Every New Employee Needs an Onboarding “Buddy”.

Bringing a new employee onboard is both an exciting and stressful time. And while managers play a critical role in shaping a new employees’ first weeks and months, a broader team effort can ensure the experience is both positive and productive.

Over the last few years, Microsoft has been working to improve its onboarding process. At the outset, we learned that a seemingly simple action — managers having one-on-one meetings with their new hires during their first week on the job — has outsized benefits. Through our continued research, we’ve also come to another conclusion: Onboarding buddies play an important role in ensuring a successful onboarding experience. While this may seem obvious, much like our findings on one-on-ones, it’s often missing in a new employee’s introduction to a brand-new company. After piloting a buddy program involving 600 employees across the organization, we found that onboarding buddies help our hires in three key ways: Onboarding buddies provide context, Onboarding buddies boost productivity, Onboarding buddies improve new employee satisfaction.

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