The post-digital generation, otherwise known as Generation Z, were those born between the mid 1990s and 2010. Unlike the baby boomers, this generation grew up through trying financial times and a lack of stability.
Gen Z are notably recognised as being people who are driven and with a determination to succeed. In order for them to do this, technology will be a vital part of how employees will work and live within the future of the workplace.
However, it is more ambiguous as to how this generation will cope when it comes to team building, as many technologies encourage users to work alone. Impact International, specialists in team development, explores the differences between how Gen Z feel towards teamwork and the workplace within a digital landscape. When compared to past generations who are still in work, this makes for an interesting comparison.
New types of workers
Unlike baby boomers who were born in the 1950s, Gen Z are more focused on learning new skills; this is unlike workers who are trained in a job and then stay in that job for a number of years. By furthering their specific interests within the workplace, this generation learns by focusing in on online courses, online books, articles, videos and other digital mediums to learn and progress as they go.
Based on these changes within the workplace, many have argued that Generation Z are more readily adapted to changes. This is because their abilities to process information are based on how they function within the workplace.
Players within a team?
Based on their own development, Gen Z are always looking to further their own skills and continue their progression within the workplace. Millennials are interconnected, using social media as a platform to always keep in touch with other people. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re always ready to engage in teambuilding in the traditional sense.
Based on how Gen Z interact with each other, team-orientated individuals is a more appropriate description of how these individuals function within the workplace.
Whilst contributing towards something greater than themselves, Gen Z feel as though they are retaining their individuality, as they can perform individual tasks that contribute towards a whole team cohort. This is unlike workers of the past, who would usually work together in less isolating environments so that a job was completed.
Within horizontal forms of management, where responsibility is distributed evenly over a number of individuals, Gen Z recognise that to become successful and influential takes time – as workers need to individually demonstrate the importance of their own contributions.
Although they are less team-orientated overall, Gen Z have a greater sense of what culture is and what it means to them, alongside their own identity within it. 79% of millennials feel that culture-building activities in the workplace are vital when it comes to their progression. However, only 41% of baby boomers aged 51-60 felt the same, which suggests that although Gen Z want to be individuals, their identity is linked to the work that they do every day.
The overall impact on the workplace
Supervisors need to be more flexible and trusting of Gen Z within the workplace. This is so their creativity is able to stand on their own two feet. If employees within this demographic feel as though they aren’t able to innovate and progress, this will lead to their performance being stifled in the workplace – contributing to a lack of motivation, or an attempt to leave the organisation.
Through progression and development into management, those who show individual talent within the workplace are those who will succeed in the future. Although this is not dissimilar to how the workplace has functioned in the past, it’s more about how the whole can benefit the millennial employee, rather than Generation Z becoming part of the whole workforce.