Romana guided new colleague Floor

Romana en Floor op de campus
An accessible and safe start
Romana Sijakovic & Floor Bos
Current role
Romana is Project Officer and Project Manager at Strategy Policy Development Department. Floor is Project Officer at Strategy Policy Development Department

As a new employee, she stepped into an unknown world. Nevertheless, Floor Bos quickly found her way within Radboud University. Thanks to colleague Romana Sijakovic, who acted as her buddy during the first weeks within the Human Resources (HR) division.

It seems like a small detail, but it made a big impression on Floor. 'A few weeks before my first day at work, I received an e-mail from Romana,' she recalls. 'In it, Romana asked how I was doing, if I had had a nice summer and if we could call to discuss my first week at work. The timing of that email was important to me, because at that time my application process had already been a while ago. The positive approach of that email made me feel very welcome and immediately made me want to get back to work.'

Romana en Floor op de campus

Motivation and energy

At the same time, Floor's future colleagues in the Strategy, Policy & Development department were also eagerly awaiting her arrival. "We were happy that she was finally going to start with us," Romana explains. 'It was important for both us and Floor that she would make a positive start with us and quickly start to feel at home. We thought a good start was necessary: it sets the tone and ensures the maintenance of the right motivation and energy. Because Floor was going to be doing the same job as me as a project employee, our manager asked me if I wanted to help her on her way.'

Quiet build-up

However, the role of buddy was new to Romana. 'Of course, I had already regularly helped colleagues with various tasks. But training a new colleague and being a source of information from the start is something I had never done before. It was true that on Floor's first day at work, another new team member started with us, who was supervised by a colleague of mine. That colleague and I drew up a program for Floor and the other new team member in advance. The emphasis was on a calm build-up: not offering everything at once, but in different phases. For example, the first Monday was all about: taking care of the department and starting it up quietly, explaining the department, having an extensive lunch, letting them taste the atmosphere, picking up and installing the laptop.'

Floor adds: 'In the days that followed, I scheduled introductory meetings with the other colleagues in the department and took the time to get to know them. Romana acted as my point of contact in the first few weeks. That was very pleasant: I could go to her with all kinds of questions, including questions that arose from ignorance. In doing so, she provided an accessible and safe start for me. In addition, Romana and other colleagues took the time to teach me certain actions, such as entering a quotation in the BASS system and creating an event in the online learning environment gROW. They patiently explained everything step by step.'

Time and space

The term 'patient' has already been mentioned, one of the three qualities that Romana and Floor believe are indispensable for a buddy. 'It is also important that a buddy is helpful and has an open attitude, so that you can always turn to them,' Floor adds. 'Fortunately, I have experienced all these qualities with Romana.' The latter also emphasizes the role of the manager. 'Being a buddy is not rocket science. In order to guide a new colleague attentively, it is important that you are given enough time and space to do so. For example, the good agreements within our team made it possible for me to block time in my agenda for a number of weeks to supervise Floor. This requires some coordination in advance, but in the end, as a team - just like we did with Floor - you get a well-trained and motivated colleague in return.'

Want to know more about appointing a buddy for a new employee? 

Buddy for new employees