If you need someone to consult with, Unicus is just a phone call away!
The concept of “Workbuddy”
As a newcomer to a project or workplace, it’s important to feel secure. At Unicus, we believe that a crucial part of this is knowing that there is always someone available to ask questions.
Something that has proven to work very well is the concept of ”WorkBuddy.” It means that all our consultants have a designated person at the client’s organization who serves as a support in their daily work in various ways. This person is closely connected to the organization and builds a trusting relationship with the consultant. They become someone to turn to for questions about tasks, priorities, and even inquiries like ”What was said in the meeting?” or ” Is it important to join the coffee break today?”
In many workplaces, there may already be a similar role referred to as a ”mentor” or ”buddy.”
Being a Workbuddy involves:
- It is a role where you will make a difference.
- You will have the opportunity to develop your leadership/coaching skills. You will learn a lot by gaining insight into our consultant’s perspective on various matters.
- You will learn more about the consultant’s strengths and challenges and how you can support them in the best possible way.
- You will respond to our consultant’s questions and check in on how they are doing. You don’t need to have answers to all the questions, and you don’t need to be available every day.
- You will coordinate with Unicus to provide updates on the progress of the assignment and any upcoming changes in tasks or in the team.
- You will have direct contact with Unicus to receive support and guidance.
We have gathered some tips for you as you become a Workbuddy. Your contact at Unicus will go through with you which ones we believe will be most helpful for you and our consultant.
Often, there are regular status meetings held daily or a few times per week. This is a great way to create a good foundation for our consultants. We have learned that these meetings can lay the groundwork for something very successful. However, there are a few important things to consider and do.
- Who will be attending the meeting?
- Who will be leading the meeting?
- What questions are expected to be answered (e.g., what have you done, what are you planning to do, have any issues arisen)?
- The order in which participants speak.
- If you are going through a backlog (or similar), show what a task looks like.
Other things to consider:
- Prior to the first meetings, help the consultant by going through together what they should bring up during the meeting.
- Agree with the consultant on how they should act if something is unclear during the meeting.
- Check-in after the meeting if there are any questions.
- Provide feedback after the meeting on whether the consultant addressed the right topics, said too little/too much, or any other observations.
If something doesn’t feel quite right
Sometimes, things happen that don’t feel quite right. It could be that the consultant is not following what you have agreed upon or doing something that goes against your policy. Often, this is due to misunderstandings or unspoken expectations. Things that may be obvious to you after working for a few years but are difficult to know for someone new to the job market.
Address such issues with the consultant (and your contact at Unicus) immediately.
For example, in the case of arriving late, don’t give extra chances to be kind. It becomes less clear and more difficult for our consultant to understand if it’s ”okay” to be late in the first week but not later.
No exceptions to rules
Do not make exceptions to the rules that apply at your workplace without first discussing them with your contact at Unicus. Especially not during the initial period or just to be ’kind’.
Often, there are ways to make adjustments and create conditions without having different rules for our consultant than those that apply to other employees (such as working hours, days to work from home, etc.). We will help you find what suits your needs and our consultant best.
Changing rules that only apply sometimes can make it more unclear and difficult to adhere to. Clarity is the best approach in the long run.
Always check with your contact at Unicus before agreeing to changes in working hours, working from home, or similar.
Especially in the beginning, our consultant may face challenges in getting started, bringing up topics in meetings, or asking for help. As the consultant becomes more integrated into the group and gets to know you and the tasks at hand, it will become easier.
During the first few weeks, check in multiple times per week the following:
- If there are there any questions
- If the consultant needs help
- What has the consultant done since the last check-in
If you have morning meetings or similar routines, these issues are often addressed during those times.
After a few weeks, it’s fine to switch to a weekly check-in. This can be done via email, chat, or over a coffee break. Just make sure to occasionally meet in person and have time to talk.
Help and ask questions to our consultant in meetings to assist them in getting involved. Also, ask follow-up questions if you feel the consultant isn’t sharing enough information. Especially in the beginning, it’s difficult to know what others find interesting, and there’s often a feeling of bringing up unnecessary or uninteresting matters.
Assistance with closure
We understand that many of our consultants struggle with determining the scope of a task and what counts as being ’done’. Below are some tools that we recommend you use, especially in the early stages of the assignment.
- Clearly define the task and specify your expectations regarding deliverables.
- If you want to be notified when the task is completed, let us know.
- Consider how long you think a task should take and communicate that to our consultant.
- By setting a time limit, you assist our consultant with understanding the scope. If it turns out that more time is needed, you can have a discussion about it.
- When approximately 50-75% of the allocated time has passed, check in to see how far the consultant has progressed. This gives you the opportunity to assess whether the task has been interpreted correctly and if it is progressing at the pace you anticipated.
In our world, only spoken expectations exist. You cannot assume that our consultant understands your expectations unless you communicate them. This may involve asking questions, seeking information, and making new contacts.
Our consultants can learn to do most things, but they need to know what is important to you. If you find yourself thinking, ’They should have understood,’ ’Why haven’t they done…,’ ’That is obvious…,’ it is likely an unspoken expectation that you have. This does not necessarily indicate a lack of competence or ability on the part of the consultant.
We are happy to help identify situations that may arise from unspoken expectations and provide coaching to our consultants on how to handle them.
Provide positive feedback!
In general, our consultants have slightly lower self-confidence than others. They are (unfortunately) often accustomed to receiving negative comments. Therefore, take the opportunity to give positive feedback as often as you can!