To bring a new employee onboard is both an exciting and stressful time. In this managers play a critical role in moulding a new employees first weeks and months, with the help of team effort that ensures the onboarding experience both positive and productive.
Microsoft has been working to improve its onboarding process for the last few years. From the beginning, they have learned that a simple action for their new employees can have a lot of benefits, simply by keeping meetings with the managers in their first week on the job. Onboarding buddies play an important role in ensuring a successful onboarding experience for the new hires. Many a time organization forgets to introduce their new employees to its brand new company but after piloting onboarding buddy program across the organization it is found that onboarding buddies help new hires in 3 effective ways :-
a) Onboarding buddies provide context: For new hires, context is a very precious commodity. Without it a new hire will likely struggle to fully understand their role or how to contribute to the success of an organization. Onboarding buddies helps to give the type of context you won’t find in any employee handbook such as knowledgeable onboarding buddies can help new hires determine who relevant stakeholders are, how to navigate the matrix of different organizations, and think strategically when problem solving. They can also shed light on any unspoken rules that exist or cultural norms which could lead to a much smoother transition into the organization.
b) Onboarding buddies boost productivity: Both the company and the new hire has the concern for speed to productivity. Every company becomes satisfied by filling the position of a certain skill set and now it wants to see a quick return on investment. Meantime, the new hire is likely experiencing the tension between wanting to enhance quickly but also needing to take time to learn the job. At Microsoft, they have found that the more the onboarding buddy met with the new hires, the greater will be the new hire’s perception of their own speed to productivity. It is found that 56% of new hires who have met with their onboarding buddy for once in their first 90 days indicated that their buddy helped them to quickly become productive in their role. That percentage increases upto 95%, if they met their buddy 8 to 10 times in their first 90 days.
c) Onboarding buddies improve new hire satisfaction: In order to understand the value of onboarding buddies, Microsoft has looked at the difference in hires who were assigned onboarding buddies vs. those who were not assigned, onboarding buddies. The research found that after their first week on the job, new hires with onboarding buddies were 23% more satisfied with their overall onboarding experience compared to those without buddies. This trend continued at 90 days with a 36% increase in new employee satisfaction. Those with the buddies also reported that they receive more active support from both their managers and the internal team.
It’s not just the new hire who can benefit from this relationship. It also provides an opportunity to demonstrate and develop managerial and leadership skills which enables to gain a deeper level of expertise by serving an onboarding buddy. Ultimately, Microsoft found that successful onboarding doesn’t require an over complicated playbook. It is more important to have a multi-dimensional onboarding plan in place and support new hires for achieving success.