Guide to Kiwi workplaces
Kiwi workplaces are different. You might not be expecting this if you are from an English-speaking country.
This guide will give you some key tips to help you settle in to your new workplace in New Zealand.
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.
Gather as much information as you can about your new job, New Zealand and the settlement process before you migrate. Show this settlement curve to your partner and family. Talk about it together.
Also talk to colleagues and friends and seek support during the low period. It can make all the difference.
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 the same expectations? Have realistic expectations about living and working in New Zealand and understand that these settlement phases are normal
Fun - excitement with the move to a new life in a new country.
Fright - a bad experience, small or large, may trigger frustration and dissatisfaction.
Flight - having second thoughts - either wanting to go home or actually leaving.
Fight - decision to battle with negative feelings and make the most of the opportunities available.
Fit - adjustment to a new life, feeling 'settled'.
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 nuts and bolts of their new life in New Zealand when they arrive. Discuss this with them 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.
Talk to your employer, your 'buddies' or your new colleagues 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 in the Community Services pages of our regional information
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, and shows how the top 12 countries that provide migrants to New Zealand value status and rules in the workplace. Note that Fiji and Sri Lanka are also in the top 12 countries, but no data was available for these countries.
This research makes some big generalisations, so it is important to note that not all people from one culture are the same.
The diagram shows that generally, among these countries, Kiwis place the lowest value on status.
What are the implications of this for you in the Kiwi workplace?
These are some of the things that employees from different cultures say about how they work.
What would you say about how you work?
For more information and advice about settling into the Kiwi workplace, visit our section on Work in New Zealand
For more tips about settling in and communicating at work, check out 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
What are Kiwis like at work?
Compared to migrant employees from other parts of the world:
- Kiwis like to work on their own without being closely supervised
- Kiwis expect everyone to be treated the same
- Kiwis respect the boss but usually speak to him or her in an informal way
- Kiwis are willing to take on various tasks, not just those they were hired to do
What are you like compared to Kiwis?
Kiwis have an unusual accent and speak very fast. They often use informal language and a lot of slang.
Ask them to slow down and explain any words you don't 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 colleagues may find it difficult to understand you to begin with. If you speak fast, slow down and make longer pauses.
Look for opportunities to speak English - at work and outside work. The more you speak English the easier it will be for others to understand you.
English language skills
If you don't feel confident when you speak English, or your reading and writing skills need enhancing , talk to your employer about any help available.
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.