Create Amazing Buddy and Mentor Programs
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Create Amazing Buddy and Mentor Programs

Article summary

Not surprisingly, new hires experience more job satisfaction and sales success when they work closely with experienced employees. You also benefit from this arrangement, as those same employees will ramp to quota faster, experience success sooner, and stay at your organization longer. (Fist pump.) It’s also a great way to  help your experienced employees stay aware of and own their company’s culture.

Understand the Difference: Buddy Versus Mentor

While buddy and mentor are often used interchangeably, they are distinct roles that serve different purposes. Both play a part in bringing new hires up to speed ASAP.





Not from the new hire’s team

From the new hire’s team, and in the same role


Act as an ambassador for organizational culture

Act as a role model for a particular job

Time commitment

30-60 min/week for 4 weeks

1-2 hours/week for 4-6 weeks

Buddies help new hires learn about company culture and make their first friends. They invite new hires to company events, lunches, coffee, and get-togethers … say, happy hour at a local watering hole, or professional networking events. Buddies are from different departments so they can help new hires develop connections across the company. That’s important. Buddies should expect to spend thirty to sixty minutes per week for four weeks with their assigned new hire.

By contrast, mentors are in the same department and in the same role as the new hire. Mentors help new hires learn about their specific job, and answer common questions about processes and team resources. Mentors work with new hires one-on-one, providing feedback and helping them score their calls. Incidentally, mentors are your third gate for deciding whether a new hire is a good fit (HR and you are the first and second gates). The time commitment should be one to two hours per week for four to six weeks. 

Kick off Your Buddy/Mentor Program

Here are the basics for setting up a successful buddy or mentor program:

  • Prepare up front.

    Assign buddies and mentors one to two weeks before new hires start their jobs. Make sure they understand the differences between being a mentor versus a buddy. They should be very clear on their roles and responsibilities and set aside the appropriate amount of time in their calendars.

  • Use communication tools that scale.

    This is very important. If you set up a program that can only handle 10 new hires at a time, you’re going to be lost when there are 15 new hires coming in. Use separate Slack channels, for example, to send mentors and buddies information that applies to each group. You can have a large number of people on these channels. Have buddies and mentors plan events there and share relevant ideas.

Check in often.

Take time to connect with your buddies, mentors, and new hires on a regular basis to ask how the program is going. Incorporate their feedback. There’s no point in setting up a program if you don’t plan to monitor it and tweak it according to its users’ needs.

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