What comes to your mind when you think of the word ‘mentoring’? Knowledge transfer from a senior executive to younger colleagues, right? Not really. If you take a careful look at today’s workplaces, you will notice that they are multi-generational. This means it is easy and possible for reverse mentoring to take place. By this, we aren’t saying that traditional mentor-mentee relationships don’t exist anymore. All we mean to say is that they have undergone a tremendous change over the last couple of years. Reverse mentoring is a means to upgrade the senior leaders’ understanding of current trends, technology and social media vis-à-vis the young workforce that is more tech savvy. The benefits of reverse mentoring are such that it becomes a win-win situation for all.
Ends knowledge gap for the young and the old employee
With reverse mentoring, learning becomes a two-way street and both generation of employees share a relationship where role reversals become common. Each has something to learn from and share with the other. Take, for instance, the movie The Intern. Robert De Niro plays a retiree gets to work as an intern under a young entrepreneur played by Anne Hathaway. We see De Niro accepting the fact that he has much to learn from his young new boss as well as all the other younglings who make up the organization’s workforce. At the same time, he also brings his experience to the table for his colleagues to learn from and take advantage of. Clearly, the mentor-mentee relationship blurs as both learn from each other.
Dissolves the barrier of power and position
Historically, experience has always been associated with seniority, but not anymore. Today, you can spot young managers taking on leadership positions and mentoring older employees. However, such situations also ask for constant monitoring and avoidance of circumstances that entail power struggles. The current need of the hour is to apprise senior/older employees of the benefits of reverse mentoring without them looking down upon their junior/new colleagues.
Increases employee retention
Having a mentor is always beneficial, especially so for Millennials who get to learn plenty from the experience of senior employees. With the learning that comes from a senior’s knowledge and experience, leadership doesn’t seem an unattainable feat to them. They begin to enjoy the responsibilities that come with leadership, thereby resulting in job satisfaction. In fact, seasoned employees also rise to prominence – even those who might be close to retirement – for they pass their expertise to the younger wave of employees. Industry practices find new takers and older employees also learn about the industry and social media trends that ups their growth curve. Certainly one of the benefits of reverse mentoring that is keeping attrition rate in check. This is to say that it is a win-win situation for the organization since they have a workforce that is eager to give their best.
Senior executives don’t feel obsolete
Learning is not limited to any particular age and who knows it better than the senior executives who may already be feeling the heat. This is where reverse mentoring rescues them from feeling obsolete and useless to the organization. As long as they are willing to embrace knowledge transfer happens, they will remain relevant to the organization. Simultaneously, when they teach what they’ve learnt over the years to the younger lot, it turns into a fulfilling relationship for both parties and efforts towards mentoring – both reverse and otherwise – are successful. No
There is absolutely no reason you should not implement reverse mentoring at your workplace, if you haven’t already. It reiterates and supports the idea that everyone has something new to learn any given day. In fact, if they’re not learning a new trick of their trade, they’re certainly lagging behind. This eventually does no good to the organization or themselves.
What do you think about the above listed benefits of reverse mentoring? As for us, we think the best way to conclude this piece is with this quote:
“In learning you will teach, and in teaching you will learn.” ~ Phil Collins