I recently returned from Total Solutions Plus — or TSP as it has come to be known — and I found it interesting that many of the seminars offered were about management and dealing with employees rather than on more technical topics and installation methods. But hiring and maintaining good employees is critical to the success of a company. And in this day and age, learning to work with the Millennial generation is also important.

While the younger generation may seem very different to you when it comes to work style, communication, and in general, their view on the world, it doesn’t automatically mean this is a bad thing. Everyone just needs to learn to work together.

In his presentation “Leading employees of all generations,” Dave Barry of FMI Corp. pointed out Millennials do not want to sit at a desk 60 hours a week like Baby Boomers do. While Baby Boomers are considered the hardest working generation, they have an aversion to technology and teamwork.

“Baby Boomers put their head down and think if they do a good job they get a promotion,” explained Barry. “Millennials want to look ahead and see what is coming. They want friends at work. If they don’t have a connection, they are less likely to be loyal to the company.”

Barry told the audience the biggest things that have changed between the generations are means of communication and technology. He said Millennials are seeking more open work environments. “They want constant reassurance, because that’s how they are raised.”

Both Millennials and Generation X value time for family and friends. While Baby Boomers don’t mind devoting endless hours to their job, the younger generations want to do their work but also have time to enjoy life. And Barry brought up the point that just because someone is working 50 or 60 hours a week doesn’t necessarily mean they are productive the entire time. It is possible to buckle down at work for fewer hours and accomplish the same things.

“The challenge is to create more flexibility,” said Barry. Understandably, tile contractors can’t work from home, but employers need to find other ways to reward their employees and give them the job flexibility they crave. “92% of Millennials are more likely to stay another five years if they feel upper management has their back,” he said. “Create a place where people want to stay.”

The world continues to evolve — both in terms of technology and people. In order to maintain a successful business, it is crucial to make adjustments to keep up. It’s important to realize that while these younger generations might seem different in their philosophies, it doesn’t mean it can’t work. Understanding how they think and what makes them thrive will help in creating a work environment where everyone can co-exist and work together for the good of your business.