inclusion lens by pairing new hires with friends from different backgrounds, as well as those who don’t are not part of shared work teams or departments, Mendez said.
“We wanted diverse identities to work together for a common goal, and generational diversity was definitely something we wanted to normalize in the office,” she said. Pairing people from different departments also encourages new hires to develop working relationships beyond their immediate office, she noted.
Restricting the service relationship of new hires could result in new hires getting too attached to their buddies and becoming uncomfortable branching out on their own, she added.
Microsoft takes a different approach, depending on the harvard business review article. He has found it more beneficial to pair people who report to the same manager because the buddy is more familiar with the role and responsibilities of the new employee.
“We’ve found that when matching buddies with new hires, buddies need to have a thorough understanding of the role and nature of the new hire’s job, as well as a strong track record of job performance,” said said Joe Whittinghill, vice president of talent, learning and insight management at Microsoft. “Having experience with the type of work the new hire will be doing helps our buddy share specific sources related to the role; share best practices, tips [and] Things; and help answer specific questions related to a new hire’s role and team.”
The following tips and lessons have been learned from the NYU and Microsoft programs:
Leadership buy-in is essential. As with any initiative, do your research before proposing a program and tie it to a specific business goal or outcome.
Involve external stakeholders. “Our steering committee partnered with NYU’s human resources department to create a professional development session for both [buddies] and [employees] at the end of the program,” Mendez said. “This partnership really legitimized the program,” showing that one of its goals was to provide leadership development to staff. This prompted staff members to volunteer as buddies.
Keep in mind a friend’s mandate. The buddy should be someone who has been with the organization for a while — a year minimum, Mendez said, although two years or more is preferable. “The [buddy] should serve as an expert and guide of the office’s culture, structure, regulations and unspoken rules.”
Consider the buddy’s workload. According to Microsoft, it may be necessary to reprioritize work, or reassign some of it, so that the buddy has time to work with the new employee. If an employee who has been chosen as a buddy is working to a tight deadline or on a key deliverable, consider selecting another buddy to step in.
Use surveys to help determine goals and buddy pairings. A new hire might indicate a preference for being paired with someone who specializes in an area the new hire wants to learn more about, Picone explained. Friends may also have goals in mind for new recruits. At the Wasserman Center, for example, the buddy may indicate that a goal for the new recruit is to learn more about external partnerships or the various divisions within student affairs at NYU.
Keep in mind generational trends. For employers building a program based on Gen Z trends and preferences, Mendez recommended implementing a buddy system that takes into account how this generation prefers to learn and socialize.
“Since Gen Z workers prefer to work from home, make sure to incorporate hybrid scheduling and not schedule anything outside of working hours, as the Gen Z workforce is determined to create boundaries around their work and personal life,” she said. informed. “Be sure to tap into the concept of creating a meaningful work environment,” with the buddies contributing to that environment.
Provide structure. Proper structure is important; otherwise, the buddy and new hire “don’t know their roles and they have to figure out their results themselves,” Mendez said. A set of Guidelines for Friends for managers can be found on the website of the university’s HR department.
However, it’s important to allow the buddy and the new hire to have flexibility, Picone said. “[They] can choose how and where they want to meet, whether they decide to meet virtually or in person for a structured meeting, or have coffee or lunch together.”
Microsoft provides friends with specific resources, such as checklists, timelines and suggested conversations or talking points to make sure they’re on the right track, Whittinghill said. Prior to the new employee’s start date, the company also provides managers with a tentative schedule that guides them through best practices and a meeting agenda. The Microsoft buddy is responsible for welcoming the new employee and, working together, deciding on the best format and frequency for their meetings.
Send timely reminders. Microsoft sends automated reminders to the new hire, new hire manager, and buddy “to encourage continued engagement, especially during the first 90 days of employment,” Klinghoffer, Young, and Haspas noted in their article.
Openness is the key. “Mentors should be willing to be open and honest about the realities of the office,” Mendez said, “and volunteer their time to build the relationship around the needs of the [employee].”
Collect quantitative and qualitative data to assess expected results. Providing this to management will help with the continuation of the program and the evaluation of expected results, Mendez said.
Let the program evolve, based on your organization and the responses you receive from your friends and the employees they are matched with. The original Wasserman Center program was six months, but was revamped to three months when turnover impacted the number of mentees available, Mendez said.