Buddy Program FAQs
1. What are the benefits of serving as a buddy?
This is your opportunity to help someone else have a great experience. Think back to what you wish you had known when you first started at the County! We will have an annual in-person check in meeting for all buddies.
2. What qualities make a good buddy candidate?
Qualities that make for a good buddy include:
• You are open to helping others, such as a new employee.
• You are “acclimated” to working in the County and have a good understanding of who to go to for what.
• You have the time to make a commitment to being a buddy (see question #3 below).
• You are invested in making sure that your colleagues, such as a new employee, have a rewarding and positive experience at the County.
3. What kind of time requirement are we talking about?
You would be a buddy to a new hire for 3 months, meeting every 1-2 weeks during that time period.
4. Is this similar to party planning?
No, being someone’s buddy is an integral part of their onboarding experience. Studies have shown that having a strong onboarding infrastructure – which includes having a buddy – during a new hire’s initial months on a job leads to higher satisfaction and retention.
5. It sounds like you have to know everything to be a good buddy.
No, you would only be responsible for sharing your own experience and providing your own perspective. If you don't know the answer to a new hire question, that's fine – you can also always ask your department buddy program coordinator for help.
6. How is what I'm doing as a buddy different from what the new hire's supervisor is doing?
The supervisor will still meet with the new hire on their first day, orient them to the job, introduce them to their colleagues, and walk them around to familiarize them with the office. Your role as the buddy is the augment what the supervisor already does - answering other questions, providing advice (e.g. where to find out more about County wellness activities, how to get involved in the HeartWalk), helping the new hire understand the County's organizational culture, sharing your own experiences, and just being available as a sounding board for those first few months. As we all know, it's always helpful to have more than one person to go to with questions!
7. Do I need to report back to the manager on how things are going with the new hire as their buddy?
No. Although you should meet with the hiring manager prior to the buddy's arrival to coordinate which topics you will cover with the new hire, you are not under any obligation to "report back".
8. What if the manager asks me to cover topics or tasks - i.e. job training - that aren't part of my responsibility as a buddy?
Talk to your department's Buddy Coordinator who will take the lead in providing clarification regarding appropriate Buddy duties.
9. What if I’m assigned to be a buddy to a new hire and it’s not a good fit? Can I be reassigned?
Talk to your department's Buddy Coordinator to determine a plan forward.
10. What if my buddy wants to talk about something that I’m not comfortable discussing?
You should politely direct your buddy to the buddy program guidelines and re-focus the conversation on the topics identified in those guidelines.
11. If I have additional questions about the County's buddy program, who should I ask?
Feel free to contact your department's Buddy Coordinator with any questions.