canadian workplace culture and expectations workshop

Download Canadian Workplace Culture and Expectations Workshop

Post on 02-Jan-2017




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  • Canadian Workplace Culture and Expectations Workshop

    Jessie Eulenberg MSW

    Career Development Centre

    2014 - 2015

  • Introductions & Outcomes

    By the end of todays session, you will be able to-

    Recognize cultural elements in the Canadian workplace

    Identify some common Canadian work values

    Identify Laurier resources to help you get a job and succeed in the workplace

  • What is culture?

  • Culture can be defined as:

    The shared beliefs and values of a group of people

    Our learned way living

    What were we taught to think,

    feel and behave according to

    where we were raised?

  • The importance of balance

    As you enter the Canadian workplace, you do not

    need to remove your culture and behaviours; you

    need to learn the Canadian culture

    Balance is important. As international

    students, you have the unique ability

    to understand two (or more!) cultures.

    This is an asset to an employer!

    Pay attention. Ask questions. Make

    mistakes and learn from them

    (and share your culture)

  • Culture is like water to

    a fish. A fish does not know that water exists until it jumps out

    of it.

  • What is Acculturation?

    Acquiring the knowledge and skills to be able to adjust to the expectations and social patterns of a new cultural setting

    This happened when you entered university in Canada

    It will happen again when you enter a Canadian workplace you will need to learn the culture and expectations of the new environment

  • Icebreaker

    What cultural differences have you identified about how work gets done in Canada?

    In academic settings

    In professional settings

    Pair & Share

    Culture may be subtle but can have an unintended impact

  • Words of wisdom:

    Attending office, business and social events is a

    good method of finding out about your companys

    culture. This is a good way

    to quietly observe how

    your company operates. - Sharon Wingfelder,

    Vice Presdent of HR, CIBC

  • What tends to be important in the Canadian workplace?


    Professional boundaries

    Team work

    Individual contribution



  • How is culture like an iceberg?

  • Clothing Behaviour Food Music Communication Language Work habits and practices

    Relationships Values Communication style Concept of time Mental processes and learning Beliefs Experiences

  • Lets explore the Canadian values that are at the bottom of

    the iceberg

  • Common Canadian Values Compared with Values in Some Other Countries

    Common Canadian Value

    Some Other Countries

    Individualism and privacy: Individual contributions/ accomplishments are respected


    Equality: Respect towards others; all people/ideas are equally valuable

    Rank or status

    Time flies: Be on time (this shows respect) Time walks

    Directness, honesty, openness: See example

    Indirectness or even more directness

    Action and achievement Relationships

  • What tends to be important in the Canadian workplace?


    Professional boundaries

    Team work

    Individual contribution



  • Lets talk about being direct

    Indirect Direct

  • Example - Before:

    John: It looks like we are going to need a few people to come in on Saturday. Yanting: I see. John: Can you come in on Saturday? Yanting: Yes, I think so. John: That will be a great help. Yanting: Yes. Saturday is a special day, did you know? John: How do you mean? Yanting: Its my fathers birthday. John: How nice. I hope you all enjoy it very much. Yanting: Thank you. I appreciate your understanding. What is going to happen on Saturday?

    What is going to happen on Monday? Where does the misunderstanding

    between John and Yanting come from?

  • Example - After:

    John: It looks like we are going to need a few people to come in on Saturday. Yanting: I see. John: Can you come in on Saturday? Yanting: Unfortunately, I already have plans for this Saturday. John: Oh, but we are really stuck. Yanting: I understand. I wonder is there anything I can do ahead of time to assist with completing the work? John: Actuallyif you dont mind reviewing these reports Yanting: Absolutely. I will have them done by the end of the day. If I run into any issues, I will let you know.

    How was the communication


  • Words of wisdom:

    In Canada, it is OK to say no to your boss- politely. In many cultures, people never say no to the boss. But in Canada, your boss will appreciate your input. I tell people in my department: Dont say yes to everything I say. Tell me if you have a better idea. I can be wrong. Canadians recognize the value of different opinions. Saying yes all the time can be perceived as a sign of weakness. Haakon Saake, IT Manager, Toromont Industries

  • Phrases to use:


    Can we try it this way

    We seem to see things differently. How can we resolve this issue?

    Make a SANDWICH

  • How to be a successful employee in Canada The following list of qualities can help make you more valuable to your employer: Demonstrate reliability (be on time) Communicate effectively(express your ideas

    clearly, directly, honestly and with respect) Interact with your co-workers/supervisor Do more than required (take initiative) Be flexible and adaptable Be respectful towards others

  • How can you show respect?

    Greet people briefly in the morning Remember peoples names and use them Shake hands when you meet someone new

    (people dont typically shake hands every day) Be on time (or 5 minutes early) Respect privacy dont look at papers on your

    co-workers desks Show interest in other people and help them when you can Get your work done on time (or explain if there will be a delay)

  • Recognized Factors Contributing to North American Career Advancement

    Communication skills Leadership skills Self-presentation skills Team-building skills Ambition Hard work/long hours Interpersonal skills Management skills Problem-Solving skills Innovation Luck/serendipity Risk taking

    Knowledge of organizational environment

    Family support Team management Mentors Stress management Employment equity Clear goals Career planning Company culture Company politics

    Source: Good is Not Enough: And other unwritten rules for minority professionals Keith R. Wyche (2009) p. 124

  • SCENERIOS What might culture differences look like in a work context?

    Job Searching scenarios

    Tell me About Yourself

    Selling Past Accomplishments


    Social Activities

    On the Job scenarios

    Pre-meeting small talk

  • Cultural learning: What can you do? Join student groups, community & extra-curricular

    activities Interact with classmates Develop leadership and teamwork skills Connect with faculty and staff Use social media networking (e.g. LinkedIn) Consider volunteer opportunities Accept low risk jobs to practice soft skills Attend conferences & field-related events Find a professional mentor or peer mentor Visit a professional career consultant Attend professional development workshops


  • Resources

    Career Centre

    Book an appointment with a consultant

    Attend workshops, professional panel events and employer sessions

    Review website resources at

    Laurier International

    Information about work permits, SIN cards and PR

    Intercultural Development Office

    Intercultural communication workshops

  • Additional Resources

  • Connect with us -

    Career Development Centre 519.884.0710 x2850 (Laurier Career Centre group)


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