Critical-Factors-to-Successfully-Navigate-Canadian-Workplace-Culture | MyConsultant

Critical Factors to Successfully Navigate Canadian Workplace Culture

Critical Factors to Successfully Navigate Canadian Workplace Culture

Joining a company and acclimatizing to Canadian work culture is an exciting challenge for a new immigrant or refugee.

However, once you begin, a solid knowledge of Canadian working culture offers a valuable boost to career success within a company.

Your first objective may be to learn the primary official language in your province. Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada (LINC) courses teach valuable landing skills like how to access universal healthcare, and these courses are available for free to newcomers. You will also learn where to go to start your own business or what sites to search if you need a job. Check with your province to find a LINC class available near you. 

Once you have mastered the official language you need, you will feel more confident presenting at a business meeting. Fluent language skills also make asking questions easier—another cultural must-know for new immigrants. 

Canadians welcome a well-placed question about your task or project's goal. Managers often leave your day-to-day work up to you. They will value your initiative when assigning a project to you, as it shows competence. Often, managers make suggestions they see as a directive. This approach can be daunting for new immigrants who are used to a more hands-on management style. Asking questions can avoid misunderstanding, which saves valuable time and shows your teammates that you care about the success of your task and are paying attention.

Once you have begun a project or task, showing extra effort can improve your eligibility for promotion. While we are an easy-going society, achieving excellent results in your work is expected, therefore Canadians love to hide the extra hour or two they work from home perfecting a presentation. 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM is a typical work schedule, so if your workplace has set hours, you can leave without concern at the end of your shift. Professional salaried positions often require extended hours. Extra hours are considered normal within a range. According to Statistics Canada, "Less than 10% of workers in Canada usually worked very long hours (49 or more hours per week) in 2021".

Besides technical skills and a strong work ethic, soft skills are essential in the Canadian workplace. A positive attitude is a must in any country, and Canadians are the same. A warm, healthy smile, helpful demeanour and, of course, meeting your deadlines are appreciated. Canadian bosses also like flexibility, open-mindedness and taking the initiative. The gratitude you see on your colleagues' faces when you offer to lead on an appropriate task shows that you better understand Canadians and the workplace. 

Each morning, arrive punctually. Your workplace manual will most likely have a punctuality rule in writing. Even if there is not, there remains an unwritten expectation of timeliness for Canadians in the workplace. For example, arriving 15 minutes early for your shift or a bit early for salaried work is considered polite. Don’t worry too much if you are late one day because your children missed the bus, but it is recommended to arrive on time daily if you plan to advance in a company.

As you enter the building, greet your colleagues, and make eye contact as you feel it is appropriate throughout the day. Canadians respect light eye contact and a warm greeting like "good morning" as signs of engaged, friendly behaviour. We are an open, egalitarian society so that you can embrace your colleagues as equals. Your bosses are decision makers, so remember to show slightly more respect to them. Every workplace has its unique approach, so it’s good to develop your emotional intelligence and study the Canadian culture within your first month. A cultural analysis tool such as Erin Mayer's Cultural Map provides insight into crucial zones of difference you may experience between your home and Canadian cultures. 

Many companies offer Personal Development courses or programs. Attending Personal Development programs offered by your company enables you to grow in the direction of your interests and skills. Companies value these courses and often invest in specialists who design development tools with your career development in mind. 

You may also consider taking on a volunteer role related to a personal or work interest and studying in your spare time. Further job training will keep you at the cutting edge of your industry. As a new Canadian, you already bring valuable skills to the job market. Extra training will keep your skills sharp throughout your career. 

Finally, share your life and accomplishments in the appropriate frame and quantities. Then, you can feel proud of the credentials you've earned before arriving here and after. 

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