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Onboarding Buddies

What is an Onboarding Buddy?

Someone who partners with a new employee during their first two to three months of employment. The buddy should provide guidance, encouragement and be a primary resource for a new employee. The buddy should help introduce the new employee to the campus culture and community.

Why have an Onboarding Buddy?

The purpose is to help welcome employees and reaffirm their decision to join Case Western Reserve University and the Division of Student Affairs. It provides new employees with a reliable, motivated and single point of contact for basic questions regarding their work experience in Student Affairs. It also helps establish orientation as a process and not a one-day event. Other advantages of having a buddy:

  • Builds on the knowledge that has begun in the orientation process.
  • Enables new employees to become knowledgeable about department practices and organizational culture in a shorter period of time.
  • Ensures routine inquiries can be handled quickly, without having to wait from a response from your supervisor.
  • Reduces initial confusion and uncertainty all new employees have.
  • Maximizes the productivity of manager/new employee meetings by allowing them to focus on job specific issues.
  • Increases a new employee's self-confidence decreasing the time it takes to adding value to the department.
  • Increases employee motivation and retention.
  • Gives employee a jump-start on networking.
Buddy responsibilities
  • Contacting the new employee with a welcome email to let them know who you are and what your purpose is.
  • Contact the new employee.
  • Establish a rapport.
  • Provide a campus tour and a Student Affairs Division tour.
  • Make introductions.
  • Answer general questions.
  • Refer them to the Operations Group if they have a specific question in any of their areas.
  • Help socialize the new employee to the campus culture and history – check out the Blue Book
  • Take them to lunch time social events, help get them involved in the PDC, SAC, volunteering for The Late Night Breakfast, or Relay for Life.
  • Show them the wonderful selection of places to eat in and around campus
  • Talk about the Wellness Program – Go to the Veale gym together
Tips for Buddies
  • Don't worry about being an "expert" If you can't answer a question then together find someone who can and then you both will know the answer.
  • Be patient. It takes time to develop a relationship and you don't have to cover everything on the first day, first week, or first month. 
  • Be positive.
  • Don't try to force a relationship. Try to identify the new employee's personality and style of communication and work with it.
  • Don't be judgmental. Simply offer feedback.
  • Maintain a good attitude and a teaching spirit. 
What a buddy should expect from a new employee
  • Welcome to suggestions
  • Trusted with information given
  • Willingness to learn
  • Open and friendly
Tips for the New Employee
  • Don't be afraid to ask questions, no question is stupid or silly so go ahead and ask.
  • Evaluate any suggestions just because something was right for someone it may not feel right for you. Be open to new ways of looking at ideas.
  • Be patient – The partner system is a great way to learn, but remember as you go along you will continue to meet new people that specialize in different areas of your job that can help you as well. 
  • The formal partner process will terminate in three month or if either party requests it.   This is a "no fault" process.  If termination is requested early on a new partner can be assigned.
What not to expect from your buddy
  • Not a coach
  • Not a mentor
  • Not a manager