First day of actual work after a week of orientation and induction. You can’t wait to test yourself and prove you’re a fast learner of facts. On the calendar, however, an unexpected request appears for a reserved mentoring session with a senior manager on how editing software works. The new hire trains those who have been with the company for several years! Isn’t the corporate world the opposite? Far from it.
Reverse mentoring leads directly to reducing the digital gap. This reverse mentoring appointment on the calendar shows that the company is moving toward internal sharing of knowledge and experiences; it is no longer just the newly hired young people who learn something new, and it is not just the seniors.
Corporate Mentoring: Meaning And How It Works
Let’s first take a step back and start with the meaning of more traditional corporate mentoring. Corporate mentoring is a process through which a more experienced individual with specific skills (the mentor) offers guidance, support, and advice to an organization’s less experienced individual (the mentee). This process is aimed at the professional and personal development of the mentee, allowing him to acquire new skills, overcome challenges, and grow as a professional.
It is an established practice in many organizations around the world. It is based on the idea that an individual can learn and develop more effectively through the guidance and support of someone with more experience. The mentor is usually a senior person or leader within the company, while the mentee is a younger or less experienced team member.
Reverse Mentoring In The Company: What Is It, And Why Is It Useful?
In the ever-changing business environment, the concept of mentoring has undergone a revolution with the introduction of “business reverse mentoring.” Reverse mentoring is a type of mentoring in which a junior employee takes on the role of mentor for a senior employee, manager, or supervisor. By this logic, a junior person shares their expertise (typically topics related to technology and digital media) with a more senior colleague who may be less familiar.
Reverse mentoring entered corporate dynamics following the advent of digital technology and the information revolution. Younger workers often have a deeper and more natural understanding of new technologies, social media, digital trends, and emerging market dynamics. In contrast, more senior professionals may not be as up-to-date.
The company focuses on a generational alliance functional to overcoming the digital gap and other knowledge and skill shortages, which puts the company in a position to grow by the knowledge and languages that the young generations, in particular Gen Z, share with senior colleagues and managers of other generations.
Reverse Mentoring: The Context
For the first time in history, four generations of professionals worked together in companies: boomers (1945–1965), Gen X (1965–1988), millennials (1980–1997), and Gen Z (until 2010). What they have in common is their diversity: different expectations, values, ways of working, and different learning styles and abilities.
Due to the acceleration of technological innovation that has occurred in recent decades and the impact on communication and relational dynamics, communication and engagement between these generations are neither fluid nor immune to misunderstanding since each generation is the product of different cultural and social backgrounds, which have influenced the emergence of often conflicting work ethics, mentalities, professional attitudes, and career aspirations.
Therefore, in a professional and entrepreneurial context where professionals of various generations work, it is not enough to bridge the digital gap of seniors; it is also essential to reduce the cultural and generational gap and learn to connect, motivate, and involve younger members of different teams.
Why Is Reverse Mentoring The Future Of Corporate Training?
Corporate reverse mentoring is an innovative approach that can benefit the organization significantly, stimulating growth, innovation, and collaboration between different generations. By implementing a reverse mentoring program, companies can harness the full potential of their human resources and remain competitive in the ever-changing business environment.
If you want to introduce reverse mentoring into your organization, consider leveraging this valuable source of corporate training across multiple generations of your employees. Below, we summarize the advantages for both companies and employees:
Openness to change and new ideas is fundamental to business innovation. Reverse mentoring fosters an environment where innovative ideas can emerge from every level of the organization.
Consolidate The Culture Of Long-Life Learning
Through the continuous and intergenerational exchange of skills and ideas, the company is not just a workplace but an environment where learning is not casual but institutionalized and progressive. Intergenerational cooperation and reducing the generation gap Younger mentors help senior colleagues stay abreast of new trends and digital developments.
With reverse mentoring, not only can senior colleagues be helped to learn new skills, but also, young mentors can explain to seniors what they know, making themselves known and appreciated better. Reverse mentoring helps reduce the generation gap by creating better mutual understanding between employees of different age groups. This can improve collaboration and cohesion within the organization.
Whoever finds a junior mentor also finds and appreciates his world. Collaboration and mutual understanding between workers of different age groups within the organization help overcome generational barriers.
From Junior To Leader
Everything written in the company’s vision statement and what was said in the candidate interviews regarding the company’s desire to invest in new junior hires’ leadership, relational, and communication skills is confirmed with reverse mentoring, which can maximize the value of younger team members.
Comparing professionals of different generations facilitates understanding different points of view, languages, perspectives, and expectations, making it natural to interpret the behaviors and requests of colleagues, partners, suppliers, and customers of different ages, cultural codes, and different social and educational backgrounds.
Also Read: How To Make Presentations With ChatGPT