For many of our new colleagues embarking on their first few months at Texas Children’s, learning to navigate such a large and diverse organization can seem an overwhelming and intimidating task – the kind of challenge made much easier when faced alongside their personal Texas Children’s Buddy, the friendly team member assigned to offer them support and reassurance from the very beginning of their journey.
The Texas Children’s Buddy Experience begins when hiring leaders assign as a Buddy a team member with great interpersonal skills who is knowledgeable about their unit or department, well regarded by their peers, committed to living out and modeling the organization’s core values, and willing to amplify unity by helping to make a new colleague’s onboarding process more positive.
After the new colleague completes Texas Children’s Hi orientation, they meet their Buddy for the first time and begin forging what is often a meaningful and fulfilling relationship for them both. The Buddy becomes their new colleague’s go-to person for insider insights and advice about everything from settling in with their new team members and finding their way on campus, to the best places to grab a bite, rent an apartment or buy scrubs.
To help them better understand the important role they will play for their new colleague, Texas Children’s Buddies have access to numerous resources – including a Buddy Handbook, Buddy Checklist and frequently asked questions all available on the newly created Buddy Resources page on Connect. Buddies and hiring leaders also receive their new colleague’s “My Favorite Things” questionnaire, an addition to the Buddy Experience this quarter that asks new hires to provide responses to lighthearted questions about their likes and interests.
“My Buddy was always very positive and happy. She answered all the questions I had,” one recent hire said in response to a Buddy Experience assessment survey administered by Human Resources. “She reflects Texas Children’s values and definitely made me feel at home. She was always very open and receptive.”
The benefits of the Buddy Experience extend beyond simply providing a new colleague with a sounding board and lunch companion. Research shows that in giving newly hired employees a way to more quickly foster connections with their colleagues, workplaces with buddy programs also see improvements in engagement and retention. A Gallup study completed in 2013 found that buddy programs can reduce turnover by more than 23 percent, and fully 50 percent of employees said they had a strong connection with their organization because they had a best friend at work.
And if comments from our newly hired colleagues and early Human Resources hiring data are any indication, that positive trend is likely to continue at Texas Children’s through our own Buddy Experience. Survey respondents praised their Buddies for being “just awesome” and “exceptionally welcoming from the start,” making them “feel like part of the team,” and displaying “nothing but kindness and goodwill to help me get acclimated.”
“My Buddy helped me get adjusted,” said one recently hired colleague. “They made sure I had and knew everything I needed in order to be successful.”
Are you serving as a Buddy or do you have a Buddy at Texas Children’s? Share your special moments on social media using the hashtags #MyTexasChildrensBuddy, #TexasChildrensPeople and #AmplifyUnity.