Onboarding Buddy

The purpose of an “onboarding buddy” is to provide a friendly, peer-based connection between a new hire and an experienced Axelerant team member. The idea is to have someone in the new hire’s field ask questions, learn historical processes, escalate issues, and ensure the new hire’s questions are answered (even things like writing subject lines for emails). Within a new hire’s onboarding task list, many of these topics are addressed. Still, additional questions will inevitably bubble up that an onboarding buddy is best suited to answer.

Read this article by HBR which talks more about why Every new team member needs an Onboarding Buddy.

Who is an Onboarding Buddy?

Onboarding Buddy is the one who will be the first point of contact apart from team People Operations and Life Coach. The buddy will help the new hire feel comfortable and free to open up about their concerns and questions. We want the new hire to understand how we work at Axelerant and settle in their new team. The Onboarding Buddy will have a significant part to play and make them feel a part of the team and help them whenever they stumble upon any minor/ or major obstacles throughout the onboarding period.

An onboarding buddy typically has been with Axelerant for at least six months and is in a role similar to that of the new hire (developer with the developer, PM with PM, etc.). The buddy’s responsibility is to initiate conversations regularly with the assigned new hire and nurture a positive professional relationship that encourages questions and learning.

How do we select an Onboarding Buddy?

  • Check experience: An Onboarding Buddy typically has been with Axelerant for at least 6-8 months and is in a role similar to that of the new hire (developer with a developer, PM with PM, etc.).

  • Check availability, time, and interest: The Buddy should be available (check whether or not the potential buddy is on a long leave) for the month when the new hire is joining so that they can be approached by the new hire any time during their first month.

    • After checking their availability, we would ask them (not tell them), ask them if they are interested, and have the availability to take up the responsibilities of an Onboarding buddy.

  • Onboarding Buddy guide: This guide helps Onboarding Buddies know what is expected from them and needs more clarity on the role. They should contact their Performance Coach or Engagement Manager for better understanding of the role.

  • Inform People Ops team: the name of the Onboarding Buddy for the new hire.

What are the responsibilities of an “Onboarding Buddy”?

  • Reach out to the new team member on Day1.

  • Check-ins: set up regular 15-30 minute check-in meetings with your new hire on an as-needed basis

    • The basic frequency of these should be every day for 1st week,

    • Twice per week for the first month,

    • Once per week in the second month.

  • Facilitate Conversations: facilitate networking for your new hire during check-ins, and answer any questions that come up

  • Raise Challenges: pass along any notable issues, highlights, or questions to the onboarding manager to ensure they’re addressed for future hires.

  • Share timely feedback: Share timely feedback for the new joinee directly and on their onboarding channel to help them inculcate Axelerant values and our culture so that they are prepared to get assigned on Projects. If you’re not sure what to check for giving feedback, the following pointers can help:

    • How is it like working with them?

    • Are they enthusiastic about new assignments and learning new technologies/processes/culture?

    • Do they demonstrate Axelerant values in their work?

    • Have they been timely in communication and attending Buddy calls?

    • What are their strengths that you might have noticed in your Buddy conversations so far?

    • Any concerns that you’d like to share here?

    • Any other feedback that you’d like to give to them?

What are some key program tips?

  • Invite your new hire to any of the project meetings that you think might be helpful to have them observe

  • Put yourself in your new hire’s shoes—what important info do you wish you had known at that time? Please share it!

  • Conversation starters:

    • What have you been learning during your onboarding sessions with your manager?

    • In what areas do you feel strong/confident?

    • In what areas do you feel unsure?

    • How is your project going? Are you able to apply your onboarding learnings there?

  • Share some “pro-tips” with your new hire; these typically work shortcuts and tools that make life easier.

What are the responsibilities of the People Operations team?

  • Ask for suggestions from our Life Coach for Onboarding Buddy.

  • Inform the team member assigned as Onboarding Buddy and help them understand the role of a Buddy. 

  • Introduce the buddy with the new hire through Slack or schedule a Zoom call.

  • Follow-up/Check-in with the Buddy, check how the new hire feels and if any intervention from the Life Coach/Engagement Manager is required.

  • Ask for feedback from Onboarding Buddy at the end of the onboarding period

  • Follow up; to understand whether the Onboarding Buddy and new hire are in touch frequently, or if the new hire is facing any issues, intervene where necessary or direct it to the concerned person.

The initial message from People Ops

This message aims to provide a brief about what the Onboarding Buddy role entails, and what is expected from a team member accepting this role. This message should be shared by the People Ops team with the team member, being suggested as Buddy by the Director of respective svc.

Hello @Rajani Havannavar
We think that you would be a good onboarding buddy to team up with @Yashashree Bedekar as they're still getting their feet wet with Axelerant. @Yashashree Bedekar  has joined us today as Frontend Developer L1. Till the time they settle down and adjust to Axelerant's culture, working ways, @Yashashree Bedekar will inevitably have questions about best practices, workflows, values, culture, communication methods, etc., where you can help them out. People Ops team will always be available for a touchpoint as well!

This role requires your committment to meet your Buddy for a 15-30 mins touchpoint at last twice in a week for the first month (four weeks), and set-up a recurring meeting weekly meeting for the same. Then for the following month, please continue a once-a-week meeting for 15-30 minutes as well. Find a time slot that works for both of you and create a recurring meeting for the following four weeks. Beyond these eight weeks, you are both welcome to continue to meet if you find value and/or fun in doing so!

@Rajani Havannavar You can refer to this doc on confluence: Onboarding Buddy to understand this role in-depth, and I’ll wait for your response to know whether you’d like to take this role as an Onboarding Buddy for @Yashashree Bedekar .