If you were ever the new kid at school, having a friend who already went there was a godsend. They showed you around campus, introduced you to other people, and, most importantly, helped you avoid sitting alone at lunch.
Onboarding buddies are the work-world’s version of those friends. They can show new hires around the office, introduce them to co-workers, and, most importantly, guide them through the onboarding process.
But running a buddy program isn’t as simple as asking someone on your team to answer your new hire’s questions. You need to strategically select onboarding buddies and intentionally craft a plan of action for them.
We run our own onboarding buddy program at Sora, and we’ve developed a framework for it. Check it out to help design your own.
The ideal onboarding buddy for your new hire is a fully-ramped employee who works on the same team as them. They can offer role-specific knowledge, help train, and serve as a close confidant to answer questions they might not be comfortable asking their manager.
If you want to take it up a notch like we do at Sora, you can run a dual buddy program where a new hire has an onboarding buddy who works on their team and another one who works on a completely different team. This gives our new hires insight into how other teams operate within the context of the company’s overarching strategy.
To help build rapport between your new hires and their onboarding buddies, especially if they’re on different teams, you can match them based on a commonality like the same hometown, current city, or college.
If you want your onboarding buddy program to help your new hire transform from a wide-eyed employee to a fully-ramped one, you need to set some standards. At Sora, here’s what we expect from our onboarding buddies:
We know, remembering to complete all of these tasks can be a tall order for your onboarding buddies. So consider assigning them as tasks in your onboarding automation platform. It will automatically send reminders and notifications to your onboarding buddies for what they need to do, when. You can also easily reassign these tasks if an onboarding buddy takes PTO or leaves the company, so your new hire isn’t left without one.
In addition to setting expectations for your onboarding buddies, it’s helpful to paint the big-picture plan for them. Below is our 4-week plan for our onboarding buddies, and you can download our message templates to get yours started.
Onboarding new hires successfully is a tall order for any company. But if your onboarding buddies can forge both a professional and personal relationship with your new hires and rely on a strategic, intentional onboarding buddy program to do so, you can effectively transform your new hires into fully-ramped, connected employees.
Download Sora's onboarding templates and subscribe to get the latest updates!