New hires are sometimes nervous or hesitant to address concerns and ask for assistance. There is some amount of stress which is natural yet overwhelming. That is where our six-month Buddy Program comes in – to facilitate integration through a social approach. This article will cast light on the process, its benefits to the team, and its guidelines, all from the perspective of arculus employees.
The buddy program is an onboarding initiative to familiarize new joiners with the company’s culture, processes, standard protocols, and policies with the help of experienced colleagues. The program has been in place since 2020, thanks to the efforts of the arculus People’s team.
“The aim is cross-functional development, enrichment of the employee experience, and good integration of recruits within different teams.”Afiffa Batool (Talent Acquisition Recruiter & Partner)
How does the initiative work?
It is a six-month voluntary program, which requires a minimum of three meetings with half an hour each. Participants are free to hold sessions anywhere; it can be on the office premises, outside, or even online (depending on the location of both participants). “Most of the time, I am in the Gaimersheim office and only a few times in Munich. That’s why I have had almost all of my buddy meetings online. But once, when we were both in the same city, we finally got to meet and talk over lunch.”, explains Jonas Jaeger (Production Engineer).
The people’s team takes three factors into account when selecting buddies. The first is if, after the end of their probation period, the employee wants to volunteer for the program. The second is to ensure that the participants are not in the same team so that the new joiner gets as comfortable with other groups as they would be with their usual peers. It also opens avenues to learn and understand what other departments are working on. The third is if the new employee works totally remotely, then they must get a buddy who works from the office. That allows them to see how everything is done at the workplace without feeling left out.
The program has no formal template to follow, and the meetings generally occur in an informal setting. “For me, it’s always a casual meeting where we introduce ourselves. I explain a bit about the company, who is who, and my own experiences. It is also an opportunity to get more familiar with the other person.”, describes Lisa Bell (Content Creator).
The idea is to lend ears and shoulders to the new colleagues; therefore, there are no final goodbyes. “In theory, your job is done after six months, at the end of your peer’s probation period. But, for me, it is not a job; I see it more like being there and supporting that person,” says Maria Souza (Social Media Coordinator). “You can for sure meet and talk as often after it ends.”, adds Lisa.
Nonetheless, participants need to keep certain principles in mind. As someone’s buddy, one is not supposed to review the job performance, be a subject matter expert, or be expected to know everything. Buddies should offer encouragement and support, give honest feedback, provide suggestions for more efficiency and productivity, and keep the shared information confidential.
What makes the buddy program a symbiotic relationship?
Maria recalls how the buddy program facilitated her transition when she joined the team in January 2022. “It was nice to have someone to explain how arculus works and give me a positive outlook regarding what awaited me at this job.”
Fabian Na (Mechanical Engineer) reminisces how this program gave him his point of contact in the company. “My buddy made me feel comfortable and introduced me to everyone. She also gave me a little background on what had happened in the company so far and explained a bit about the arculus culture.”
Nevertheless, Fabian also believes it is an equal opportunity for the buddy to learn something new. “Now, being a buddy myself, I understand the company’s culture better. Also, I get to give them information on how the company is and get to know that person better, especially if they’re in a different department.”
Like Fabian, Lisa finds the program a medium for connecting with other teams. “I’m always curious about what’s happening in the other departments. What are they working on now, and what are their challenges? It also allows me to understand our products better as they continuously develop.”
Reasons why our employees approve of it
Based on an internal company survey, arculus has received a positive response from the employees. They agree that this program helped them achieve a smoother onboarding process, better understand how other departments in the company function, and develop soft skills like networking.
“You develop many more connections in cross-functional teams. Without the program, many colleagues wouldn’t have a clear vision of how processes work in other departments, or even what they’re working on. Now, thanks to this creative initiative, we all have a much better understanding of the roles and responsibilities of the other colleagues.”Lisa Bell, Content Creator
The buddy program, in a nutshell, is a low-maintenance solution that has helped new joiners at arculus with integration. It provides them with a safe space and time to learn about the company culture, values, and operations through an experienced fellow worker. By combining it with other social and technical integration and onboarding initiatives, we provide possibilities for engaging with colleagues and improving knowledge about the company as a whole. As a result, we have well-informed and motivated employees with higher productivity rates right at the end of their onboarding process.