It is a common joke that Canadians are known for being very polite, sometimes to a fault. But what else should you expect from Canadians when it comes to fitting in at work? Newcomers Canada knows that you are in the process of making any number of big moves, some that are stressful and many even frightening. We want to help ease your mind regarding what you should expect once you arrive in a Canadian workplace for the first time. Keep reading to learn more about what Canadian workplace culture will look and feel like.
Teamwork in the Canadian Workplace
Depending on what country you are coming to Canada from, the distribution of responsibilities and expectations from Canadian employers may be entirely different. In Canada a strong or positive employer will likely encourage you to take initiative, to think outside the box, and to collaborate. While in many cultures the workplace can often be very defined or prescribed, in Canada exploration and taking initiative are typically encouraged. You will need to be careful not to overstep, but the good news is, most of your new Canadian colleagues and employers will be more than happy to answer your questions and work closely with you. If this is not the case in your new workplace, you may need to take a step back and ensure you are working at a company that values inclusivity and equity.
The Canadian Approach to Feedback
We mentioned above that Canadians are often overly polite, which is typically considered a good thing. When it comes to feedback, this can get confusing. In Canada when you are receiving negative feedback, or feedback that someone might think would upset you, it will often be vailed in a compliment or spun in a positive manner. When you are receiving feedback from a colleague or an employer it may be helpful to respond by saying “I want to be sure I am understanding this correctly” – this will allow you to ensure that you understand the feedback clearly and move forward accordingly.
How Canadians Communicate at Work
When we think of communication, we most often go directly to verbal communication, or to what we say. In reality though, the majority of our communication is actually non-verbal. In the Canadian workplace it is often the communication that goes unsaid that can be the most daunting to understand. Much of this will come down to attitude. Strangely, just working hard is often not enough. As a member of a Canadian company, you will be expected to be friendly with your colleagues, to be open to feedback and collaboration, and to be personable. It might not seem fair, but in Canada much of what will lead to your success at work will have nothing to do with your actual work. So, while you are working hard and doing a great job, keep in mind that your colleagues want to know you and work alongside you.
To learn more about what to expect from your new Canadian employer and colleagues visit our blog about diversity, equality, and inclusion in the workplace.