NEW Learning Partner Quick Guide to Success

ROLES & RESPONSIBILITIES – The employee’s first few days are filled with anxiety and uncertainty. The Learning Partner relationship allows the new employee to quickly connect to a peer while helping the employee become acquainted to the department and college in an informal capacity. The employee-learning partner relationship serves to accelerate the employee’s transition from that of an “outsider” to a full-functioning member of the department. This individual is a peer, akin to a “buddy” who will assist in the employee’s cultural integration. The learning partner provides insider assistance on procedures and workplace norms, thus decreasing the frustration that comes from learning through trial-and-error. The learning partner serves as a companion to whom the employee can ask questions without fear of retaliation or embarrassment. The learning partner should be open, positive and supportive. The relationship is informally structured and may be dissolved any time after the first 90 days.

The Learning Partner might provide:

  • Department tour
  • Introduction to co-workers
  • Assistance with office equipment
  • Assistance with location of services and people

Suggested Activities of Learning Partner:

  • Introduce employee to others in the department, perhaps providing a list of names and titles of co-workers
  • Tour college/department facilities, including meeting rooms, copier and mail rooms, break areas, restrooms and vending machines
  • Discuss:
    • Department structure
    • How all the jobs in the work unit fit together
    • How his/her job fits within the department
    • How the department fits within the college
  • Explain common acronyms and terms
  • Explain office customs such as how birthdays and special events might be recognized, office or departmental socials, informal network groups, etc.
  • Share insider hints like the title or names individuals prefer, always do “this,” or never do “that.”
  • Give a campus tour
  • Go to lunch

Possible Conversation Starters:

  • Why did you decide to work here?
  • Where did you grow up?
  • What are your hobbies and interests?
  • Have you seen any good movies lately?
  • What’s the most fascinating book you’ve read?
  • What would you like to know about the department and college?