Canadian Workplace Culture

FindWRK Team

Categories: New Canadians

August 30, 2022

Now that you’ve landed your dream job through FindWRK, how do you prepare for a job in the Canadian workforce while trying to get comfortable with workplace culture in Canada? A job search is one thing but adjusting to the Canadian workplace requires an additional awareness of cultural norms and expectations. Newcomers may be at a disadvantage when it comes to the unwritten rules of workplace etiquette. Rest easy. These proven tips about Canadian workplace culture will help you transition into a seasoned professional in no time! 

Workplace Culture in Canada: 5 Key Considerations 

Check out five key considerations when joining the Canadian Workforce. If you are looking for even more tips and tricks look at the Canadian Workplace Culture: 5 Key Characteristics article.

1. Equality vs. Hierarchy

In contrast to many countries that are steeped in hierarchical culture, the Canadian workplace is more equitable. Simply put, workers in Canada have greater autonomy than traditional cultures where managers tend to take charge of everything. Canadian workers are often given increased responsibility and freedom; therefore, they must be accountable for their decisions. Consider these key takeaways:

Show Initiative – Slow day at the office? Find another work-related task to occupy your time. Try to work ahead or help out in some way.

Be a Problem-solver – Don’t be afraid to find your own solutions. Suppose, for instance, that you’ve been tasked with starting a new project on an unfamiliar topic. Brainstorm and do some research before approaching your manager for support.

Take Ownership – For better or worse, accept responsibility in the workplace. Own your successes and failures by making informed decisions and learning from past mistakes.

2. Constructive Criticism vs. Direct Feedback

Communication methods vary. Some cultures favour a more direct approach to performance feedback while others prefer to take a less direct approach. Workplace culture in Canada is flush with constructive criticism. There’s a good reason why Canadians have the worldwide reputation of being polite! 

A newcomer may be accustomed to having their mistakes corrected in plain, straightforward language, as opposed to being complimented first. For example, “Stop sending personal emails during work time” may become “Overall, you’re doing a wonderful job, but you could benefit from spending more time on business emails.” 

No matter which type of communication style you identify with, odds are that negative feedback will be cushioned by positive remarks in the Canadian workplace. This includes job performance reviews. The ability to interpret this feedback is crucial to job success. Have a look at these simple suggestions for increased understanding of employer feedback:

  • Echo the Feedback – Try repeating this language aloud or paraphrasing the main points. In other words, when you receive feedback from your manager, echo it back for confirmation, e.g., “So I’m hearing that my overall performance is good, but I need to focus my time on business emails. Does that sound about right?”

  • Write it Down – Keep a pen and paper handy to record feedback in point form. Sometimes the written word has a way of clarifying an intended message. 

  • Share with Others – Share workplace feedback with a supportive friend or family member. It never hurts to get another perspective from a trusted source. As they say, two heads are better than one!

3. Hard Skills vs. Soft Skills

While everyone brings their own unique skill set to the job, workplace culture in Canada demands a combination of hard and soft skills. Hard skills are specific abilities that can be taught and applied directly to the job. On the other hand, soft skills are personal attributes that assist in job performance. Both types of skills play an important role in the workplace. Here are 10 Skills in Demand in the Current Era adapted from the Skill Development Council.

  • Hard Skills

    • Digital Literacy

    • BlockChain

    • Cloud Computing

    • Analytical Reasoning

    • Artificial Intelligence

  • Soft Skills

    • Cognitive Flexibility

    • Decision Making

    • Emotional Intelligence

    • Creative Mindset

    • Time Management

4. Self Advocacy vs. Employer Recognition

A critical difference between more traditional cultures and workplace culture in Canada is management style. As we mentioned earlier, hierarchical structures and systems function very differently. New immigrants may expect to have their hard work recognized and rewarded. Because managers in hierarchical cultures tend to be more involved in day-to-day operations, they are also more likely to offer promotions. Employees in this type of workplace can usually anticipate a raise after a certain amount of time on the job.

Canadian workplace culture, on the other hand,is not quite as predictable. Generally speaking, Canadian employees are responsible for their own career advancement. It is dependant upon the individual to ensure that the manager is made aware of personal workplace contributions and expectations. So, how can you stand out in the crowd? Try these simple tips:

Talk it Up – Share what you’re working on with colleagues. By getting excited about your job and talking it up, other people can sense your enthusiasm and commitment to the project.

Do a Good Job – Give it your all and do a good job! High level performance speaks volumes about your value as an employee.

Share Positive Outcomes – Follow-up on past conversations with current progress. There’s a fine line between sharing and boasting but do make sure that others know about any positive work outcomes. 

If you are new to Canada and are looking for ways to network, check out our article called Networking in Canada: How Do I Build My Network as a New Canadian?

5. Visibility vs. FindWRK

Employment networking must be acknowledged as an important aspect of workplace culture in Canada. In order to access the “hidden job market”, many experts advise that employment networking is crucial. This means that most Canadian jobs are filled without ever being advertised. Personal recommendations often account for new hires. But what if increased visibility for new Canadians was as easy as 1-2-3?

At FindWRK, we’ve streamlined the recruitment process to focus on real human connection, rather than traditional networking practices. In case you’re new to our platform, here’s how it works:

  • Create a personal profile and upload your skills

  • Set your working radius to your desired geographical location

  • Wait for employers to reach out with job opportunities 

  • Find the right fit and start working!

Sign up for FindWRK and get yourself into the Canadian workforce!