Team building: the nature of working for the post-digital generation

Generation Z, or the post-digital generation, were those who were born roughly between the mid 1990s and 2010. Unlike the baby boomers, this generation grew up through trying financial times and a lack of stability. 

As a result of this, Gen Z are driven by a determination to succeed, become wealthy and produce stability for themselves and the rest of the world. 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 unclear how this generation will cope when it comes to team building, when technologies encourage users to work alone. Together with Impact International, specialists in leadership development, we explore the differences between how Gen Z feel towards teamwork and the workplace within a digital landscape, compared to past generations who relied on face-to-face communication. 

A new type of worker

Gen Z, unlike baby boomers born in the 1950s, are more focused on learning new skills as they work – as opposed to being trained in a job and then staying in that job for an extended period of time. 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. 

As a result of these changes to working practice, some have argued that Generation Z are more readily able to adapt to rapid changes, as their ability to process new information quickly is indicative of their working practices. 

Team players?

Although Gen Z are always looking to further their skills and improve their own development, how does this relate to building a team? 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. 

Team-orientated individuals is a more appropriate description of how this demographic work and interact with each other. 

By performing individual tasks that contribute to a team initiative, Gen Z feel as though they are retaining their individuality, whilst still contributing towards something greater than themselves. This is unlike workers of the past, who would usually work together in less isolating environments so that a job was completed. 

In more horizontal forms of management, where responsibility is spread over a number of individuals, to become influential takes time and effort on the individual’s behalf so that other workers can recognise the importance of their contributions. 

Strangely, although Gen Z are less team-orientated, they have a greater sense of work culture and their 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. 

Impact on the workplace

What this means for the workplace is that supervisors need to be more flexible and trusting of Gen Z employees. 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 and motivation, or an attempt to leave the organisation. 

By allowing them to progress into the future of management, based on their individual merits, workplace managers of today are slowly coming round to the idea that employees of the future need to be ready for any working situation that comes their way. 


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