The Selling Factory

Understanding Gen Z: Uniting the Generational Gap at Work

Written by Sue-Ming Frauenhofer

Sue-Ming is a double gator graduate (B.S., Psychology and M.S., Management) and the marketing manager at The Selling Factory. Through her creative and methodical vision, she engages both students and entrepreneurs to help them find their version of success.

Photo by ROMAN ODINTSOV 

Boomers are dinosaurs who are overly rigid and close-minded. Gen X are cynical because they were forgotten by their parents. Millennials are lazy and have unrealistic expectations. As for Gen Z, they can’t get anywhere without the help of new technology advancements.

These are just some of the stereotypes that we associate with each generation. It’s true new technology advancements, like online GPS, have made life substantially more convenient. And ridiculing the generation after you is nothing new. The thing about stereotypes is not that they’re false – just incomplete. In the end, these generalizations only allow further divide in the workplace. 

Owners, managers, and entry-level employees should trash the generational stereotypes and start understanding the context of different generations. Empathetic workplace solutions call for a cohesive and collaborative team that promotes everyone’s success.

GENERATIONAL DIFFERENCES IN THE WORKPLACE 

Currently, there is consensus that five distinct generations are active in the global workforce. Traditionalists (born 1922-1945), baby boomers (1946-1964), Gen X (1965-1980), Gen Y/Millennials (1981-1996) and Gen Z (1997-2012) are the five distinct generations. By 2025, Gen Z will make up 27% of the workforce. Businesses should strive to bridge the gap between each generations workplace cultural differences by asking the following questions: 

What breakthrough events has each generation endured in their time growing up and understanding the world? What does each generation have in common? How did they learn to interact with their peers? How do they approach authority and hierarchy? What is their comfort with new technology advancements and change?

Although the hierarchical culture was prevalent in past generations, Gen Z is resistant to respecting someone on title or age alone. Respect must be earned based on the quality of contributions. It’s a fault line that crisscrosses industries and issues. Overall, Gen Z is altering traditional workplace practices. They’re proving that businesses can be just as successful with more empathetic and inclusive workplace solutions.

When it comes to Gen Z, they want paid time off when coping with physical sickness and decreased mental health. They question the expected 8 hour work day when they can complete their to-do list by the afternoon. Furthermore, they demand what they see as an overdue shift away from corporate neutrality toward an open expression of values. Not acknowledging these generational differences hinders a company’s potential for growth in the marketplace.

A PURPOSEFUL AND BOUNTIFUL CAREER

What does Gen Z desire in the employment market? Well, Gen Z values a structured work life, but they also prefer some flexibility in the way they accomplish tasks. Due to the ever changing nature of new technology advancements, they prefer flexibility. Not only how, but also where their responsibilities are completed. A hybrid option is one of the workplace solutions that can be offered. Allow them to work remotely if their responsibilities can be completed outside the office. Also, provide them a physical environment to have those in-person interactions that are important to building relationships.

Gen Z wants the opportunity to add input on process improvements and participate in highly collaborative management relationships. They look to management to strongly establish the company’s mission and set an example to help them grow in their careers. They will seek out environments that prioritize social responsibility and diversity. Companies should lean into the desire for deeper purpose. Help them understand your company’s mission and how it helps make the world at large a better place.

Not to get confused with the common notions, Gen Z cares about their paycheck as much as any other generation. With the uncertainty of the state of the world and inflation higher than ever, they want to save and spend – big. Understandably, they strive for financial security. They have even taken on side hustles to add multiple channels of income. They don’t see the world in this or that, black or white, money or passion – they demand both this and that.

WORKPLACE SOLUTIONS BETWEEN GENERATIONS

If you want to build a brand for longevity, listen to Gen Z. There is no denying that they will be the ones leading our workforce headstrong. Businesses looking to attract Gen Z should consider the groundbreaking events that led to the ways Gen Z navigate today’s world. By practicing empathy in our ever changing environment, businesses can better communicate with Gen Z and meet their needs.

Don’t just listen to Gen Z, learn from them. The Selling Factory created a report discussing Gen Z job expectations in the hiring process, employment desires, and underlying motivations. To learn more about the inner workings of the Gen Z mind, download our full report here. Also, keep using that GPS to navigate your company’s mission throughout the developing times ahead.

Understanding Gen Z

Are you looking to hire recent graduates out of college? Want to know more about Gen Z students’ concerns and desires as they enter the workforce? Read our full 2022 job expectations report.

