Experts Warn Against Relying Solely on the Buddy System for Training

The buddy system is a method of training where two individuals are paired up to work together, usually with the more experienced person guiding and teaching. While the buddy system can have some benefits, such as providing social support and a sense of accountability, it is not always the most effective or efficient way to train individuals.

“One of the potential problems with the buddy system is that the more experienced person may not be a good teacher. Just because someone is skilled or knowledgeable in a particular area does not mean they can effectively communicate and teach that knowledge to others. This can lead to frustration and ineffective training for the less experienced person”. Kevin Ramdas. Ph.D.

RELATED ARTICLE: About Kevin Ramdas, Ph.D.

The buddy system can sometimes create a dependency between the two individuals, where the less experienced person relies too heavily on the more experienced person for guidance and may struggle when working independently. This can be detrimental to the development of the less experienced person’s skills and can limit their ability to grow and learn on their own.

It is important to consider the individual needs and abilities of all involved to ensure an effective training method. Start with a structured training from a qualified trainer and incorporate a variety of training methods to ensure comprehensive and effective skill development.

What are the potential problems with the buddy system that can make it less effective or even counterproductive?

What are the potential problems with the buddy system that can make it less effective or even counterproductive?

Assuming prior knowledge is a common issue, and it can create frustration and confusion for the less experienced person. The more experienced buddy may unintentionally skip over important foundational concepts, or use jargon that is not understood, leading to a breakdown in communication and learning.

Drain on productivity if the more experienced person is pulled away from their own work to train, creating a bottleneck in the workflow and reduce overall productivity.

Communication is challenging if there is not a shared language or culture between the buddies. Significant differences in communication styles, values, or backgrounds, creates misunderstandings and makes it difficult to effectively train and learn.

Significant business risk. Relying on one person to train all of the company’s employees is a significant risk for the business. If that person leaves the company, it can leave a significant gap in the company’s knowledge and expertise. This can lead to several issues, such as loss of institutional knowledge, and increased risk of errors or mistakes. It will also make it difficult for the company to recruit and train new employees. There also, may not be a clear process or system in place for training and development.

How to mitigate risk ?

Companies need structured and formalized training and development programs in place, be developing clear job descriptions, documenting processes and procedures, developing a clear training roadmap, and providing ongoing training and support to all employees. It can also involve cross-training and knowledge sharing among team members to ensure that there are multiple people who can perform critical tasks and functions, reducing the risk of dependency on one person.

By spreading the responsibility for training and development across multiple people and creating a more comprehensive training program, companies can avoid bottlenecks and support faster growth and development for their employees and the business as a whole.

“Having a more formalized and structured training and development program can help companies to mitigate the risk of losing key personnel, improve productivity, and support ongoing growth and development for all employees”. Kevin Ramdas. Ph.D.

Overall, while the buddy system and relying on one person for training can have some benefits, it’s important to consider the potential bottlenecks and implement a more structured and comprehensive training program to support ongoing growth and development for the company.


TelecomTRAIN, Inc. has been providing technical skills training to the telecom industry for almost 20 years. We can help turn your workforce into telecom experts through various modes of online, on-demand, virtual instructor-led, and in-person training. Visit the TelecomTRAIN website for information on technical courses, free webinars, events and other thought leadership activities.