Onboarding and new in the job: observe unwritten rules

Work better, information as desired! We give you the information you really need and are committed to a better and more ecological working environment. When Book Publisher Best of HR – Berufebilder.de® with Unique Book Concept and eCourses we offer over 20 years of experience in Corporate Publishing - with Clients like Samsung, Otto, Governmental Institutions. Publisher Simone Janson also heads the Institute Berufebilder Yourweb, which awards scholarships, for example, and belongs one of the top 10 female German bloggers, referenced in ARD, FAZ, ZEIT, WELT, Wikipedia .
Text comes from: Kommen, um zu bleiben - Systemisches Handgepäck für erfolgreiches Onboarding (2020) from Helga Brüggemann, published by Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, Reprints by friendly permission of the publisher.
Copyright:  Artwork created as part of a free collaboration with Shutterstock.

How does onboarding work? In the hiring process, a lot is discussed and everything is regulated. Unfortunately, a lot can go wrong if you don't follow the rules.

Best of HR – Berufebilder.de®

Here writes for you:


Helga Brüggemann is head of systemic consulting in Düsseldorf.


From the author:



New job: Also observe unwritten rules

A change from one Company to move to another is usually associated with an energy-intensive phase transition. To accept the uncertainty about future developments presupposes that the expected benefits are far higher

The former employer had a great deal of flexibility. The motto was to use common sense when there were things to be decided for which there were no guidelines. In the first few weeks after entering the company, it could feel like being thrown into cold water. Learning to do, try and experiment was the unspoken currency with which you were rewarded for your progress. If this employee changes to an unconventionally managed company of small to medium size, there is a high probability that he will not have to do too much adjustment work, as the control systems are expected to have a high degree of agreement. The starting point is completely different if the change is made to a large corporation.

A question of expectations

If this employee chooses a multinational company with a matrix structure, it doesn't take much imagination to imagine what expectations he will take on his new position. He is an experienced problem solver and has a lot of knowledge and skills. He would like to contribute all of this. The expectation in the room to receive recognition for this is unspoken. The new person may find the way processes are designed to be cumbersome, but they often do not seem to be debatable. The new one advocates, for example, the increased internal use of social media so that decisions are accelerated. If he suggests this, it is not unlikely that he will be faced with strict requirements for the use of Facetime, Googlezoom, Webex and the like. The new manager experiences similarly contradictory experiences again and again when she does what she is understood to do. It should bring a new impetus to the organization with a fresh outside view.

Tip: Text as PDF (please read the instructions!) Download or for a little more Book on the topic with discount or eCourse book. Actions or news via Newsletter!

In the first few weeks, she explored the processes and structures and identified a need for optimization with a high degree of probability. The self-initiated questioning as to why something is regulated in this way can already lead to resentment among superiors and employees. The new employee wants to meet the suspected, often unspoken, expectation of being able to question the control system as a lateral thinker. Often he is not aware of the fact that he is scratching the identity of the employees who identify with the company, as it has grown over the years, or he does not consider it relevant.

What are the rules in the contract?

There is a written contract. Depending on the mindset and premises of the company founders and the degree of organizational maturity, this contract is rather lavish or economical. The level of detail of the employment contract is revealing in relation to the expected control system. The more regulated in writing, the greater the need for control.

Pronounced and unspoken rules of the hiring company In a large company with a long tradition, it is likely that a sophisticated set of rules has developed over the years and that structures have developed. Many details are regulated, such as the travel expenses application, time recording, the bonus system, use and restrictions of use of the new media, promotion criteria, the interpretation of the data protection regulation, etc.

Rules create security when onboarding

These regulations provide orientation and create security when dealing with one another. They reduce complexity by restricting behavioral options and making them more predictable. A sophisticated set of rules is the company's answer to the challenge of giving employees orientation in an environment with changing requirements.

Example of conventional companies Dealing with data is a clear example. Once data has been published, it can no longer be retrieved. Which data is subject to special protection is often a matter of discretion. The top management task is to precisely determine which information is communicated to the outside world.

Tip: Text as PDF (please read the instructions!) Download or for a little more Book on the topic with discount or eCourse book. Actions or news via Newsletter!

The limits of social systems

Limits in social systems, such as restrictions on access or use, are what filters are for a lens. Filters can be fine-tuned according to the lighting conditions. They dose the incidence of light onto the lens. This regulatory function is found in social systems in the system boundaries. These are permeable in the sense that they filter which and how much information is passed and which is not.

Matthias Varga from Kibéd and Insa Sparrer describe the give and take principle as a systemic metaprinciple. It “ensures elasticity of the system's binding forces at every system level. In this way, it promotes the stability and adaptability of the system. (Too little exchange would freeze systems [...], too much would lead to diffusion of the system.) ”

What information is made available when?

Deciding which information is made available to whom and at what time is challenging and requires a lot of experience and tact. It is in the interest of the company to provide clear lines and guidelines for decisions, to avoid litigation or not to unnecessarily reduce the competitive advantage over competitors. On the one hand, cooperation across company boundaries is essential to maintain the company's innovative potential.

