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Buddy Program

Orientation and retention are all about making new employees feel at home. Along the way, that also means helping them understand our organizational culture and environment. 

The Buddy Program matches new employees with employees who have been with the university for 1 year or more, for a period of three months. It provides new employees with a reliable, motivated, single point-of-contact for their basic questions regarding their work experience at UTHSC. The aim of this program is to target two goals: To provide the new employee with a point of contact for general queries regarding day-today operational issues, [such as the location of facilities, information processing requirements and relevant company policies] and to help the new employee integrate with the university by providing access to someone who is familiar with our culture, attitude and expectations.


  • Build on the knowledge obtained in the New Employee Orientation and department orientation
  • Enable new employees to become knowledgeable about department practices and organizational culture in a shorter period
  • Ensure that routine queries regarding basic operational issues are dealt with expeditiously
  •  Reduce the initial confusion and uncertainty faced by all new employees
  • Maximize the productivity of manager/new employee meetings by allowing them to focus on job-specific issues
  • Increase the new employee’s self-confidence allowing him/her/them to focus on adding value to the organization


  • Replace the supervisor/manager’s role or take on any supervisory or lead duties
  • Act as the “go-to” person re: assignments, business decisions, etc.
  • Provide training and or assess performance
  • Act as a career mentor or job coach


The role of a Buddy must be distinguished from that of a manager, mentor or coach:  You are not being asked to act as your new employee's manager, mentor or coach - you are not responsible for their growth or development as an individual, and it is not part of the role of a Buddy to take on such a responsibility. You will not be assessed on your success as a Buddy by whether or not the new employee you work with develops as an individual during the three-month period.

If you feel your new employee’s queries are too detailed or specialized for you to answer, direct them to their supervisor or manager.  If queries arise regarding performance, disciplinary or policy matters, while you are free to give your opinion, and advice on how to approach the matter, you are not in a position to adjudicate or resolve the matter. The new employee must be directed to their manager/supervisor and/or the Office of Human Resources for resolution of the relevant issue(s).

Having a Buddy is a Win/Win/Win Scenario. This program offers significant benefits to the new employee, the buddy, and UTHSC:

Buddy Benefits New Employee Benefits UTHSC Benefits
Recognition as strong performer   One-on-one assistance Increased employee motivation and retention
 Expanded network  Jump-start on networking   Increased employee communication
Opportunity to motivate others   Single point-of-contact   Enhanced employee development
A fresh perspective  Knowledge of "how things really get done"   Shared quality work processes
 Enhanced leadership and mentoring skills  A smoother acclimation period   Increased employee productivity

Apply to be a UTHSC Buddy

Process: Buddies can volunteer, or department managers/directors/chairs can recommend staff members to be part of program. Minimum requirement is 1 year of service and in good standing based on performance review and no PIP in place. HR will reach out to individuals after application submission or recommendation to give further details and register individual for buddy training. Based on number of proposed buddies will dictate how often the need for buddy training at most every 3 months.

Duration: 3 Months; Buddies may choose to continue relationship after 3 months. At any juncture if buddy or new employee is not finding the relationship mutually beneficial or there is conflict, they will need to contact HR to dissolve pairing.

Training: Buddy will be provided training upon acceptance into program.

Buddy Training Video

Example of Buddy Workflow
Month One
  • Meet weekly for 30 minutes to 1 hour in person or over the phone, i.e. over breakfast or lunch, if possible
  • Agree on best times and method of communication
  • Learn about each other’s background, experience, interests, etc.
  • Decide on the most important and relevant things to cover (i.e. processes, contacts, resources)
  • Respond to any immediate question’s the employee may have
  • Introduce the employee to individuals he/she may be collaborating with in the future
  • Be available for phone conversations and emails
Month Two
  • Continue to meet weekly or bi-weekly (mix of in-person and by phone)
  • Continue to be available for phone conversations and emails
  • Ask if they have any queries or issues, and deal with them
  • Invite employee to relevant UTHSC business or social events
Month Three
  • Continue to meet weekly or bi-weekly (mix of in-person and by phone)
  • Continue to be available for phone conversations and emails
  •  Have a wrap-up with employee and HR (evaluations)
  • Decide if and how to continue the Buddy relationship


If you have any questions please contact

Jul 25, 2022