A spotlight has been shining on reverse mentoring lately, as organisations aim to increase “intergenerational collaboration and understanding”.
What is reverse mentoring?
Reverse mentoring’s core purpose is to bridge the knowledge gap between generations within an organisation. It gained popularity in the 1990s as a way for senior executives and leaders to stay current with technological advancements.
An example of this is a 21-year-old junior member of staff teaching a baby boomer how to use Snapchat and Tiktok as marketing channels.
Reverse mentoring vs sponsorship
Together Platform discusses that people often misconstrue sponsorship and reverse mentoring.
Sponsorship is where organisations support and prepare employees for leadership and promotion opportunities. In this case, senior employees push for more opportunities for promotion for the junior worker.
Reverse mentorship, on the other hand, enables older employees to learn new concepts while giving younger employees access to their wealth of experience.
Together Platform highlights that reverse mentoring can serve many different purposes within an organisation including:
- Closing the generational gap – this format of workplace mentoring can bridge the gap between senior employees’ wealth of knowledge and junior employees’ new ideas.
- Empowering leaders and employees – The Society for Human Resource Management highlight that “87 percent of mentors and mentees feel empowered by their mentoring relationships”.
- Increasing creativity and innovation – Working with different generations teaches employees new ways of thinking and fresh ideas. Thus providing them with a more open-minded and innovative approach to their work.
- Preventing quiet quitting and increasing millennial retention. By implementing reverse mentoring in a workplace, leaders highlight that they are interested in employees’ wellbeing. Moreover, The Society for Human Resource Management states that this engages “[junior employees] in the mentoring process… and gives opportunities for further professional development”.
- This type of mentoring aids in navigating prejudices and fostering trust while promoting diversity, equality, and inclusion (DEI). Additionally, it lengthens the time that leaders and underrepresented workers spend in person. So deepening our comprehension of the difficulties encountered at work.
Is now the right time?
If you want to encourage collaboration inside your organisation and give employees from different backgrounds more of a voice, you should use reverse mentoring.