Mia Semel

Campaign Manager

Before graduating with a B.A. in Sustainability Studies, Mia took on multiple roles while interning at The Selling Factory, including sales development, recruiting, and leading campaigns. She is an active listener and effective communicator, specializing in fostering genuine connections and finding common ground among differing perspectives. She aims to find practical, creative solutions regarding sustainable development, biodiversity and the climate crisis.

mia.semel@thesellingfactory.com

Kira Baker

Campaign Manager

Kira recently graduated from the University of Florida and received her Master of Science in Entrepreneurship. She is passionate about helping businesses grow and connecting with new people. Some of her hobbies include traveling and hiking. She hopes to visit all of the National Parks one day!

kira@thesellingfactory.com

Jared Glosser

Vice President

After graduating from UF in 2014 with a B.A. in history, Jared started his professional career Fundraising for a non-partisan political lobby in South Florida. In 2016, Jared moved back to Gainesville to work for a non-profit, recruit students for international travel opportunities, and pursue his MBA at UF. Jared has been with The Selling Factory since 2019 focusing on operations, client onboarding, and client success.

jared@thesellingfactory.com

Ian Massenburg

Chief Operating Officer

A graduate of University of Florida (B.A. 2001), Ian Massenburg brings over 18 years of sales executive and sales management experience to The Selling Factory. Before coming on-board, Ian worked alongside Brad at Infinite Energy, and then spent his next 3 years as VP of Partnerships selling SaaS products B2B. Ian brings his vast knowledge and experience to the team and to our partner companies served.

ian@thesellingfactory.com

Damien Paulk

Campaign Manager

Damien is a University of Florida graduate that recently joined the team full time after working as a Sales Development Intern for one year. As a Campaign Manager, Damien looks forward to contributing to the growth and success of The Selling Factory. When Damien is not at work he enjoys exploring Gainesville with his girlfriend and dog or watching the Gators dominate college football.

damien@thesellingfactory.com

Brendan Viehman

Campaign Manager

Brendan graduated from Liberty University with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and Project Management. For the past 5 years, he has enjoyed working with blockchain technology and cryptocurrency development. In his free time, he surfs and makes personal finance videos for his YouTube channel.

brendan@thesellingfactory.com

Savannah Howard

Campaign Manager

A graduate from the University of Florida’s College of Journalism and Communications, Savannah obtained her Bachelor of Science in public relations with a concentration in French. After almost two years as a sales development intern for The Selling Factory, she joined the leadership team in 2021 taking on the role of Campaign Manager. In her free time, Savannah enjoys going to concerts and festivals and cooking for her friends and family.

savannah@thesellingfactory.com

Zack Kampf

Campaign Manager

Zack is a creative technologist with experience in advertising, event planning, and game design. He started as an SDR in 2018 and has been with TSF ever since. Upon graduating UF in 2019 he became a campaign manager and is currently seeking a master's degree from NYU. In his spare time, you can find him at the intersection of Art & Technology!

zack@thesellingfactory.com

Josiah Blakemore

Campaign Manager

Josiah has over 8 years of sales experience, worked with Brad and Ian at Infinite Energy, and also spent time selling SaaS as Director of Partnerships at SharpSpring. He’s always been very competitive and has a love for sports and games. He enjoys solving problems and coaching team members to do the same!

josiah@thesellingfactory.com

Sue-Ming Frauenhofer

Marketing Manager

Sue-Ming received both her B.S. in Psychology and M.S. in Management from The University of Florida. As a student, she took on multiple roles while interning at The Selling Factory, including sales development, marketing, and recruiting, eventually leading to her current role as Marketing Manager. She enjoys refining her taste in music and visual art, engaging in mindfulness and meditative practices, and frolicking outside with her sidekick pup.

sueming@thesellingfactory.com

Adam Grossman

Chief Development Officer

Adam is an ordained rabbi, who has founded multiple ventures focused on workforce development. Hired as CEO by a failing non-profit, in over 5 years, his ingenuity saved the organization, which led Slingshotfund.org to recognize it as one of North America’s most innovative Jewish non-profits. His expertise to identify, cultivate, and on-board talent ensures our student teams meet our partners’ needs.

adam@thesellingfactory.com

Brad Gamble

Chief Executive Officer

After graduating from UF in 1999 with a B.S.B.A, Brad Gamble has dedicated himself to sales management, branding, coaching, and building companies. He served as the VP of Sales & Marketing for Infinite Energy until 2014, when he founded The Selling Factory. He has dedicated himself to teaching critical skills to tomorrow’s leaders, and helping companies achieve sales success and revenue growth.

brad@thesellingfactory.com