Top tips for being a great ‘buddy’ at work.

By Catriona Smith, HR Administrator

Starting a new job can always be a little daunting as you’ll be coming into a new working environment with  established relationships and processes you don’t yet know or understand.  Often, HR will ask a ‘buddy’ to look after a new starter for the first few days to show them around and help them find their feet.

Sometimes busy colleagues may feel being a buddy for a new starter is an extra responsibility they could probably do without, but it’s an important role for the company and worth embracing. As a buddy you’re the first person a new starter will get to know, so the better buddy you can be, the better a new starter’s first impression of their new employer will be.

Here are some tips on how to approach being a great buddy.

  1. Break the ice - be friendly, be chatty and show an interest in the new starter.  Ask them open questions - a friendly chat is always much better than an awkward silence!
  2. Personalisation – an official welcoming e-mail to all staff from you introducing the new starter and their role is a nice touch and will help them feel more valued.
  3. Prioritise processes – there’ll always be a lot of processes to learn at a new company, if you’re responsible for showing the new starter the ropes prioritise the most useful and important ones first.
  4. Brush up on your company knowledge - if you can’t remember names and job roles, quickly remind yourself before doing the walk-around to meet your colleagues.
  5. Tell them about the company culture – explain to them how you and your colleagues socialise with each other, any charity activities the company supports as well as any cross-departmental action groups it has.
  6. Highlight key people – who are the senior managers in your company, but also who’s the best person to ask when the photocopier doesn’t work? Understanding the company from  top to bottom and vice versa is helpful.
  7. Where things are – HR’s induction will cover key things like where the fire exits and meeting points are, but knowing practical things like where the stationary is kept or where the coffee mugs are is also very handy.
  8. Share your local knowledge – where’s the best/closest place to get a sandwich at lunchtime, places to park, short-cuts to work are always useful to know.

A good buddy can make starting a new company a smooth and enjoyable process making new starters feel welcomed and valued enabling them to hit the ground running.

You can also give yourself a pat on the back because you’ve helped to kick-start the next chapter of someone’s career and they’ll always remember that.