Published On: August 18th, 2021 / Last Updated: August 6th, 2021 / 3.8 min read /

The Canadian Workplace Culture

Before the Covid-19 pandemic, most people used to spend most of their time in their respective workplaces. This has however been impacted by Covid-19 and now the culture of Work-From-Home has been on the rise. As the Covid-19 pandemic is coming to an end due to the immensely effective vaccination drive put up by the Government of Canada, many companies are planning to bring the working-class people back to the workplace. With that said, let us look at the culture and atmosphere in a Canadian Workplace, and how to fit well into it.

1. Egalitarian Culture

The term egalitarian literally means “promoting social equality, and equal rights for all the people”. A regular Canadian workplace is a perfect example of a workplace that follows an egalitarian culture. In egalitarian cultures, the employees are expected to take initiative, identify problems, and suggest solutions to their superiors. On the other hand, inegalitarian cultures promote hierarchy more than equality, meaning employees are expected to do only as the manager/boss says, and are not supposed to take any initiative on their own. Many immigrants switching from a workplace of hierarchical culture to a workplace such as the Canadian’s egalitarian cultural workplace, find it difficult to adjust. The reason behind this uneasiness in immigrant employees is that their previous workplace followed the hierarchical culture and that they are not used to taking initiative, and solving problems, without the boss/manager asking them to do it. This can be solved by giving the immigrant employees sufficient training and guidance.

2. Direct communication, indirect feedback

While most of the communication in a Canadian workplace is direct communication, feedbacks given by employers/managers may not be as direct. Employers/managers tend to wrap their negative feedbacks in positive comments. Employees from different cultural backgrounds may have a hard time understanding those negative feedbacks and therefore working on improving them. For example, an employer might say “Great work persuading the client in the meeting. It could have gone better if you had adopted a politer tone. The client seemed impressed by your knowledge and expertise in the area.”.

An employee coming from an egalitarian background will immediately recognize his mistake (impolite tone) and therefore can work on improving in that area next time onwards. However, an employee from a culturally different background may get the idea that they are being praised and therefore not be able to recognize their own mistake, let alone working on improving in that area.

3. Be humble, but not too humble

As an immigrant coming into the Canadian workplace, it is important to know that the experience gained from a culturally different work environment is not going to apply completely to the Canadian workplace. For example, in Canada, an employee is expected to let the employer know of their achievements from the time that they have joined the company, and of their intentions of attaining a promotion. However, in most culturally different workplaces, this is not the case. In hierarchical cultures, employers are much more involved in what the employees are doing, their potentials, their achievements, and they are the ones to approach the employees for a promotion. Immigrant employees coming from a hierarchical cultural background may have to adjust to this little change when coming into the Canadian workplaces to ensure that their work is valued and that they keep progressing in their careers.

Culture plays a very important role in a workplace, and it can be hard at times for employees to fit in well into this culture which is quite different from the cultures that they are used to back in their home country. Canadian workplaces may be different for most immigrants culturally. However, it is an obligation of the immigrant employees to adapt to these workplace conditions as soon as possible, to ensure that they are moving forwards in their careers and life. The above-mentioned points are not everything there is about the Canadian workplace, but they can be considered a good starting point for learning about them.



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