My buddy’s got my back: How to make a new hire comfortable

April 30, 2015

I hadn’t set foot in a proper office in more than two years before I started at Metis in March. People think the work at a new job is the daunting part. Those people are wrong. I enjoy my work. Even without traditional PR training, my content specialist role came with the chance to help men and women leading companies of all kinds pursue their dreams. I like that. The intimidating part for my buttoned-down, regular-brown-loafer-wearing self is becoming a part of a new community. Metis is a vibrant company. Everyone knows everyone else. They talk about significant others and family members with the kind of familiarity that suggests some intimacy. After two years working from home as a freelancer, I didn’t know any of that stuff. Like I said, the work, while challenging, wasn’t the hard part.

Then I met Ellen, “my buddy” at my new job. It sounds a bit goofy, I admit. We’re adults, at least between the hours of 8 a.m. and 6 p.m.  We shouldn’t need someone’s help getting by at work. I’m sure somewhere, there are plenty of guys in their late-20s who can walk into any office and become part of the community easily. That’s never been me.

Within a couple hours of my starting at Metis, though, Ellen made it clear she had my back. Questions about process or policy, she was my first move. Working with a client for the first time? Ellen had me covered with a detailed explanation of its business, likes, dislikes and history. I was a bit hesitant at first to reach out too often. That was a mistake. Welcoming new employees into a company isn’t about telling them how to work the elevator. For me, I needed help to get comfortable so I could progress toward our company’s stated goal of doing our best work ever. The buddy system did that. Ellen did that.

I’ve seen it help others at Metis, as well. Everyone here has a right-hand person assigned by the company. After-work drinks, a lunch or two during the month – it’s all designed to help professional, personal and social development. All three of those factor heavily into someone’s success in a new workplace. The latter two frequently go unnoticed entirely by too many companies.

Charging employees with each other’s progress does more than provide an easy avenue to ask questions. The buddy system helps employees take accountability for each other’s development. Ellen wants to do great work and serve Metis’ clients as effectively as possible. Helping me in my growth here is another way she can do that. Any program or policy a company can implement that compels staff to take interest in their co-workers will make it a better place to work.

I can see some thinking the buddy system is a bit unnecessary. However, even the U.S. Army uses it to instill teamwork, camaraderie and accountability in new soldiers. It’s the same idea at Metis. I learned quickly that Metis considers the success and growth of each employee an accomplishment for the company as a whole. We work together, and we take pride in each other’s achievements. It’s an important aspect of Metis’ company culture and values, and it’s helped me take a greater sense of ownership of my work and pride in every small success Metis experiences.

It’s been a little more than six weeks for me at Metis. I’ve come out of my shell a bit and gotten more comfortable with my work – and my workplace – every day. That would have happened eventually, but having a buddy made that process much faster – and easier.


Think Metis sounds like a place you’d like to work? Check out our careers page and find the position for you. 

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