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The Buddy System

By Joey Havens

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An important part of our culture at HORNE is the buddy system. Unlike the crusty former St. Louis Cardinals Manager Whitey Herzog who once said, “I’m not buddy-buddy with my players. If they need a buddy, let them buy a dog,” we recognize that we need to give our people the friendship and help necessary to transition well into our organization. We assign a buddy to all of our new team members.    

This can be one of the most rewarding things one can do as a professional. I think we can all remember how awkward it is to be the new kid on the block. You can’t even remember everyone’s name. Everything seems such a steep learning curve at first. Nothing seems easy. A buddy transforms that stress into a positive experience of what it means to be part of your team.

This is a great opportunity to serve your firm, share your culture and increase your ability to retain great team members. It’s those first few days, weeks and months that leave a lasting impression on what type of team we are. So please, take this role seriously and volunteer to be someone’s buddy soon. 
A great buddy will be very proactive in introducing themselves and checking up on our new team member daily. Sometimes an email, telephone call, or face-to-face visit just to touch base is in order. Certainly we want to provide a little more attention during those scary first few weeks. Take them to lunch with a group so they can begin to network with other team members in a social setting.
What do you wish you knew early on? What would have helped you to get off to a faster start? Assign your new team members a buddy and make them feel welcome. Tell them stories that make clear your vision and culture. Listen to them with a compelling passion to understand. Be patient. When we take the time to discover the best in others, we somehow bring out the best in ourselves.