All You Need to Know About the Role of Buddy in Workplace

I am about to tell you something important. But first, you need to think about your staff - what is the typical employee retention rate? Are they satisfied? Or do you need to set up a new recruitment process far too often because of high turnover?   

Many of these things could be avoided, but there is a problem. A great number of companies do not have a well-planned buddy system in the workplace. And a good, dedicated and well-supported buddy can make a huge difference to a successful onboarding experience.  


According to HR Drive, 58% of new employees prefer a buddy that would support them and answer any questions. Additionally, giving a new recruit a mentor as part of the onboarding process enhances productivity. In this way, both sides benefit, because the new employees feel valued and remain loyal to the company for a long time. The organization quickly hires competent and independent employees.  

In most cases, the role of the buddy, even if it exists, is unclear and unspecified. Often there are no designated people for this position, so leaders and managers have to take on this role. This is not always appropriate and does not make communication easier. If you want to set up and upgrade your buddy system at work to provide support and confidence for both the new employees and the buddies themselves, let us get this show on the road.  

What Is a Buddy System in the Workplace?  

The buddy system is about introducing a new employee to the company in a gentle and friendly way by pairing them up with a more experienced member of staff who can offer advice and support in the early days of the new job. Their role is primarily to introduce the new employee to the company’s culture, familiarize them with the way things work and integrate them into the team.  

Buddy creates a sense of trust and security, by providing a smooth introduction to the organization, a feeling of being "taken care of". It's about having someone you can turn to at any time with any problem - someone who has the time and space to do it but is not a supervisor with whom you may be embarrassed to raise specific issues.  

What else? Buddy helps break the first ice, lays the foundation for building new relationships and introduces them to ongoing projects. Most importantly, the buddy is there to offer support, advice and help. They not only share content and project knowledge, but also give advice on unwritten rules, such as when it makes sense to apply for a sports card so that it is valid from the next month, or when you should write to the HR department about teams instead of sending emails that will remain unanswered.  

Best Practices of Choosing a Good Buddy  

Let us dispel some myths. A buddy does not have to be on the same team as the new hire. This way, the new employee is guaranteed to get to know people from different departments right away. Moreover, new joiners and their mentors will talk about everyday problems and company culture in addition to technical details and fundamental tools.   

The most important thing is that buddy really wants to help. Nothing done by force is good, so he or she must not be pushed into it. A reluctant or passive-aggressive mentor will suffer if given the task, as will the new employee. Find out who is open and willing to engage in long-term mentoring practice by doing some research first; there are many such people.   

Of course, it all depends on the situation and the companies involved - do 2, 5 or maybe 10 people start each month? You need to ask yourself - who allocates the buddies and does it well? The manager and the HR specialist should work together because the manager knows the people they are supervising, while the HR department has more leeway to coordinate the whole process. You need to choose people who are willing, open-minded and communicative. You need a buddy to introduce new employees to a specific department (such as Java programming) and to the culture of the company.   

It should also be someone who can dedicate time to this position. Because if we choose someone who is constantly overworked, they will undoubtedly not do justice to their duties as a buddy - not out of ill will, but because of lack of time. We do not want that, because it would only lead to dissatisfaction and possible burnout for both. So don’t opt for someone who is overwhelmed with programming tasks or HR, but for someone who can easily integrate new mentoring tasks into the daily routine.   

Buddy Responsibilities Checklist  

To help you understand the situation and provide some concrete data, we have compiled a list of the most important tasks of a buddy for you.  

  • Description of the fundamental working tools, techniques, and methods  
  • Guidance through the premises, the kitchen, the smoking area, parking  
  • Hosting a lunch and team introduction meeting  
  • Explanation of the official and informal company rules - about leave, communication, parking, integration  
  • Inquiring from time to time about the well-being and progress of the onboarding process  
  • Being open and honest and ready to answer questions at any time  

Benefits of Buddy System in the Workplace  

To be honest, implementing a buddy system in the workplace can bring about a number of diverse benefits for all the parties involved. It’s not a waste of time or an empty corporate process, but a system that is indispensable for a new employee to quickly become self-sufficient, effective and knowledgeable. 

The importance of buddy system in workplace is undeniable. The trick is to design the mentor system in such a way that it does not burden the mentor, leader and the HR representative. Let’s give it a try.    

Benefits for the HR department

A well-designed buddy system is characterized by the fact that it relieves the HR department, which already has its hands full with new, incoming employees, documents and contacts with candidates

It also supports onboarding, as the mentor takes on some of the tasks of explaining the company's procedures and providing regular support with day-to-day questions, doubts and tips. This is additional support for HR, which makes the onboarding more personal and gives a feeling of caring.   

