Jacqueline Hochheiser, Corporate Communications
We’re all familiar with those first day jitters that comes with starting a new job. The ‘new kid on the block’ feeling of being out of place and acclimating to an entirely new routine, community and physical space is something many face when transitioning to a new role, but what if this convention didn’t have to be so stressful? With the support of leadership, Bridget McCarthy (Director of Learning & Development) and Phil DeCocco (Global Vice President of Human Resources) as the executive sponsor, a new Buddy Brigade program is now an integral part of the onboarding process. The Buddy Brigade will help new members not only feel more comfortable, but jumpstart their success with the company within their roles and socially with their peers.
Although the concept behind the Buddy Brigade is nothing new to the general work place, it is new to Mini-Circuits and aims to alleviate feelings of anxiety and trepidation upon starting a new job. The program will also encourage a sense of belonging and make assimilation to both their task and the community more seamless. This method will increase retention, support better productivity at the start of each new hire’s tenure, as well as serve to help them navigate a new environment and new community effectively. Namely, buddies will help their new members to learn and harness Mini-Circuits guiding principles and unique culture that have been staples of the company for over 50 years.
The Buddy Brigade functions just as it sounds, each new recruit is assigned a ‘buddy’ or a current Mini-Circuits team member that will be in close contact to help acclimate the new arrival to their role and environment. Buddies are assigned based on the recruits’ location, and will provide contact for the first 90 days of the recruits’ tenure. The buddy is responsible for scheduling regular meetings to check in with their new member to answer questions, familiarize them with Mini-Circuits processes, and of course help introduce recruits to their fellow team members and help them build personal networks.
However, the buddy is also responsible for acclimating the recruit to the environment outside of work. For example, the buddy could take the recruit to lunch in the local area and share unique places for meals or downtime. Ultimately, a buddy not only provides information for work related happenings, but also serves as a friend and confidant in the real world.
Although the program is still relatively new at Mini-Circuits, the company has paired a number of buddies and new recruits already, with many willing volunteers to take on the role of being a buddy. Not only has the company seen great turnout in terms of buddy volunteers, but has also received positive feedback from both the buddies and the recruits about the program and the success it has seen in making the recruits feel more at ease and to pick up the tricks of the trade more quickly.
As the figured head and major organizer of the program, director of learning and development, Bridget McCarthy, has been personally checking in with the buddies and their recruits to make sure the process has gone smoothly and to support the pairs in any way she can.
“Based on the feedback and the success I’ve seen with the program so far, it’s really made the buddies feel like they are a part of something bigger, and it’s great to see so much engagement from our facilities across the United States,” says McCarthy. “Each office is very unique with its own communities and members, so it’s always good to have the buddy be able to help the new hire physically and socially navigate.”
Many buddies and recruits expressed their gratitude for the opportunity to participate in a program like the Buddy Brigade and that it has positively affected both parties. New recruit Reinaldo Garcia, an RF Design Engineer working out of Mini-Circuits’ facility in Hialeah, Florida (MCFL) said, “I have had excellent support from my buddies. I got great guidance from William Kerri when I was working out of the New York office. Now Atharva Powale and I sit next to each other in the office in Hialeah, Florida and he is giving me excellent support. Atharva taught me about the processes involved with my job and introduced me to my teammates. We even shared time outside of the office and he gave me a few suggestions on some exciting places to spend free time in the city.”
Mike Hogan (Strategic Sourcing Manager at Mini-Circuits Headquarters), who served as a buddy for a new recruit said, “All has been going well! I met with Shelly in person for our follow-up meeting. We talked about general happenings and policies at Mini-Circuits and I helped her get caught up on things here.”
Atharva Powale (Design Engineer, MCFL) also weighed in on his experience as a buddy after moving from Mini-Circuits headquarters down to the company’s Florida location. “I connected well with Reinaldo, professionally and personally. The rest of my team is still in New York besides myself and Aaron Vaisman (LTCC Product Line Manager). I didn’t know many people here to talk and hang out with, but Reinaldo is a great addition to the team and a quick learner. We went out a couple of times after work to different restaurants and to explore Florida in general.”
Mini-Circuits has experienced a very healthy recruitment rate in 2023, and McCarthy feels fortunate that her biggest worry is finding enough buddies to pair with the recruits, despite the many willing volunteers.
“We’re fortunate to have so many new recruits and it’s an exciting time for the company. I want members to know that becoming a buddy is not an exclusive thing,” says McCarthy. “We want people who feel enthusiastic about the opportunity. At the end of the day, it’s more about finding people who feel that they represent Mini-Circuits well. That they are a cheerleader and an ambassador of our culture, and want to support the new hire’s journey.”
For McCarthy, the positive feedback and reception of the Buddy Brigade by new and veteran Mini-Circuits members alike makes all the effort behind each project worth it. The enthusiasm of all parties involved reinforces her mission as director of learning and development to make the wellbeing, success and happiness of Mini-Circuits members her priority.
In the same spirit, many new improvements and programs will become available to the Mini-Circuits community soon, all with the mission of making valuable resources and tools more accessible. Mini-Circuits and the learning and development team are constantly evolving and launching new programs, resources and tools that will help members succeed and make the most out of their careers with the company. The Buddy Brigade is just one example of a long list of positive accomplishments that have helped each team member evolve and grow.