How to be a good buddy
When a new joiner starts on GOV.UK, it’s good practice for the team they are joining to assign them a “buddy” to help them get started on GOV.UK, explain it’s infrastructure and provide initial support.
What is a buddy?
A buddy acts as a temporary guide for new joiners. It’s an informal role and their responsibilities include:
- explaining how our stack works
- pointing the new joiner to useful docs/slack channels/general resources
- being on hand to answer specific questions
- generally making them feel welcome
Ideally, a buddy will be in the same team and sit within the same function as the new joiner eg: a new frontend developer would have a frontend buddy.
How does a buddy differ from a line manager?
Line managers aren’t the same as buddies in that they…
- might not always be on the same team or even the same programme
- are focused more on personal stuff like objectives and working patterns
- handle general admin and HR processes
Advice on being an effective buddy
- Make sure that our new joiner documentation is up to date before they start
- Schedule catchups with them in their first week or two, to talk through things like our stack and our tooling
- Make them aware of our starter documentation such as our getting started guide
- Check in semi-regularly to make it clear that you’re available if they need help with anything
- Let your team know that you’re acting as a new joiner’s buddy so your capacity might be reduced
- Consider having a handover discussion after the first month to check how the new joiner found onboarding, then feed that feedback into our general onboarding process
There’s no official end date for being a buddy. It is up to you and the new joiner to continue checking in for as long as you both feel it’s useful.