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Professional Staff Senate Colleague Connection Program

What is a guide?

A guide is someone who has worked at Binghamton University for more than a year that partners with a new employee during his/her first couple months of employment. While primarily responsible for offering advice and guidance regarding the day-to-day aspects of working at Binghamton University, the guide may also offer encouragement and knowledge resources, as they help introduce the new employee to the Binghamton University culture.

Key characteristics of a guide include:

  • Communicator: A guide should encourage open communication. The guide should provide relevant information to the new employee and encourage a process of continued, self-directed learning.
  • Role Model: The guide should be a model employee and exemplify Binghamton University values.
  • Motivated: The guide should have a positive outlook on his/her work and use that perspective to help build self-confidence and loyalty in the new employee. The guide should lead by example.
  • Strong Performer: The guide can help guide the new employee in many situations based on his/her experience and knowledge obtained in the work environment.

Why have a guide?

The purpose of the PSS Colleague Connection Program is to help welcome employees and reaffirm their decision to join Binghamton University. It provides new employees with a reliable, motivated, single point-of-contact for their basic questions regarding their work experience at Binghamton University. It also helps establish orientation as a process, rather than a single learning event. Other advantages of having a guide include:

  • Build on the knowledge obtained in the New Employee Orientation and department orientation
  • Enable new employees to become knowledgeable about university practices and organizational culture in a shorter period
  • Ensure that routine queries regarding basic operational issues are dealt with expeditiously
  • Reduce the initial confusion and uncertainty faced by all new employees
  • Increase the new employee’s self-confidence allowing him/her to focus on adding value to the organization guide

Selection Process

  • Current employees who would like to volunteer to be a guide or new employees that would like to be assigned a guide will complete a form online.
  • Then, the guides and new employees will be matched and introduced via email by a representative of PSS.

What a Guide Is Not

A guide shall not be required to assume any of the following roles:

  • Mentor: Someone, typically more experienced, who is involved with the all-round development of an individual (personal and professional).
  • Manager: Someone responsible for the new employee's job performance. If queries arise regarding performance, disciplinary or policy matters, the guide is free to give his/her opinion and advice on how to approach the situation. However, he/she is not in a position to resolve the matter. The new employee must be directed to their manager for resolution of the relevant issue(s).

Guide Responsibilities

  • Contact and meet with the new employee
  • Establish a rapport with the new employee
  • Meet with the new employee at least once a month within her/his first six months and beyond
  • Act as an informational resource on policies and procedures
  • Help socialize the new employee to Binghamton University’s guidelines, norms, and culture
  • Answer general/routine questions
  • Make introductions
  • Ensure an open communication between the new employee and the guide, respecting confidentiality

Tips for Guides:

  • Don’t worry about being perceived as the expert. Focus your attention on the new employee.
  • Be patient: It takes time to develop a relationship. Don’t try to cover everything right away
  • Be positive: New employees will grow into their roles if given proper reinforcement
  • Don’t try to force a relationship
  • Try to identify the new employee’s personality and communication style and adapt accordingly
  • Don’t be judgmental. Simply offer feedback
  • Maintain a good attitude and a teaching spirit

Binghamton’s Professional Staff Senate New Employee guide program is based on the excellent work of New York University’s New Employee Onboarding: Buddy Guidelines

Last Updated: 2/3/17