Why Companies Should Consider Reverse Mentoring

  • On April 5, 2023

Reverse mentoring flips the more traditional style of mentoring by having the less-seasoned professional act as the mentor, offering advice to a more experienced coworker. This method of mentoring broadens the perspectives of both professionals, facilitates the transfer of soft skills, helps build confidence, promotes lifelong learning, and builds a bridge between different generations in the workforce.

Professional Perspectives
Reverse mentoring gives higher-ranking employees better visibility of the work done across the organization. Senior mentees may appreciate the chance to learn what entry-level employees are doing and the tools they’re using to do it. Less experienced workers get insights into the mentality needed to climb the ranks. And senior managers can dig deeper into areas that may have been less relevant when they entered the profession, especially with the widespread growth of technology and the appearance of concepts like flexible working, diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Transfer of Soft Skills
Partnering with younger workers can help less technically minded leaders work more efficiently, perhaps using tools they’ve never utilized before. Senior mentors can also swap notes with younger personnel with more traditional methods than helps them understand consumer trends and behavior.

Navigating the workplace can be tricky, especially for new hires who may be right out of college. As such, reverse mentoring can be an invaluable way to help younger, less-experienced employees gain confidence and start building their careers. By sharing ideas and collaborating with more senior members of the organization, they’ll learn more about the company culture and sharpen soft skills that will serve them well as they grow in their roles.

Lifelong Learning
It’s easy for professionals who are further along in their careers to let their skills and knowledge get a little stale. But every day offers the chance to learn something new. While it’s no substitute for a comprehensive upskilling and reskilling program, the experience of being paired with an up-and-coming colleague may inspire more tenured team members to reflect on how their role has evolved and consider ways to expand their skill sets.

Building Bridges
Different age groups within a working environment can expose different influences on work styles. Handling tasks and ways to address problems to find solutions are also examples of different ways various age groups within the workplace can influence team prosperity. Mentoring and reverse mentoring arrangements help promote mutual respect between generations and an appreciation that a single problem can be approached in multiple ways.

Implementing a Reverse Mentoring Program
If you’re ready to implement a reverse mentoring program, there are a few things to consider. Understanding why you are implementing is a great start, articulating why you’re doing it and how it advances the goals of the business and its employees. It’s the first thing prospective candidates will want to know. Setting some metrics from the outset will allow you to track your reverse mentoring program’s successes and shortcomings. Keep up with participants over a set period of time to see how the program has helped them in their careers.

When you’re just starting out, choose participants who are passionate about the program and likely to recommend it to their colleagues. Learning can always be a two-way street. By cutting across traditional methodologies and empowering your less-experienced employees to guide their more experienced colleagues, you can build a learning culture in your organization where everyone feels invested in and valued. 

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