Benefits for the Managers

The buddy system at work reduces the workload and provides additional help for supervisors. A team leader who has many tasks to do every day related to a project, client meetings and other responsibilities often does not have time to take care of a new employee with 100% attention. 

Not to mention the fact that new hires won't feel comfortable asking their supervisor questions about everything. Buddy replaces the boss and offers a more flexible and efficient implementation for the new person.  

Benefits for the Buddy

Above all, it is a chance for the buddy to get ahead in the organization and show initiative. There is much truth in the adage that we learn most by teaching others. The mentor not only expands their own knowledge but also practices interpersonal relations, takes care of a new person and shows him or her around. It is also a good sign for the boss when the buddy asserts himself and shows enthusiasm for the new responsibilities, which increases the likelihood of a promotion.  

Benefits for the New Employee

A designated mentor gives the person in question, the new employee, a sense of belonging to the company and fosters loyalty, as well as the sense of security. 

Starting off is never easy or relaxing, especially during the first few weeks in a new position. With a buddy, though, new joiners will feel that the company cares about them, and they will quickly learn the ropes, work independently and feel comfortable in their new job. Furthermore, satisfied employees give positive reviews, work for the company for a long time and promote a positive environment.  

Benefits for the Organization

For the company, it's simple: a good buddy program means an effective and efficient onboarding process, lower staff turnover and quicker employee readiness to take on their role. This means fewer recruitment costs, which are necessary when employee retention is low, and you have to constantly search for new staff. As a result, new hires can increase the company's profits faster and develop a sense of loyalty to their employer at the same time.  

Implementing a Buddy System in The Workplace      

You are aware of the many benefits of implementing a buddy system into your organization, and you should do so carefully and deliberately, not on the spur of the moment. If you would like to learn more about how to achieve this, we have put together some helpful advice for you on how to introduce a buddy system in the workplace. Let us go a little deeper.  

  1. Formalize the position of buddy - The first and most important step is to formally define the duties and responsibilities of the buddy role. By highlighting the buddy's contribution, you underline its importance to the company and pave the way for a practical incentive system. Clearly and precisely describe the duties and obligations that would fall under their purview. In order for a potential candidate for a buddy to understand what they are getting into and whether this is a good fit for them, this specification should be communicated within the company and be available at all times.  
  2. Conduct routine check-ins - Don't put all the onus on the buddy. Maintain frequent contact with the mentor and check to verify that they are carrying out their duties while giving them enough autonomy. Determine if they need more support or if any of the tasks are beyond their abilities. Do the same for the new employee. Pay attention to how much help he needs, and do not leave him alone. Everything needs to be outlined and documented as a process so that no one is left out.  
  3. Create a checklist for the buddy - Create an onboarding buddy guide that consists of a list of instructions for the mentor to follow in terms of interpersonal and soft skills, as well as a concise technical overview of tools, processes, links and workplace rules. Being a buddy is not an easy task. An accurate to-do list makes the process easier (e.g., show the building, meet the staff and schedule training sessions). The most important and useful information, e.g., how to apply for leave or talk to a manager, could also be included in the form of an eBook, pdf file, or employee handbook.  
  4. Introduce a reward system - Another important point is to keep the mentor engaged, too. In the midst of your own duties, it is not easy in the long run to be enthusiastic about a newcomer who constantly asks questions and needs your support. This is where a reward system can help. Offer access-like rewards - let buddy choose his holiday, parking space or gym access first. Consider status-like rewards - create a unique buddy badge or a sign on the door to his room that highlights the significance of his role. Perks like a voucher to a shop or cinema are also a good incentive. Or power-related rewards - let the upcoming buddy decide where the team-building event takes place.  
  5. Don't overburden the buddy - Be careful not to overwhelm the mentor by letting them take too many new employees under his wing at once. It is very easy for routine and dissatisfaction to creep in when someone is frequently filling in as a buddy. Set an ideal schedule for how often you can mentor a new employee over a period of time, e.g. no more than two at a time with a two-month break in between. This depends entirely on the size of your company and the availability of your staff.   
Free ebook

7 Challenges You Can Gamify in Your Company


Own the Buddy Program Today

All this shows that communication between mentor, supervisor, new employee and HR is key to the consistent success of the onboarding process, the integration of new hires and an effective buddy system.  

If you want the workplace buddy system to produce real results in the form of new staff members who quickly integrate into the company culture and add value, you have come to the right place (not to mention motivated and qualified buddies who do not just do the bare minimum).  

Use a digital onboarding platform to plan, set up and manage your buddy system at work - thanks to gamification, the HR specialist, the manager, the mentor and the new joiner have all the information and tasks in one place, can communicate and receive rewards. Are you curious yet? Our experts will be happy to tell you more!