Reverse Mentoring: Definition and how to Implement
The present corporate world has seen a balance with both baby boomers and millennials forming up the workforce. However, that balance will soon shift, and the workforce will comprise the millennial generation. And some significant organizational changes will be seen where the baby boomers have to adapt to the necessary changes and developments.
Keeping that factor in mind, reverse mentoring comes into place to help the senior executives so that the workforce’s momentum to work remains consistent without any hiccups.
So, what is reverse mentoring, and how does it help an organization. Let’s have a look.
Reverse Mentoring Definition
When we think of the word mentoring, the first thing that comes to mind is that an experienced person or an employee provides the necessary support and training to the younger employees.
However, it is entirely different when it comes to reverse mentoring. The younger employees become mentors to the older generations and help them adapt to this ever-growing corporate environment. It is a learning process for the betterment of the organization in the long run.
At first, it might be quite tricky for senior employees to take advice from younger employees. However, the younger employees belonging to the millennial generation have much to offer in collaboration, innovation, and technology.
The process might take some time to settle, but once everyone gets its hang, it becomes relatively easy for organizations to practice the program.
Benefits of Reverse Mentoring
One of the significant benefits is that the generational gaps are closed down so that there is a collaborative workforce aiming at the organization’s goals and objectives.
The sharing of digital skills becomes an essential factor in forming a digitally advanced workforce.
It drives cultural change where the orthodox ways of thinking blend in with creative and innovative minds which drives fresh perspectives.
When implemented correctly, it builds positive and strong bonds between the employees, which can also be called a reverse mentoring relationship.
Reverse mentoring provides an excellent opportunity for the younger generation to learn from their experienced colleagues. Likewise, the older generation gets to know the changes that the new generation will bring with them in the future.
Implementing a Reverse Mentoring Program
1. Encourage Open Mindset
For an organization to successfully implement a reverse mentoring program, the workforce must have an open mindset so that the experienced employees are eager to learn from the new employees.
When the workforce has an open mindset, it becomes relatively easy for the organization to bring change, which is beneficial to everyone. You can encourage open-mindedness by practicing active listening, exchanging ideas regularly, acknowledging others’ efforts, being mindful, and much more.
However, do keep in mind that it is a two-way process which might take time for the employees to get used to it.
2. Define the Purpose of the Program
To kickstart the reverse mentoring process, you need to hand out the program’s primary purpose and how it will bring positive results for the organization and the workforce.
Set realistic goals and expectations so that employees are capable of achieving it. And to measure their success rate, you can set specific metrics, which makes it easier to keep track of the progress. Detailed information will further help you refine the program and churn out the mistakes you can make.
A more refined program will bear increased positive results and a rise in participation, indicating a higher success rate.
3. Create a Framework for the Program
A smooth running of the program will require a planned framework that will be the process’s backbone. Without a proper structure, there are high chances that the reverse mentoring program will create a lot of confusion in the organization.
Schedule brainstorming sessions with the management and the employees about what needs to be done to make the program effective. Ask for suggestions, and come up with different ideas that will make it employee-friendly for increased sustainability.
The more feedback you gain, the better your program will be because it will be based on everyone’s balanced organization choices.
4. Keep the Communication Channels Open
Communication is a two-way process where everyone has to interact with each other for better understanding. It is the key to indulge everyone in the program actively. And it’s not only putting forward your opinions; one has to listen to what others have to say and respect it simultaneously.
Mentoring is not easy but with a robust communication system, running the program becomes relatively less burdensome. Everyone in the organization will build trust and foster transparency with the proper communication channels, which will be crucial.
Furthermore, the younger workers will form a formidable relationship with their team members that will bring efficiency in the workplace.
5. Match your mentors appropriately
Another crucial aspect to keep in mind is that the mentors and mentees will need to have some compatibility level with each other. It is essential because if they are not compatible, there might be a definite rift between them, creating an unwanted situation.
To figure out the compatibility levels, consider using simple survey tools where the parameters will be their skills, understanding power, and different personalities. Upon the successful completion of your survey, assess the results, and start the pairing accordingly.
Do make sure that everyone is at their comfort levels in the initial stage, which will help them bond. Afterward, move on to your reverse mentoring process’s next steps so that you can achieve maximum efficiency.
Summing it Up
The practice of reverse mentoring is reliant on both the younger and the older generation. It will take the collaboration of both parties to make it a successful process. It will take a good amount of time for everyone to ease up, however, the positive results are endless which will only bring impactful change for the organization and its employees in the long run.