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How ‘Reverse Mentoring’ Breaks Down Barriers and Improves the Workplace


12th Dec'22
How ‘Reverse Mentoring’ Breaks Down Barriers and Improves the Workplace | OpenGrowth

Recently, the term "reverse mentorship" has gained popularity in corporate circles, but is it appropriate for your organization? What are the benefits of reverse mentoring?


Let's define it first. When we think of mentoring, we frequently picture more seasoned workers taking on younger colleagues and teaching them the ropes of the company.


The role of mentorship is reversed. It's intended to enable less experienced personnel to impart their knowledge and suggestions to more experienced ones.


The theory behind this expanding trend is that pairing together employees from different generations, such as baby boomers and constantly connected millennials, makes it easier for them to share their knowledge and ideas. This is advantageous to businesses and promotes a learning and growing atmosphere.


While younger employees pick up crucial business fundamentals they didn't study in school, senior employees develop new talents and push themselves beyond their comfort zones.


It can be challenging for a worker who has worked for a company for more than 20 years to listen to advice from younger, less experienced coworkers. However, younger workers have a lot to offer, particularly in terms of teamwork, innovation, and technology.


You can create a successful employee mentoring program by including a reverse mentoring component in your employee development strategy, as demonstrated by the following.


1. Give your business a new outlook


From the time when everyone used paper-based systems and worked in closed offices or cubicles to the modern digital workplace and open-plan offices, the way we work has changed tremendously over time.


In this sense, younger employees have a lot to teach, especially millennials and the upcoming Generation Z, who have grown up using technology. They developed their professional skills in more sociable, inclusive, and collaborative work settings.


For millennials and Generation Z, eating and breathing are as natural to them as tweeting and texting. Particularly in areas like social media and your company's online presence, they can fill in the gaps some of your more seasoned workers may have.


So why not take use of all the information and wisdom your less experienced colleagues have to offer?


Most of the time, young employees are more than happy to contribute their knowledge to improve present corporate procedures. They may assist you in spreading enthusiasm throughout the business for process simplification, which can help win over staff who might be more reluctant to change.


Reverse mentors frequently end up serving as internal advocates for increasing productivity across the entire company, such as:


  • Making the transition to a digital platform from an antiquated system of performance evaluation with the help of technology.


  • Establishing contact with potential customers via social networking.


  • Creating multi-media marketing materials with podcasts and videos of client reviews.


  • By utilizing video conferencing technology and contemporary mobile apps, reducing costly and needless trips.


  • Working with groups with a variety of backgrounds and experiences.


2. Encourage young leaders


two people talking


In general, younger employees do not view their allegiance to any particular organization as binding them to it. Reverse mentorship is a perfect fit for them because they are motivated by how their effort is valued.


Asking someone to share their knowledge, mentor, and inspire others is one of the best ways to express how much you value their abilities and contribution to the firm.


Reverse mentoring also improves communication among staff members and increases employees' sense of loyalty to your business and its principles. This sense of kinship and agreement on ideals is crucial for the fulfillment of millennials and Gen Z members.


3. Make the saw sharp and keep it that way


In today's job, lifelong learning is essential. Any employee must maintain their abilities in order to avoid becoming obsolete.


Reverse mentoring offers more seasoned workers the chance to sharpen and improve their well-established leadership techniques based on input, discussion, and open communication from their less seasoned counterparts. Additionally, they will discover there are lots of possibilities to impart their knowledge even though they may be the "mentee" in a reverse mentor relationship.


4. Impart essential business survival skills to new hires


For employees who have just graduated from college, the change from the classroom to the boardroom can be challenging. Senior-level employees often more than makeup for any technological inexperience with their business sense and knowledge of the sector.


Senior staff members can impart their in-depth knowledge of your company's cultural standards, insider knowledge of how business operations are conducted, appropriate terminology to use when explaining business concepts, and what to avoid.


Consider it Workplace 101 for beginners.


These kinds of untaught abilities are essential for surviving and excelling in the corporate world, yet are not taught in schools.


5. Dismantle generational prejudices


two people talking


How can reverse mentoring lead to more equitable workplaces?


The largest advantage of reverse mentoring is definitely this.


You only hear the stereotypes so frequently. Younger people don't put forth as much effort. The older generation is obstinate and dogmatic.


Avoid falling victim to preconceptions. In a similar vein, avoid drawing conclusions about certain generations that can be motivated by preconceptions.


For instance, even though Gen Z and millennials have grown up with technology, some of your older staff may be just as comfortable using digital procedures and communication. They may have decided to utilize and learn about technology on their own, whether for personal or professional reasons.


Regular interaction between all age groups dispels these myths. As one group gets to know what drives the others, the firm as a whole benefit from stronger collaboration and partnerships.


You may develop a synergy of skills and abilities by removing obstacles and empowering everyone in your multigenerational team to collaborate more effectively.


Your organization: is it ready for reverse mentoring?


Think about your ideal reverse mentoring program before starting one. Which should it be: formal or casual? Does this effort have the support of your staff?


It might be challenging for elderly people to take candid criticism from their younger counterparts at times. I've been here forever, they could believe. Who is this guy to instruct me? 


Provided there is opposition but you firmly believe that your business will benefit from a reverse mentorship program, you can still make it work if you handle the situation delicately. The secret is to properly conceptualize your mentoring relationship. You may say something like this rather than labeling the older employee as the mentee and the younger employee as the mentor:


"We want to put you up in a mentoring relationship so you can discuss how to improve the business while viewing it from a variety of aspects and views. Both of you have the chance to benefit from this experience in terms of learning and development.


By emphasizing the advantages of the partnership for both sides, you can equalize their positions.


How to design a program for reverse mentoring?


1. Establish criteria and standards


Select the program's informality or formality. Will your staff respond better to regular meetings with clear objectives or a casual conversation over coffee?


How will mentors and mentees be chosen and established? Similar backgrounds and gender, or more flexible standards? Decide what you want out of the relationship, whether it's a secure place to exchange ideas or a list of precise, quantifiable results.


2. Put a business need in there


two people talking


Reverse mentorships, whether official or informal, will be more effective if they concentrate on a larger business need rather than a single technology or activity.


For instance, rather than just concentrating on how they can help you create the ideal tweet, think about asking a tech-savvy employee for advice on how to use social media to produce more sales leads. Learning new talents is fantastic, but they must complement your corporate plan.


3. Regularly meet


Aim for at least an hour of meetings per week between mentors and mentees for the greatest outcomes.


Meetings must be frequent enough to give the mentor and mentee regular chances to engage in deep discourse, listen to one another, and have inspiring conversations about business. It shouldn't only be a monthly task they complete.




After reading these instructions, you're prepared to start a reverse mentoring program and enjoy the rewards. If it somewhat rattles up your business in a positive way, don't be shocked.


Reverse mentoring pushes all staff members to think creatively and critically about how they learn, work and think. Companies are increasingly utilizing this tactic to close the generational divide and promote business innovation and growth.


We at OpenGrowth, are committed to keeping you updated with the best content on the latest trendy topics from any major field. Also, both your feedback and suggestions are valuable to us. So, do share them in the comment section below.

A student in more ways than one. Trying to feed her curiosity with news, philosophy, and social commentary. 


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