As organizations prioritize effective onboarding, the role of ONA has gained significant recognition. ONA's ability to identify informal leaders within an organization has proven instrumental in transforming the onboarding experience. By matching these informal leaders with new hires as buddies, organizations can expedite time-to-productivity, mitigate attrition risk, and elevate the overall employee experience. In this article, we will explore how ONA can optimize onboarding by harnessing the potential of informal leaders as buddies for new hires.

1.    Identifying Informal Leaders

ONA enables organizations to map the informal power structures and identify individuals who hold significant influence without formal leadership positions. These informal leaders possess deep knowledge, experience, and strong networks within the organization. By leveraging ONA insights, organizations can identify these individuals and tap into their expertise to support and guide new hires throughout their onboarding journey.

2.    Buddy Programs for Seamless Integration

Matching informal leaders with new hires as buddies fosters a sense of belonging and accelerates integration. Informal leaders can provide invaluable support, sharing insights, answering questions, and providing guidance on navigating the organizational landscape. By leveraging their knowledge and networks, buddies can help new hires overcome challenges, connect with key stakeholders, and navigate the unwritten rules of the organization, reducing time-to-productivity and enhancing the overall onboarding experience.

No alt text provided for this image

3.    Reducing Attrition Risk

Effective onboarding plays a vital role in reducing employee attrition. When new hires feel supported and connected from the start, they are more likely to stay engaged and committed to the organization. Informal leaders, as buddies, can offer a support system, helping new hires build relationships, find their place within the organization, and address any concerns or uncertainties. By proactively addressing the challenges faced during the onboarding process, organizations can minimize attrition risk and retain top talent. Research conducted by Cognitive Talent Solutions revealed that the employees who become disconnected from the company's organizational network have 21% higher attrition risk than those who are well connected. This is particularly relevant for new hires as they are starting to build their network within organization.

4.    Leveraging Networks for Learning and Development

Informal leaders possess extensive networks and diverse experiences, making them invaluable resources for learning and development. By pairing new hires with informal leader buddies, organizations provide access to a wealth of knowledge and opportunities for growth. Buddies can offer mentorship, introduce new hires to relevant contacts, and facilitate learning through informal channels. Leveraging these networks for learning and development accelerates the professional growth of new hires and enhances their long-term success within the organization.

5.    Enhancing Employee Experience

A positive onboarding experience sets the stage for long-term engagement and satisfaction. By leveraging ONA to identify informal leaders as buddies, organizations enhance the employee experience from day one. Buddies offer guidance, support, and a friendly face, creating a welcoming environment that fosters trust, connection, and engagement. This positive experience sets the foundation for a productive and fulfilling journey within the organization.


ONA has revolutionized onboarding by leveraging the power of informal leaders as buddies for new hires. By identifying and pairing informal leaders with new hires, organizations expedite time-to-productivity, reduce attrition risk, and enhance the overall employee experience. By tapping into the expertise, networks, and guidance of informal leaders, new hires receive valuable support and opportunities for growth. As organizations embrace the role of ONA in onboarding, they set the stage for successful integration, increased retention, and long-term success for both new hires and the organization as a whole.

Categories: Blog

Cognitive Talent Solutions

Cognitive Talent Solutions focuses its activity on Organizational Network Analysis (ONA) and Organizational Restructuring powered by AI. ONA allows you to visualize and analyze both formal and informal relationships that exist within your organization, enabling you to model a business strategy that effectively exchanges information and ideas to help your company thrive in a rapidly changing environment.