Appendix 2: Workplace Mentor Tips
41 Chapter 1: Workplace Mentor Tips
I will talk about four important points very briefly: eye contact, a firm handshake, the level of formality that is expected, and asking questions when you don’t understand something.
- Appropriate eye contact is very important when you talk to another person. When a person does not make any eye contact during a conversation, people may think that the person is not being honest. When you talk to someone, it is a good idea to look at them and make some eye contact.
- A firm handshake is also important. Many people think that a firm handshake shows that a person is confident and open, and that a weak handshake shows the opposite.
- Very formal language and behaviour are not common when people talk to each other at work. Everyone is regarded as equal, so people generally talk more casually, even to the supervisor. Of course, it is also not appropriate to be too informal with co-workers and supervisors in the workplace. A good tip is to observe how people interact at work and to always be polite and respectful, but not overly formal.
- When you do not understand something, always ask. People will not think less of you if you do this. In fact, they will appreciate that you are interested in understanding correctly. Notice how Raja and Paul do this throughout this chapter.
Can our own background have an influence on how we think? Or what we pay attention to? Yes, it can. Some people say that we have a map in our heads. This map influences what we see and our reactions to the things we see. This is why people from different backgrounds may see the same things differently.
- Sometimes you may notice that you react differently than others to things people say or do. This is because of the influence of your background.
- Companies and organizations can also have a way of thinking. You may need to adjust your way of thinking to understand your company’s way of thinking.
Did you notice how comfortable Raja and Paul were when double-checking the information Sima was giving them? They did this by asking direct questions and by repeating the information.
Raja clarified that he understood the information that Sima was sharing by asking a direct question in this example:
Sima: When you receive a call, press and hold the Talk button to answer. Identify yourself by your radio identifier, not by your name.
Raja: Is this my radio identifier? Here, on the top of this document? Mall 9?
Both Raja and Paul clarified the instructions Sima gave them about how to use the radio by repeating the information in these examples:
Raja: Okay, I think I got this. I press and hold the Talk button to speak. If I don’t hold it down, the other person can’t hear me.
Paul: And to hear the other person, I have to release the Talk button. Only then I will be able to hear the other person?
Repeating information and asking direct questions are good ways to make sure you have understood information.
Watch for more examples in the activities that follow in this chapter.
Forms can be simple or complex. This depends on the number of fields or spaces you need to fill in and the amount of information you need to include.
Nowadays, many forms are completed on the computer. Usually there is a link to download the form. You can click on this link and download the form onto your computer. You can then fill it in on the computer, save it, and print it out to submit it. Sometimes, you may be asked to submit the completed form online. Sometimes you will need to print it off and send it.
In Canada, forms are often used as legal documents. You must always follow the instructions on the form carefully. It is important to make sure that all the information that you put on the form is correct. All the details on the form must be clear and complete or the form may be rejected. If you put the wrong information on a form or do not fill it out completely, it may not be processed, and you may not get what you are applying for.
A warning — be careful not to leave completed forms lying around, and do not throw them in the recycling. People can steal your personal information.
You will notice that Paul and the other employee are quite casual when they speak to each other. Even though Paul is new, the words he uses show that he is friendly and approachable and happy to ask and answer questions.
- Notice that Paul and Kevin do not discuss anything personal. It is best to avoid personal topics in workplace conversations with someone new.
- Notice that Paul and Kevin do not always speak in full sentences in their informal conversation. Sometimes they state or repeat only the keywords.
Reflection is examining your own behaviour and actions in a situation. It can also include examining another person’s behaviour and actions.
It is very important to reflect so you can develop and grow. Reflection can help you see your strengths and identify areas for improvement. When you reflect, it is a good idea to first look at strengths, and then look at what needs to be improved. Most companies in Canada appreciate employees who can reflect because it almost always leads to self-development.
Looking at the content of this chapter, the following may be opportunities for reflection for the people involved:
- Sima, on whether she had communicated the new information effectively to the new employees.
- Susan and Sima, on whether they had made the new employees feel welcome to CDN Malls.
- Raja and Paul, on
- whether they had made a good first impression
- how they had dealt with all the new information they had received during the orientation.