Guidance for buddies

What is a buddy?

A buddy is a member of staff who has volunteered to offer informal, friendly support to a new starter during their first few months at the University or in a new role. Often the buddy will be the first point of contact for the new starter to ask questions or raise informal queries about their work, how things are done at Brookes, where to find information, etc. They can also help the new member of staff widen their circle of contacts.

Buddies should be staff who have been at Brookes long enough to be able to provide reliable information. They should be at least the same grade as the new starter. They may be a member of the same Directorate or Faculty, or from another part of the University.

What is the role of a buddy?

The key task is to help facilitate a smooth induction by:

  • Making contact with the new starter, ideally in their first week
  • Taking the new starter for lunch or coffee in their first week
  • Ensuring that the new starter feels supported and knows where to find the necessary information for their role
  • Offering informal advice about Brookes, its policies and working practices, etc.
  • Being in regular contact with the new starter
  • Listening to new starter’s concerns - if they have any.

What is beyond the scope of the buddy's role?

A buddy is not the supervisor of the new staff member, so they should not give advice about contractual employment issues, the individual’s performance, substantive work issues, or PDR. These issues should be referred to the line manager.

A buddy is there to listen and provide informal support but not to offer in-depth coaching or guidance on specific work issues, which are more properly addressed by the line manager, HR, or other specialist sources.

Qualities of a good buddy

  • A good listener
  • Knowledgeable about Brookes, its policies, systems and processes
  • Knowledgeable about the new starter's role
  • Friendly and welcoming
  • Understands boundaries between an informal buddy role and a line manager’s role
  • Positive about Brookes
  • Reflects the Guiding Principles
  • Non-judgemental
  • Empathetic to the concerns of new starters
  • Patient
  • Practical
  • Helpful

Setting up buddying relationships

It is the line manager’s responsibility to find a buddy for the new starter. This should be done a few weeks before the new starter joins Brookes. This is a voluntary relationship: a buddy can choose whether they wish to take on this role and a new starter can decide whether or not to have a buddy. The new starter however should be offered the opportunity.

For most roles, it is appropriate to choose a buddy from the same Faculty or Directorate but for senior roles, it may be more appropriate to choose a buddy from another Faculty or Directorate.