Chapter 1: Workplace Environment

1 Reading

Before you read

Discuss the following to help you prepare for the reading:

  • Look at only the title of the reading. What do you think the title means?
  • What do you think the reading will be about?
  • Can an organization or company have a culture?
  • Is it important to understand the culture of the company we work in? Why/Why not?


Ray, your Strategy Coach

Hi! I’m Ray, your Strategy Coach. I will give you some important tips to help you build your learning strategies.

1.1 Understanding what a document is about.

Read the passage on the next page about how company values and mission statements affect companies.

Read the following:

Company Values

It is important to understand a company’s mission statement and values. They influence the culture of the company. They show what is important to the company. They help all employees understand the culture of the company. Employers generally introduce these values to new employees during orientation. Orientation is usually the first stage of the onboarding process for a new employee. People do not always realize how important these values are. Let us take a quick look to see how important they can be.

Our Mission

To provide accessible service of the highest standard to all our customers and clients.

Our Values

  • Keep service foremost in mind.
  • Empower people to do their best.
  • Take responsibility and be accountable.
  • Respect all types of diversity.
  • Demonstrate a positive team spirit.
  • Promote sustainability and be environmentally friendly.

First of all, a company’s values can influence the hiring process. Interviewers look at more than the interviewee’s education and hard skills. They also use these values to see if the interviewee is a good fit for the company. They look for skills and personality traits that match the company’s values. When preparing for a job interview, many people look at the company’s website to see if they can find information that shows the values of the company. They do this so they can be better prepared for the interview.

A company’s values are also important when employers make decisions to retain employees. Employers expect employees to show the right attitude and to demonstrate these values once they hire them. They expect employees to conform to the company’s culture and adopt its values. Many successful employees use these values to set goals for improving their soft skills. They know that many companies promote from within. They know that they have a better chance of getting a higher position in the company if they can demonstrate these values along with their hard skills.

How can you use your company’s values to help you become a better employee? First, you need to understand your new company’s culture and environment. You can do this by carefully noticing how the company itself upholds its values. Notice also how successful employees meet the company’s values. Identify any gaps and think of ways you can improve in these areas. Use this information to set yourself some clear goals for improvement. Listen carefully to the feedback you get from your supervisors. Their feedback may help you identify areas for improvement and set goals.

The core values of a company are also important to people outside the company. These values can attract potential employees, clients, and customers. From a company’s values, they can see how the company makes decisions. They can also see how the company meets its own set of values and whether or not the company can help them achieve their goals. In short, a company’s values give a clear picture of the company’s culture, what the company is about, and what is important to it.

After you read


Answer the questions.

  1. The reading is about

a) one company’s organizational culture and values

b) organizational cultures and values in general

c) the importance of understanding a company’s values

   2. Why is it important for a company to have a mission statement and a list of values?

a) They give a clear picture of the company to current and potential employees, clients, and

b) They inform the general public about how important the company

c) They help current employees understand what hard skills are important to the

  3. When are the company’s values usually introduced to employees?

4. Onboarding is another name for orientation.

a) True

b) False

   5. Paragraph 2 talks about how a company’s values are

a) used before employees start working in the company

b) used after employees start working in the company

c) used while employees are working in the company

   6. One of the core values of CDN Malls is “Empower people to do their best.” This means

a) all the people who work for CDN Malls must help each other improve

b) all the people who work for CDN Malls must be better than others

c) all the people who work for CDN Malls must be powerful

   7. If I know what the company’s values are, I can know

a) what soft skills I need to work on to make myself a more successful employee

b) what to focus on when I observe how successful employees act at work

c) both a and b


Ray, your Strategy Coach


Answer the questions.

  1. Can you guess what these words mean? Use your own words to describe them. Talk about their meanings in the reading.

a) stage (Paragraph 1)

b) retain (Paragraph 3)

c) promote (Paragraph 3)

  1. Fill in the sentences with suitable words or phrases from the list in the box.
hard skills soft skills identify potential
demonstrate a good fit influence


a) His job is to __________ to the customers how the equipment is

b) She was not hired because they thought she was not __________ .

c) He was worried about the __________ side effects of the drug.

d) Typing and using the computer are examples of __________.

e) His friends tried to __________ him, but he did not listen to them.


