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New Zealand Relocation and Resettlement Specialists

New Zealand Immigration with On Arrival Resettlement Services

Our NZ way of working

How do Migrant Employees fit into the New Zealand workplace?

What’s expected of employees at work, and how people relate to each other in the workplace is slightly different in every country.

What's expected of Migrant Employees in New Zealand

To fit successfully into a job in New Zealand new migrant employees need to be aware of those differences and be prepared to adjust to the New Zealand way of working.

New Zealanders are known for simply getting on with the job and finding solutions.  It’s a product of our relatively recent pioneering background when people had no choice but to get things done using whatever resources were at hand.  That meant combining traditional ways of doing things with new ideas.

Today, we still expect people to think and work independently, and we know that collaborating and working with others is essential for getting things done.

Migrant employees bring different cultures to the organisation, which can have an impact on the workplace.

Different people value different things, and these values affect how people think and act in the workplace. Everyone in your workplace can benefit from knowing a little about these differences so they can work better together.

Cultural value differences

The following 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.  The diagram shows that generally, among these countries, Kiwis place the lowest value on status, compared to the top countries that provide migrants to New Zealand.

Cultural value differences chart

Source –

This research makes some big generalisations, so it is important to note that not all people from one culture are the same.

New Zealand’s unstructured, independent way of working

New Zealanders have a strong independent streak. That affects the way they like to be managed, and the management style you’re likely to find at work.

Migrants might be used to a more structured way of working in their country.

Status, rank and hierarchies are much less important in Kiwi workplaces than elsewhere.  Managers are respected by the staff, but they are seen as one of the team.

We nearly always address superiors, colleagues and clients by their first names. We treat everyone the same, and tend to judge others on their ability and what they achieve in the job, rather than previous qualifications, experience or status.

Management style is usually informal, and so is the workplace. We dress quite casually, probably more so than migrants are used to, and regularly mix socially with people from work. Many workplaces have a relaxed, almost family atmosphere.

In New Zealand workplaces it is expected that everyone will contribute ideas and feedback, although we are more likely to make a suggestion than tell someone directly how things should change.

Balancing work, life and family

Working hard is important in New Zealand - but so is making good use of time outside work.  Life is for living and employers generally respect that, which is why New Zealand workers enjoy about the best work/life balance in the world.

What are the implications of this for your company?

In our upcoming Blogs we will discuss:

  • Work styles and management styles.
  • Look at what employees from different cultures say about the way they work.
  • Things you may consider before your migrant employee arrives, and for their first day on the job.
  • Whether there is value in a “Buddy System”, and
  • Some tips from employers

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