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Why New Hires Should Beware Your Informal Organisational Structure



An organisation is much like an iceberg. While 10% is clearly visible above the water, a massive 90% is hidden in the depths. The 10% of an organisation that is immediately visible to new hires is the formal structure. These are the reporting lines you would often see represented in an organisational chart.


While it's important for you to provide your new hires with an organisational chart so they understand who reports to who, you must recognise they are up against so much more than this. You see, the informal organisational structure is less visible, it's much harder to grasp and more likely to trip them up.


Informal organisational structures are highly responsible for controlling the flow of information. Bryan, Matson and Weiss concluded that "formal structures of companies, as manifested in their organisational charts, don't explain how most of their real day-to-day work gets done." Interesting!


An onboarding program to help master informal organisational structure


Informal organisational structures cannot be taught in a traditional sense, but you can guide new hires to help them form their own understanding. Employee onboarding services can provide a convenient framework so that employees begin this process from day one of employment.


However you approach onboarding your new hires, we recommend covering these focal areas:

  • The expectations of customers and employees

  • How conflict is handled in the workplace

  • The narratives told about the organisation's history

  • How visual representations of the company impact outsider perceptions

  • How people get support for initiatives

  • The key beliefs held by those in power

When an employee understands the inner workings of each of these areas, they gain access to the environment that supports idea collaboration. They will be able to communicate more effectively with those around them and know who to turn to with a specific problem, consistently finding the most direct route to achieving results. And these can only lead in one direction - to a better employee experience (EX) and a more successful organisation.

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