Guide to New Zealand workplaces
New Zealand workplaces may be different from what you are used to. This guide will give you some key tips to help you settle into your new workplace here.
Is it easy to settle in a new country?
All migrants go through a number of stages as they get used to their life in a new country. It can take up to two years.
The Settlement Curve
The settlement curve diagram shows how your emotions may change as you start living in a new culture.
Stages of settling in
Forethought - Do you and your partner have realistic expectations about living and working in New Zealand and understand that these settlement phases are normal?
Fun - You are excited about moving to a new life in a new country.
Fright - You might have a bad experience, large or small, that frightens you.
Flight - You are not sure if you want to stay and may decide to leave.
Fight - You fight against the bad feelings and decide to make the most of the opportunities here.
Fit - You start to feel settled and comfortable in your new life. Some people will feel settled sooner than others.
Get support from the people around you
- Gather as much information as you can about your new job, New Zealand and the settlement process.
- If you are here with others, show them the settlement curve and talk about it together.
- Talk to workmates and friends and seek support during the low period - it can make all the difference.
For more information about the stages of the settlement curve, and some tips and suggestions about making a smooth transition to life in New Zealand, check our 'Tips for settling in' section.
Your employer should be aware that many newcomers have partners and families and will need time to organise the essentials for their new life in New Zealand when they arrive. Discuss this with your employer before starting your new job.
The Workplace Settlement model
The Workplace Settlement model shows how settling in both at home and at work are part of a successful shift to a new culture.
Your work colleagues can help
Talk to your employer, your work buddy or your new workmates about groups or clubs that you, your partner or your family can join.
Use their local knowledge and advice to help you integrate into your new community.
You can also check our tips for meeting people and find community networks in your area on our regional Community Services pages.
Different people value different things. These values affect how people think and act in the workplace. Everyone in the workplace can benefit from knowing a little about these differences so they can work better together.
Cultural value differences
This cultural value differences chart is adapted from the work of Geert Hofstede. Fiji and Sri Lanka are also in the top 12 countries but no data was available for these countries.
Note that New Zealanders place the lowest value on status compared to people from the top 12 countries that provide migrants to New Zealand. What does this mean for you in the New Zealand workplace?
It is important to note that not all people from one culture are the same.
For more tips about settling in and communicating at work, check our Worktalk tool. It has tips about what is different about workplace communication in New Zealand.
Knowing about the different work styles of Kiwis and other cultures can help new migrants when they first arrive.
Cultural differences in management style preferences
These are some of the things that people from different cultures say about how they work.
What would you say about how you work?
Compared to workers from other countries, New Zealanders are more likely to:
- make suggestions to their boss and talk to them in an informal way
- expect everyone to be treated fairly
- enjoy working without close supervision
- be willing to do a range of tasks, not just those they were hired for.
What are you like compared to New Zealanders?
For more information and advice about settling into the New Zealand workplace, visit our section on our New Zealand way of working.
The New Zealand accent may be unfamiliar to you. New Zealanders often speak very fast and use a lot of informal language (slang).
Ask them to slow down and explain any words you do not understand. You will soon find it much easier to follow what they are saying.
If you have an unfamiliar accent when you speak English your new workmates may find it hard to understand you to begin with. If you speak fast, slow down and pause between sentences.
What about my English language skills?
If you do not feel confident when you speak English, or you need to improve your English reading and writing skills, talk to your employer about getting some help.
Practise your English whenever you can
Look for opportunities to speak English - both at work and outside of work. The more you speak English the easier it will be for others to understand you.
Volunteering and local community classes are a good way to meet others, and to practise your English.
Check our English language section for tips on improving your English, and the learning English section of the regional pages for information about learning English in your area.