It takes an exchange with the environment in order not to miss the connection and ensure impulses for the further development of the company. The higher the number of network partners involved outside the company and the higher the networking density, the more likely it is to find innovative solutions. At the same time, the research and development areas are sealed off from the outside world. Access restrictions in the real and digital world regulate the confidentiality of knowledge worth protecting.

Startups vs. conventional companies

Restrictive rules for the use of video conferencing, Twitter, Whatsapp, Facebook etc. may seem old-fashioned, but against the background of the risks described, they are understandable and sensible. The strength of many large companies lies in their stable success and often decades of tradition, of which members of this organization are often proud. This tradition is seen as an identity-creating value. Protecting him is an expression of loyalty to the employer. If this strength is exaggerated, there is overregulation, which slows down work processes and in extreme cases freezes the company.

Tip: Text as PDF (please read the instructions!) Download or for a little more Book on the topic with discount or eCourse book. Actions or news via Newsletter!

The situation is often quite different in younger companies, which are characterized by a high degree of flexibility and speed in making decisions. The collective term New Work encompasses companies whose working methods are characterized by regulating only the most basic elements and giving employees as much freedom as possible.

How do the onboarding rules come about?

A set of rules is designed jointly and iteratively. Regular reflection loops identify redundant rules or those that have become dysfunctional. In retrospectives9, for example, suggestions are made to eliminate superfluous and dysfunctional rules or to replace them with functional rules. By consistently focusing on customer needs, an attempt is made to keep the overgrowth of the internal control system at bay.

These companies tend to be more risky than traditional ones. They have lower access thresholds and a higher degree of networking with the outside world. Few rules and requirements increase behavior options. More creativity is possible, and with it the complexity increases. To consciously accept this dynamic presupposes that you do not want to predict and control employee behavior. Companies with rules that grow iteratively rely on the power of self-organization. The complexity is high and cannot be managed with traditional management structures.

Share your own knowledge

In recent years, it has been common practice for top managers of traditional large companies to make a journey of discovery into Silicon Valley. The extent to which knowledge can be adapted after the trip and will have an impact on one's own culture is another matter.

Sharing your knowledge with others can become a corporate motto. Many unconventional companies see their organization as a social living system. This idea has noticeable and visible effects on the handling of information. Due to the expected positive interactions and the increase in awareness of the company, high permeability of the filters is lived and promoted by the company management. More and more unconventional companies open their doors and invite interested people to learn together with their employees.

Tip: Text as PDF (please read the instructions!) Download or for a little more Book on the topic with discount or eCourse book. Actions or news via Newsletter!

The Düsseldorf-based company Sipgate, for example, regularly invites to its own premises to train interested non-members of the organization together with their employees. Meetups of other initiators can also be held in the evening at sipgate:

“At some point we noticed that we were mostly stewing in our own juice. Unfortunately, you don't learn that much. The pool of knowledge and new ideas was limited. […] We decided to change that and have been holding the Lean DUS evening event since 2014. Every month we invite well-known speakers […]. We book an in-house workshop [...] and a public lecture each evening, as part of the Lean DUS «. 

The learning opportunities are enormous thanks to this exchange platform, which is jointly visited by internal and external parties. The work processes and special features of the corporate culture are also made transparent through regular tours. What used to be industrial espionage can become a new understanding of coevolution, as this example shows. If a company wants to learn from an unconventional company like sipgate, it is not uncommon for this company to be invited to sipgate's premises to learn with and from each other. Internationally, too, companies are looking for exchange among themselves.

More knowledge - PDF download, eCourse on demand or personal advice

Offline download: Download this text as PDF -  Read usage rights, Because we do not automatically submit the title of this text for privacy reasons: When buying in "interests" the title register if support is needed. After buying text exclusively Download at this URL (please save). Or for a little more directly an entire book or eCourse with this text buy, read on.

3,99 Book now

Read customer feedback and buy a book on this topic at a discount: Do you like this text and want to read more information about it? Buy the right book including this text, buy it here in two languages, as a member even with a 20 percent discount. Would you like to take a look at the book first? You can do this by previewing the book look at and then purchase on the book page.

German edition: ISBN 9783965964785

7,47  Buy directly

English version: ISBN 9783965964792 (Translation notice)

7,47  Buy directly

Your eCourse on Demand: Choose your personal eCourse on this or another desired topic, As a PDF download. Up to 30 lessons with each 4 learning task + final lesson. Please enter the title under "interests". Alternatively, we are happy to put together your course for you or offer you a personal regular eMailCourse including supervision and certificate - all further information!

19,99 Book now

Consultant packages: You want to increase your reach or address applicants as an employer? For these and other topics we offer special Consultant packages (overview) - For example, a personal phone call (price is per hour).

179,99 Book now

You want to comment here? Please the Debate Rules comply, contributions must be unlocked. Your eMailAddress remains secret. More information on the use of your data and how you can counter this can be found in our Privacy Policy.

  1. To follow debate on this post
  2. All debates follow

Post a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with * .

Ja, I would like to be informed about the latest promotions and offers via Newsletter be informed.

I hereby accept the Debate Rules and the Privacy policy with the possibility to contradict the use of my data at any time.