New Year’s Resolution: Sort Your Work Issue

farm owner and worker chatting happily

No job is perfect, but choosing to address those work niggles can mean you enjoy your job far more.


They say people don’t quit jobs – they quit bosses. But when you drill down into that you’ll discover that the job and work atmosphere is created by the boss or the manager. The great news is that your boss has the power to create a fantastic work life for you, and in doing so, will keep you employed for many years. However, the bad news is that some employers do not realise how important it is to create a great work environment, and their unhappy staff leave!


CCR is in a unique position to observe the difficulties New Zealand employers have securing great staff; we also often see employers lose great employees to other businesses, without knowing the reason why.


Often employers are unaware of the struggles migrant workers have in New Zealand workplaces, and employees don’t know how to get their boss to understand their difficulties.


So we’ve done some research into how migrant workers can help ensure their employer understands their needs and makes their workplace an excellent place to be.

Get clear with communication

I know we harp on about this a bit, but it can’t be stressed enough – clearer communication with your employer will make you happier at work. The ways bosses interact with their employees overseas can be very different to how Kiwi employers communicate. For example, migrant workers may be used to a formal relationship with their boss, while Kiwi bosses can be comparatively very casual. Kiwi bosses may expect employees to take initiative to do tasks, while migrant workers may expect to be given a list of tasks to perform and not to deviate from it.


If you feel you are not fulfilling your boss’ expectations, or you can’t identify what they are, all you have to do is ask! Kiwi bosses can be casual, but this means they are usually approachable. Tell them you’re not clear about their daily expectations and suggest that they write up a list of daily tasks. We’ve had many employers choose to have a whiteboard with a daily list of tasks on display for their workers and it has been very effective in improving communication.

Repeat yourself please!

The way your boss speaks may have an impact on how effective their communication is. Kiwis often mumble, speak quickly and use a lot of slang. Industry-specific slang is particularly hard for some migrant workers to understand. It can be very frustrating, and it can be embarrassing to admit when you can’t understand instructions! However, instead of replying “Yes, Boss!” to their instructions, if you didn’t completely understand the instruction, ask them to repeat it slowly, and then repeat it back to them. They won’t mind at all, they will be much happier to see that you are double-checking with them, rather than going away confused.


Alternatively, (as above) you can ask them to have a written list of tasks visible on a board for all to see.

Identify your weaknesses

No employee likes to think they’re bad at their job, but taking stock of your weaknesses at work enables you to address them and become more effective, and in turn, more productive. If you’re more productive you’ll have more opportunities to progress and to earn more.


A good way to start is by reflecting honestly on the issues that have occurred over the past year. How did you contribute to any problems? Could you have been more organised, been a better communicator, or taken more initiative? If you are having difficulty, ask a co-worker if there’s anything they noticed that you had trouble with. Once you identify your weaknesses, you need to address them and let your boss or manager know what improvements you plan to make. For example, if you noticed that you struggled with a specific aspect of your work, let them know you’d like some further training in it.


By taking stock of your weaknesses and making a plan for change, your employer will understand that you are committed to the business and that you are someone worthy of considering for promotion.

Ask for what you want

All too often we see employees jump ship to another business, only to have the same work issues in the new setting. It’s far easier to address your issues than to start again, so instead of leaving your job, identify what the key issues are that bother you about your workplace. Is it your relationship with your colleagues, low pay, lack of opportunity to progress, or a communication issue?


Once you know what the problem is, you need to be brave and ask for what you want. If it’s a relationship issue, go directly to the person to discuss how you could improve it. Failing that, speak with your boss or manager about it. If it’s a pay issue, speak to your employer about your expectation and make a plan with them about how you can achieve it.


We have a saying “the squeaky wheel gets the oil”, meaning if you want something fixed, you need to make some noise!




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CCR Group is a dedicated, full-service employment, recruitment and human resource company servicing hundreds of businesses across many countries.
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