The Canadian workplace may be different from the workplace in your home country. For example, there may be mores safety laws or more use of personal protective equipment (PPE) than at home. There may be a more informal relationship between bosses and workers than you are used to. For example, in most workplaces in Yukon, workers use their bosses’ first names.
Teamwork is an important workplace value in many Canadian workplaces; you are expected to cooperate with your co-workers and work together for everyone’s success. Punctuality is important here; your boss expects you to arrive at work on time or even a few minutes early for your shift.
Participation in decision-making is important in many workplaces; your boss may expect you to ask questions and contribute your ideas. Most North Americans are not as comfortable with silence as people from certain other cultures; your co-workers may think that you are unfriendly if you don’t talk with them.
If you deal with customers, your boss will expect you to smile and be friendly and polite to them, and when there is a problem with a customer, your company may tell you that “the customer is always right.”
It takes time to learn the workplace culture in your job. Try not to get discouraged. If you are unsure about something, ask!
Teamwork is important in most Canadian workplaces. Employers expect workers to work together for success. Teamwork is about cooperating with other workers, helping other workers, and doing what’s best for everyone, not just for you.
To be a good team member at work:
When you start a new job, you will probably feel unsure of yourself. You may wonder if you are doing a good job. This is especially true for foreign workers in Yukon. You have to learn how to do your job, and you may have problems using English, adjusting to a new community, and getting used to the cold Yukon weather. You might be experiencing “culture shock.”
When people move to a new country, they are often not prepared for how different and strange everything is and how they will feel about it. They may be excited, but they are usually also nervous and even afraid. The language, climate and food are unfamiliar; the job may be stressful; family members may be sad; children may have problems at school; and the local people may be very different from people at home.
Most people go through four stages of culture shock: honeymoon (“I love it here.”), hatred (“I hate it here.”), homesick (“I want to go home.”) and home (“OK, I like it here. I can live here.”). It can take several months to go through all of these stages. Culture shock can be a serious problem for some people. It may help to talk about your feelings with someone who has experienced it.
Organizations like the Multicultural Centre of the Yukon and the Association franco-yukonnaise (for French speakers) can help you with some of these problems. They offer settlement services to newcomers to help them learn about their new community so that they can feel at home.
At the start of a new job, your employer will give you an orientation. The orientation normally happens on the first day of work. An orientation includes information about the workplace and about the work you will be doing. An important part of the orientation is safety information about the workplace and your job.
Orientation is only the beginning of your on-the-job training. Most good employers continue to offer training to their workers. They must offer training when there are changes in the job or there is new technology to learn. You should always take any training your employer offers you. It will help you improve in your job, and it will show your employer that you care about your job. Training must be for less than six months and non-credit.
Some employers allow their workers to take time off for extra training. If this training is related to your job, your employer might be willing to pay the costs of the training and possibly pay your wages as well.
Keep records of all your training. Write down the type of training you take and the dates when you take it. Keep any certificates you receive. Include your training on job applications and on your resume. Be ready to talk about your training in job interviews.
In Yukon workplaces, there is a probation period— a time when you are learning how to do your job. This period is usually 3 or 6 months. At the end of the probation period, you will normally meet with your supervisor to talk about the job and your work. But you do not need to wait until the end of your probation period to ask your supervisor how well you are doing. Most employers appreciate workers who ask for feedback before the end of the probation period. It shows that they really care about their jobs.
Many workers want more responsibility as they continue to work for the same employer. Jobs with more responsibility usually pay higher wages and may have other benefits. Tell your employer if you want to be promoted to a higher position. If you are promoted, you must tell the Immigration Unit because you will need to change your employment contract to show your new position, wages, etc.
If you become a supervisor, make sure that you know your new responsibilities. For example, supervisors have special responsibilities for workplace safety.
Everyone has problems at work sometimes. Problem solving is a normal part of everyday work. Foreign workers may have special problems because of their English language abilities or because of cultural differences. A problem could be a simple disagreement with another worker, or it could be something serious like harassment or discrimination.
There are two common kinds of workplace problems: problems that are part of your work and problems with other people. Problems that are part of your work are usually easier to solve than problems with other people. If you are having problems with supervisors or coworkers, you will have to talk to the person you are having the problem with. Before you do that, you should take some time to think about the problem so that you can talk about it calmly.
Here are some questions to ask yourself:
Some problems may be too serious for you to solve by yourself. You may need help from your supervisor or perhaps from someone outside your workplace. If you have a problem that is affecting your work and you cannot solve it by yourself, contact the Immigration Unit. If they can’t help you, they will tell you where to go for help.
Canada has strong laws to help prevent discrimination. Everyone in Canada has the right to be treated fairly and equally regardless of race, religion, gender, age, etc. These rights are protected in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the Yukon Human Rights Act.
If you are having a problem at work and you think it is because of your race or religion, for example, you can call the Yukon Human Rights Commission to get information and help. In Whitehorse, call 667-6226. Outside Whitehorse call 1-800-661-0535.
If someone is harassing you, if you feel threatened, or if someone has physically hurt you, call the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP). In Whitehorse call 667-5555. In a community, call the local exchange for the community (for example, 993 in Dawson, 536 in Watson Lake) + 5555. If it is an emergency, call 911 (Whitehorse and area only).
Whether you are here for 2 years or for the rest of your life, we want you to have a great work experience. We want you to enjoy your work, to feel satisfied at the end of the day, and to look forward to your next shift. We want you to succeed.
One of the best ways to succeed is to have a good attitude. Yukon employers want workers who are positive and who want to improve. Here are a few ways you can show your employer you have the right attitude for success: