The idea behind Social Buddy program in Dinex is to help every new employee feel welcomed and connected during their first months on the job. Being unsure what lies behind each door and feeling that people around speak a secret language filled with many abbreviations, makes it tough being a new employee in a new country. What is "normal" in the organization – what is "right" and "wrong" – what is expected of you – what is the company’s culture? Not knowing the answers to these and similar questions makes every new employee feel like an "outsider" - at least for a while. This is where a Social Buddy should step in and ensure faster integration and help create a feeling of safe and happy work environment.

Welcoming Global Talents

Smooth employee onboarding process is extremely important when welcoming our new employees to Dinex, however, welcoming international employees onboard adds additional dimensions to the process. We are not only welcoming them to Dinex – we are also welcoming them to a new country and a new culture. We wish our new international employees to feel at home as soon as it is possible and therefore Dinex HQ, based in Denmark, together with other 18 companies have joined the project Moving Global Talent that helps companies in Southern Denmark to find, onboard and retain the international talents. Together we are working on methods for onboarding international employees and sharing best practice.
The collaboration has also proven to have a positive impact on our Social Buddy program for international employees.

Social connectedness

From the very beginning of creating the program, it was clear that we see a role of Social Buddy in Dinex as social connector to the colleagues, Dinex' as well Denmark’s culture. A Social Buddy is not expected to replace direct superior's role in the process of onboarding a new employee not colleagues, but to provide support and guidance on collegial aspects, daily life and culture of the company and make sure that new employee has a good start.

Matching the right personalities

In Autumn 2020, we had invited employees in Dinex HQ to join the Social Buddy program. Having a Social Buddy community allows us to assign the buddies based on personality and work match. This leads to a smoother and more successful experience for both the buddy and the new employee.

Pilot test at the HQ

Our first pilot test of the program started in November 2020. Calibration & Controls Specialist, Magendran Padmanaban, from India was new to Dinex and to Denmark and this was a perfect scenario for a very first try of Dinex Social Buddy program. Senior Test Center Coordinator, Steffen O. Steffensen, was defined as a match for the Social Buddy role for the pilot test. Steffen has spent 4 years in Dinex China and could reflect on many questions, comments, and doubts Magendran had as a newcomer. Several months have passed and both Magendran and Steffen have gladly accepted to share their experiences.

Magendran - New employee

What have you personally gained of the Social Buddy program?

The Social Buddy has given me a strong base, feeling of stability and healthy working environment to start with, while being new to organization, work culture and finally country. In my opinion, this is an Ice breaker which also connects new employees to the Danish working style.

The program benefited me highly professionally and personally when I was facing new challenges.

What would you have been missing if you were not a part of this program?

If not this program, my process of establishing in the new conditions would have become more uncomfortable. People are busy with their daily work tasks and does not always have the time.

The unwritten rules of the Danish work culture would still have been unknown as well as the strange dark humor would still be mysterious.

What difference has the program made for you?

The program gave me a chance to exchange experience in working with different cultures, taught me how to connect with people around me and go the extra mile. It has provided a QuickStart and given confidence in approaching people in a right way (The Danish way).

Do you have any suggestions for future Buddies?

Honestly, it is a good initiative, working from home has made it a bit challenging, but it still worked fine. I suggest planning weekly or monthly talks besides the sporadic daily chats as well as socialization outside office, when possible.

Steffen - Social Buddy

What have you personally gained of the Social Buddy program?

Personally, being Social Buddy, has given me a great opportunity to develop my interpersonal skills. It has also been an eye-opener for me and made me focus more on cultural self-awareness. There are many things that we take for granted. Being new at workplace as well as in the country is not easy.

What do you think Dinex gains out of the program?

Smoother onboarding experience for the new employees. Having Social Buddy program up and running and having a single point of contact provides a feeling of safety and stability for the newcomers.

What would you recommend to your colleagues who would like to become a Social Buddy in Dinex?

First, one should have a natural interest in other cultures and be ready to blend work and life balance a little more than we are used to in Denmark. In case of new international employees, we should dedicate some time outside work hours as well and introduce them to a Social life in Denmark.

What are your ideas for activities that you would like to do as a Buddy in the future?

Unfortunately, local restrictions related to Covid-19, limited my opportunities as Social Buddy. Face to face meetings were replaced by online meetings and I was not able to arrange some social arrangements after work, but I am hoping to do so in the nearest future when situation permits. Some among many other ideas for activities would be to invite my new colleague for a dinner with my family, show the Danish family life and to go for sightseeing and visiting some famous local places of attraction.