Who’s Your Buddy?

This summer I celebrated three years as a Consultant at Morrison – time sure does fly! I still remember those first days, week, month(s) jitters. Morrison, then operating as Morrison & Company (Hey! Did you know we’ve experienced some rebranding? No? Well, be sure to check out the newsletter that talks about it!), was a tightknit group of 10 and I was the new kid on the block. I was quite intimidated to join this team and company, but Morrison had recently added a new aspect to their onboarding process (I was the guinea pig) and it really helped alleviate my anxieties! Carissa Rystrom, a former grant writer at Morrison, developed and implemented what we call the Buddy Program.

Here are the basics:

  • Each newly hired Consultant (Pal) is paired with another Consultant (Buddy) for one year to support their continuous career. If the pair wishes to continue, they may do so beyond one year.
  • The relationship is meant to focus on the goals and development of the Pal; not the Buddy.
  • Buddies provide a sounding board, feedback, and assistance while they work at Morrison.
  • The relationship between the Pal and the Buddy is not the same as a team member and their boss. They are very different.
  • Buddies and Pals are equals. Pals are not considered less experienced, younger, undeveloped, etc. What makes them a Pal is that this relationship is about them and their ideas/aspirations/challenges/hopes at Morrison.
  • A Buddy is an additional resource to the Pal’s Supervisor/Project Manager, peers, and self-identified mentors.

Once a quarter the Buddy and Pal commit to meeting, whether that is for a mid-morning pick me up at a coffee shop, going out for lunch, or a happy hour cocktail. That time is meant to facilitate good conversation that provides a channel for sharing information with the Pal and answering any questions. It is important to build trust, therefore the content of these meetings are not shared with other members of the team.

Does your organization have an onboarding process? If the answer is yes, that’s awesome! Keep up the good work. If the answer is no, maybe it is time to evaluate whether or not an onboarding process would be beneficial to your organization. Each company’s approach is different, but this investment can (and probably will) make a huge difference in the success of a new employee.

Fast forward three years and I now have the pleasure of being a Buddy to our newest hire, Jenna Christophersen. It is a joy to be on the other side of the Buddy Program and I look forward to helping Jenna settle into her role at Morrison as well as get to know her through our time together. I don’t take this responsibility lightly because I know how much I gained from my Buddy when I was a Pal.

If you’d like to learn more about implementing a similar program into your onboard process, check out this resource from the Project Management Institute.

About the Author
Janae Swartz is a consultant with Morrison, working primarily in our People Solutions practice. To get in touch with Janae, please find contact information for Morrison here.


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