How our buddies make you feel at home in your new role

25 January 2024

Two colleagues in a sensory room

Hear from our Head of HR, Andrea Stoddart, about our buddy programme and how it supports new colleagues to get the best possible start to their career with us.

You’ve applied online. You’ve nailed the interview. You’re looking forward to your first day – then you start thinking of questions … What’s the team like? When will I be able to call home on my break? What happens about lunch?

Starting a new job can be nerve wracking, with lots of unanswered questions!

That’s why we’ve got a team of buddies on hand to welcome our new colleagues.

They’ll show you the ropes and answer any questions you have, no matter how small or silly they might seem.

Especially if you haven’t worked in the care sector before, they’ll help you feel right at home from the start.

What is a buddy system?

A buddy system is an onboarding and knowledge sharing method used to welcome new colleagues and help them settle in.

Our buddies are existing experienced colleagues who’ll help you settle into your new role.

As a buddy, I’ll introduce you to the team and our residents, tell you more about what it’s like to work here and provide a friendly face during your first few weeks.

Ben, Exemplar Health Care buddy

How do buddies support new colleagues?

Think about how daunting it can be to start a new job.

Having a buddy will help you adjust to your new job, workplace and team, so you feel comfortable and connected from day one.

Our buddy programme includes a range of advice and support including:

  • a tour of the home
  • introductions to colleagues and the people you’ll be supporting
  • arrangements specific to the home such as annual leave, breaks, parking and public transport
  • shadow shifts
  • important procedures such as how to raise concerns, what to do in a fire and how to report faults
  • check ins on training
  • how to access our apps and systems.

“I became a buddy because I had a bad experience in a previous job, where I felt isolated and undervalued. I didn’t feel like I was part of the team and I spent most of my day watching the clock – which left me feeling anxious and having a poor outlook on life. I decided to become a buddy so that no one else experienced this.”

Susan, Exemplar Health Care buddy

When I work with Exemplar Health Care, can I become a buddy?

Once you become experienced in your role, you can become a buddy.

It’s a great opportunity to develop your skills and make a difference to the experience of our new colleagues.

You’ll also receive a £25 voucher for every new colleague you successfully induct.

To be eligible to become a buddy, you should:

  • have completed at least six months service and have passed probation
  • be in the same team as the new colleague
  • not be the new colleague’s line manager
  • have completed all mandatory and statutory training (MAST) and role specific training on ELMS
  • have a passion for learning and development.

You should also:

  • have great communication and listening skills
  • be enthusiastic and engaging
  • be a great role model, able to advise, support and teach colleagues
  • be patient and supportive
  • be knowledgeable about the home/workplace, team and role
  • be willing to take the time to help new colleagues.


What is the role of a buddy?

The buddy’s role is to provide informal support and guidance to new colleagues.

This may include, but is not limited to:

  • providing support and guidance in a friendly, confidential and non-judgemental manner
  • showing new colleagues around their home/working environment
  • accompanying new colleagues for lunch on their first day
  • introducing new colleagues to their team
  • helping new colleagues understand company/home/team routines, systems, policies and processes
  • answering day-to-day questions
  • sharing knowledge and experience
  • acting as a sounding board for ideas or problems.

Our buddy programme is part of a robust induction for new colleagues, including in care, nursing and therapy roles. Read more about our learning and development.