Complete the following:


The words in the box are from the reading. Look at the reading again to determine how these words are used in the text. Put each word in the correct category in the table based on how it was used in the reading.

Then use each word from the box in a sentence.

core mission values introduce
attitude conform position
Noun Verb Adjective









The reading talks about company values and culture. It outlines how a company’s values and culture influence the hiring process and promotions and attract clients and employees.

  1. Think about
    • a place you are working at now or worked at in the past. What are/were your company’s values? How did you know?
    • how a company’s values affect employees, customers, and clients. Discuss
    • whether or not you think it is important to understand a company’s values. Why or why not?
    • the values of CDN Malls from the reading.
    • what one of the values means to you.
  2. Think about
    • what soft skills are. Discuss
    • what soft skills a person would need to meet the values of CDN Malls.

Reading progress check


This is a modified tip sheet from the Alberta Learning Information Service (ALIS) website.

Read the questions in the Comprehension section on the next page before reading the article below. This strategy will help you locate the answers more easily.

After you read the tip sheet, answer the questions that follow.

Learning to Improve Your Career

Change is constant in today’s competitive workplace. To keep up, you need to keep learning. When you’re committed to improving your knowledge and skills for work, you get many benefits. You’re more likely to enjoy your work, improve your performance, be invited to work on rewarding projects, and earn a raise or even a promotion. Ongoing learning often makes it easier to get your next job, if you ever need or want one. Think about the skills and knowledge you need now and to prepare for the future. Then use the following tips to be more effective as you learn for work.

Plan your learning with your career path in mind.

When you can see how your learning fits into the bigger picture of your life and work, or your career path, you’ll be a more motivated, more effective learner. Plan your career path based on your skills, experiences, interests, and preferences.

This can help you make good decisions and take positive steps at all stages of your life.

Identify what you need to learn in the short term.

In the short term, learning can help you meet an immediate need, such as mastering a new computer program or technical skill:

  • Check your most recent performance review. Then ask your supervisor or talk with a more experienced co-worker about skills that you can improve on.
  • Think about a typical work day. Identify any tasks you avoid or struggle with because of knowledge or skills you don’t have, such as preparing and delivering presentations.
  • If your job responsibilities have increased over time, ask yourself if you needtraining to be more effective in these responsibilities; for example, to supervise or train others.
  • Take advantage of any short-term training opportunities your employer or other organizations offer; for example, training to use new equipment.

Identify what you want to learn in the long term.

Build skills and knowledge that support your future goals, such as getting a promotion:

  • Develop new skills that will be useful beyond your current position. For example, if you’re interested in management and have an excellent supervisor, think about your supervisor’s skill set and begin learning or improving those skills.
  • Volunteer for projects that challenge you to learn new things or work with new people. This will help you improve your skills, network outside your area, and gain valuable information about your organization.
  • Talk with a mentor about learning goals that will help you advance your career. If you don’t have a mentor, ask for one.

Adapt to a changing future.

If you can prepare for possible changes that may affect your workplace and industry, you can plan your learning to help you adapt. Prepare and watch for change by observing the labour market. Keep in touch with your industry. Talk to others in your workplace, follow industry leaders online, and attend related events.

From Learning to Enhance Your Career. (n.d.) Government of Alberta. Adapted    with    permission. For more career-related information, check out


Answer the questions:

  1. The reading gives advice on how to

a) improve your career opportunities

b) write short-term goals

c) change your career

  1. According to the reading, which one of the following benefits can you get by improving your knowledge and skills?

a) You will be more intelligent than your colleagues

b) You may like your job

c) You may retire

  1. Career planning is the process of

a) learning how to make career goals

b) motivating yourself for a future career

c) building your career

  1. Which of the following is a long-term learning goal?

a) Learn new skills that will be useful for a position you would

b) Find a training course to improve a skill you need

c) Ask a supervisor what skills you need to work

  1. Planning what skills and knowledge you need will help you adapt to change.

a) True

b) False


What do the following words mean in the text? Match each word with the correct meaning. There is one extra meaning.

Word Meaning
raise (Paragraph 1) change or adjust to a difficult situation
promotion (Paragraph 1) expect or predict
mentor (Paragraph 4) an increase in salary
adapt (Paragraph 5) someone who can advise or guide


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