Manager toolkit

How can buddying help my team?

Budding can be an effective way to support a new starter. Please find information below about what buddying is and how you could use it within your team.

What is buddying?

Buddying is an informal mentoring relationship between a new starter in your team and a more experienced, established team member. This is normally someone working in the same role as the new starter, although not always. This relationship provides a less formal sounding board for the new starter to ask questions about the role as they settle in, helps the new starter to understand the culture of the team and provides another level of support for the new starter in addition to their manager.

Why set up buddying schemes for young team members?

Guidance from Acas suggests that young people and school leavers may require more support when starting a new role. A buddy provides both professional and social support for a new starter. It is often suggested that the first 30 days of employment can have a huge impact on the retention of a staff member, so making sure that an individual feels welcome and supported is very important.

Debbie Tickle, recruitment manager at Lancashire Teaching Hospitals says:

‘Mentoring or buddying is an essential leadership skill which in addition to managing and motivating people, is important to help others learn, grow and become more effective in their jobs. Mentoring of new recruits in the organisation means they feel part of the team and are supported in their development and equipped to deliver the values based patient care we expect of all our staff.’

The benefits of buddying include:

  • giving new starters the opportunity to develop skills
  • developing the new starter to become more confident and to grow within their role and expertise
  • supporting the manager by providing an additional point of contact
  • having a positive impact on retention
  • increasing staff productivity through better engagement and job satisfaction (this can spread widely across the team).

A buddy can:

  • share their skills and knowledge
  • offer information and support, answering the simple questions a new starter may not feel confident to ask their manager
  • help to settle the new starter in socially, for example by inviting them to take lunch or breaks together and introducing them to members of other teams or departments
  • be a source of information about the organisation and share any unwritten rules in the team, department or organisation.