Bridging Borders: HR Culture Lessons from a Canadian Adventure

Going on a Road Trip

Throughout my career in HR, I have been lucky enough to support businesses in both the United States and Canada. During that time, I’ve had the privilege of working with a diverse range of companies and witnessing various organizational cultures. However, it wasn’t until I recently embarked on a road trip to the stunning Banff and Jasper areas in Canada that I truly grasped the essence of Canadian culture and how it can offer valuable insights into building and maintaining a strong business culture. As one committed to helping others share in the lessons that I have learned, I would like share my observations from my journey to the “Great White North”. Won’t you join me?

Embracing Kindness and Community

““You don’t have to be the biggest to be the best” – Unknown

One of the first things I noticed while traveling through the Canadian Rockies was the genuine kindness and sense of community among the people. Whether it was a passerby offering directions or a local business owner striking up a conversation, the spirit of hospitality was evident everywhere.

This resonated with me as a valuable lesson for HR professionals. Cultivating a culture of kindness within an organization can have a profound impact on employee morale and satisfaction. Encouraging employees to support one another, both personally and professionally, creates a positive and nurturing work environment.

In fact, according to a recent Gallup poll, organizations with a strong sense of community are 20% more likely to have lower turnover rates and 21% more likely to report increased productivity.

Supporting Each Other in Challenging Environments

“In unity, there is strength.” – Aesop

The rugged beauty of the Canadian Rockies serves as a stark reminder of the challenges presented by nature. Yet, the local businesses in these areas thrive by working together and supporting each other. They understand that in a sometimes harsh and unforgiving environment, collaboration is essential for survival.

In the world of HR and business, this lesson is particularly relevant. Competition can be fierce, and economic landscapes can be unpredictable. However, when employees and teams within an organization unite to overcome challenges, the business culture becomes resilient and adaptable.

This is evidenced by a study conducted by the Harvard Business Review that found that companies that encourage collaboration among their employees are five times more likely to be high performing.

Creating Your Opportunities: Carving Out Niche Markets

“In diversity there is beauty, and there is strength” – Maya Angelou

The small towns and villages I visited in the Canadian Rockies demonstrated an impressive ability to carve out niche markets by utilizing the unique resources available to them. Whether it was sustainable forestry, adventure tourism, or local craftsmanship, these businesses found ways to thrive in their own distinct ways.

This teaches us that in business culture, it’s not always about following the well-trodden path. Encouraging innovation and creativity within an organization can lead to the discovery of untapped opportunities and unique selling propositions that set the company apart in the market.

According to a report by Deloitte, organizations that promote a culture of innovation are 30% more likely to be market leaders.


My journey through the Canadian Rockies offered a profound reminder that building and maintaining a strong business culture is a universal concept, transcending borders and industries. Embracing kindness, fostering a sense of community, supporting each other in challenging times, and encouraging innovation are essential components of a thriving organizational culture.

In the end, the most crucial and often elusive part of HR lies in cultivating a workplace environment where employees feel valued, supported, and inspired, much like the resilient communities I encountered in the breathtaking landscapes of the Canadian Rockies. Whether your business operates in the US, Canada, or anywhere else in the world, these lessons are universally applicable and can lead to the creation of a culture that thrives and endures.

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