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Why Every Canvanaut is Assigned a Buddy

Learn more about our buddying program to set every new Canvanaut up for success.

Can you think of someone who helped you on the first day of a new job? Someone who showed you the ropes, provided some useful background knowledge or even someone who just made you feel really welcome from start?

This important period of connection and support during the initial stages of starting a new job can make a huge difference to onboarding and overall culture and morale. The research backs this up, indicating that navigating and fitting into a new workplace culture is one of the biggest hurdles newbies across every industry face. To help solve this, we launched the Canva Buddying Program which pairs every new starter with a tenured Canvanaut for the first three months of their journey.

Buddies at Canva

We know that the first few weeks of any new job can be some of the most exciting and most challenging times in an individual’s career. That’s why each new team member (affectionately known as newbies) is assigned a coach (our term for managers) and a buddy to help navigate the initial transition and beyond.

Buddies at Canva, together with the coaches, help newbies navigate our culture and ways of working while settling into Canva. We like to think of buddies as cultural tour guides who can support with everything from task-related feedback and context sharing, through to the best clubs to join (hint: #ice-cream-club) or where to find information in the first few months. While the buddying period might ‘officially’ be a period of three months, we’ve seen many people develop long-lasting friendships that extend far beyond the initial program.

Two Canvanauts sit at a desk talking and smiling

Buddy catch up

The role of a Buddy

At Canva, our coaches are ultimately responsible for the growth and performance of their newbies. A buddy, on the other hand, acts as more of a guide for newbies, helping them to get across Canva context, craft specific knowledge and to build their network.

To help facilitate this, newbies have regular catch ups with their buddy (usually weekly in the first month, and fortnightly thereafter). These catch ups provide a great opportunity to run through questions, share context and to have a general chat about how things are going.

Buddies can also help connect or direct newbies to people, social clubs, activities and information about different events happening at Canva. Canva Clubs are a huge part of our culture and provide the perfect opportunity to meet new people with similar interests, (or to try something completely new!) We now have hundreds of clubs at Canva, from Soccer Club, to Gin Club or Music Club. Do you love bonsai? Yep, there’s a club for that too.

Squash Club

Tips for a new buddy relationship

Buddies play an essential role in sharing context and providing support throughout the first few months. As a newbie (either at Canva, or in any company), don’t be afraid to reach out if you’re feeling overwhelmed. It’s important to ask questions (even if you think it sounds silly, it’s very unlikely to be!) to really get the most out of a buddying relationship.

On the flipside, if you’re buddying up with a newbie, consider exploring things like:

  • How the company works day to day (regular cadences, operating rhythm, when lunch, etc)
  • The company values and how they can bring these to life
  • Any processes, tools or systems they should know about as part of their role

But most importantly, remember to make time for celebrating achievements and milestones together! Celebrating has become a really important part of Canva’s culture, and we make a conscious effort to regularly pause for a moment, reflect on our progress and celebrate our achievements. As a buddy, it’s important to celebrate your newbie’s onboarding journey and key milestones, particularly in the first few months.

Some of our team releasing doves on the rooftop to celebrate the launch of Canva Pro

Buddying is an incredibly important part of the newbie journey at Canva, and is an important responsibility both for our buddies and each of our newbies. If you don’t already have a buddying program in your team, we hope this has provided some helpful insight into the lessons we’ve learned at Canva, and some of the factors we feel are important to empowering new starters from their very first day.

You can read about why we value strong, human relationships here(opens in a new tab or window).