Difference Between a Buddy and a Mentor

A buddy is not a mentor, manager or coach.

1. A mentoring program seeks to assist individuals with their development, both personally and professionally

2. A buddy program is solely involved with providing a one-point access to operationally necessary information. In essence, an individual’s development is not an expected output.

The role of a buddy must be distinguished from that of a manager or mentor. A mentor is someone, typically more experienced, who is involved with the all-around development of an individual in his or her organization on a professional and/or personal level.

A buddy is not asked to be the new employee’s mentor. The buddy is not responsible for the growth or development of the individual, and it is not part of the role of a buddy to take on such a responsibility. The buddy will not be assessed on his/her success as a buddy by whether or not the new employee develops as an individual during the three-month period. Although the buddy role may involve explaining some simple job-related issues or straightforward procedures, it is not the buddy’s job to replace formal training opportunities.

The buddy is not the new employee’s manager or supervisor. The buddy will not be held responsible for the new employee’s performance. Only the new employee’s manager or supervisor can resolve certain issues. Also, questions too detailed or specialized for a buddy to answer should be directed to the new employee’s supervisor or manager.

The Role of the Buddy

A “buddy” is someone who has worked at the ORGANIZATION for 2 to 3 years and is willing to commit a period of at least 1 month to help new employees understand the our organizational structure and operations; however, it is possible the buddy-employee relationship may continue for longer. By providing immediate access to operationally necessary information, a buddy accelerates the new employee's ability to deal with early confusing issues and becoming comfortable in the new work place. Questions about “normal protocol” in the organization, getting around the complex, finding the right people to go to for information, correct procedures, and learning what is “right” and “wrong” can easily be answered by a buddy. As a result, managers and supervisors should find that their interaction with new employees is less about low level, operational issues, and more about adding value to the organization.

Buddies will:

1. Provide new employees with a point of contact for general inquiries regarding day-to-day matters such as the location of forganizationities, information processing requirements, and relevant organization policies; and

2. Help new employees become comfortable in their new job by familiarizing them with the organizational structure and operations.

The Goals of the Buddy Program

By having a buddy, it is anticipated:

1. The new employee will feel more at home with the ORGANIZATION in a shorter period of time

2. Relatively straightforward queries regarding basic operational issues are dealt with in a timely and non-bureaucratic manner

3. The initial confusion and uncertainty faced by all new employees is lessened

4. Other orientation activities such as classroom and on-the-job training can be related to actual workplace activities

5. Our new employees have an opportunity to adjust in a supportive and risk-reduced environment

6. Manager/supervisor time with new employees is freed up to deal with added value issues

7. The new employee begins to add value more quickly, leading to increased confidence and self-esteem

Buddy Selection Criteria

1. Demonstrates high performance.

2. Is given time to be accessible to the new employee.

3. Is skilled in the new employee’s job.

4. Is proud of the organization.

5. Is a peer of the new employee

6. Has patience and good communication and interpersonal skills.

7. Volunteers to be a "buddy."

8. Is a positive role model (well regarded and accepted by current employees)

Buddy Responsibilities

1. Even before the employee has joined guide him about city/living arrangements and answer any query or concern employee might have regarding joining the company.

2. Be an informational resource for the new employee on policies, procedures, work rules, norms, etc.

3. Help socialize the new employee.

4. Assist in training the new employee.

5. Be a tour guide.

6. Identify resources.

7. Provide introductions.

What a New Employee Expects from his or her Buddy

1. General advice.

2. Guidance.

3. Encouragement.

4. Positive attitude from the buddy.

5. Shared information is kept confidential.

6. Honest feedback.

7. Clear information.

8. Help in understanding the culture of an organization and finding out how to get things done.

9. Assistance in building networks and insight into how to make them effective and productive.

Time Commitments for a Buddy

A buddy should aim to meet regularly for at least 30 minutes, once a week, during the new employee’s first month and at least once a month thereafter. Meetings should be used to discuss any non-urgent issues the new employee may have. It is recommended that such regular meetings be held during lunch or in another informal setting.

During the first few days, it may be reasonable to expect as many as 4 or 5 brief queries a day. These should soon taper down to one or two a day. After 2-3 months, the buddy may hear little or nothing from the new employee on a daily basis. By this time, the new employee may be more accustomed to the environment and the requirements of the job. If the buddy continues to get a large number of ‘urgent’ queries after the first month, then the Buddy Program is not working, and the buddy should speak to his/her supervisor.

Within the parameters above, it is expected that the buddy and the new employee will meet within working hours. Some buddies and new employees may agree to meet on a social basis, outside working hours. This is an entirely discretionary matter between the buddy and the new employee. It is up to buddies to indicate to the new employees how they feel about being contacted regarding work-related issues outside of working hours.

Termination of Relationship

The buddy relationship between the buddy and the new employee will be terminated when:

(a) Three months expire, or

(b) Either party requests it.

The buddy relationship operates under a “no-fault” termination mechanism. This means if either the buddy or the new employee so requests, the buddy relationship immediately ends. Reasons for termination of the buddy relationship will not be sought or proffered. No discussion will ensue. No blame will be apportioned.

The buddy’s relationship with the new employee should be open, positive, and supportive. Discussions between the buddy and the new employee should be confidential. It is not necessary for anyone else to know the details of discussions between the buddy and the new employee
12th March 2007 From India, Mumbai
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