When the more experienced, seasoned and established employees are guided by their youthful co-workers, that’s when you know convention at the workplace does indeed run contrary to the natural order of things.
And reverse mentoring is the epitome of that reversal!
What Is Reverse Mentoring?
Taking the road less taken, rather than the well-beaten way, reverse mentoring is when the younger employees (even freshers) turn mentors for the most seasoned staff in the organisation. This switching of roles helps both the freshers and the experienced to comprehend better the subtleties of each other’s modus operandi at work. Besides, it gives the older employees a handle on the technological savviness that the younger ones so naturally imbue.
And has the idea caught on?
The idea of reverse mentoring has progressed admirably owing to the win-win benefits for the mentee and mentor and has proven to be progressively successful for employees across levels, cutting across the hierarchies that previously were binding. The concept has worked exceedingly well for many organisations across the world, and it continues to be a favorite HR-led technique even today.
How Is Reverse Mentoring Different From Traditional Mentoring?
Traditional, casual and formal mentoring have always been considered the noblest techniques for vocational improvement. Possibly so because traditional mentoring is predicated on the supposition that more established employees who are progressed in their professions can teach the more youthful co-workers and help move them up the company pecking order. Besides, there is generous proof that mentors regularly benefit from these connections, as well.
You wouldn’t be faulted in thinking that mentoring is a variation of apprenticeships, as in both the cases, the mentorship programme is intended to open doors for one individual to learn abilities and grow proficient because of an association with a more seasoned partner who has more learning and experience.
In the argument for reverse mentoring, one can say that this concept turns the worldview of conventional mentorship around. Junior workers share aptitudes and learning that the ranking staff needs, to cultivate inclusivity and keep up with the technological advancements at the workplace.
However, in both traditional and reverse mentoring, inter-professional connections are shaped, which in turn help make a pathway for bi-directional learning by both the mentor and mentee!
How Reverse Mentoring Can Help Your Organisation?
Here’s how establishing a reverse mentoring program can benefit your organisation!
A reverse mentorship program is an extraordinary method to allow your employees to associate and gain from one another. The idea of a mentee relationship in reverse, takes into account a superior trade of a fresher set of beliefs and newer information, allowing the organisation to benefit from the improved skillsets of the workforce in general!
Reverse mentoring works wonders for the junior staff, in terms of boosting their confidence and giving them the assurance that their voices will be heard. With the making of reverse mentorship programs, organisations can build up the commitment among their existing workforce. All this has an incredible impact on the overall productivity – you have engaged, skilled employees who are focused on helping the organisation grow.
Besides, the mentor-mentee relationship makes for a great working environment, focusing on learning and improvement, instead of one-upmanship and non-beneficial competition!
While it is true that the more seasoned employees see the youth as not very profitable, the youth disregard the seniority’s adaptability and receptiveness to innovation.
And it is in this scenario that reverse mentorship programs work to change firmly instilled points of view that might be hindering natural hierarchical diversity.
Studies show that millennials and ‘Gen Z’ers or the twenty to thirty-year-olds are less worried about religion, sexual preferences or character and dimension of capacity/incapacity. By having open discussions, the younger set of employees can undo the convictions held by the more seasoned employees.
Reverse mentoring encourages people to talk about their thoughts & points of view and has opened up many new horizons that might not have occurred in a traditional mentorship program.
In a nutshell, reverse mentoring, when implemented correctly, can include valuable and essential points of view for the two sides of the tutor mentee relationship.
Besides, isn’t a two-way street much better than a one-way road!
How To Set Up A Reverse Mentorship Program For Your Company!
This is what the HR personnel will need to do to begin a Reverse Mentoring Program at the workplace:
1. Implement a mentoring pact:
Mentoring connections are fostered in a more positive way when there are legit mentorship pacts that detail out the mentor-mentee agreement. When the HR office draws up a clear layout plan of the tangible/intangible expectations of the reverse mentorship program, the same can be used as a formal understanding which can help keep the mentors and mentees in agreement during the course of the program.
What the pact should include:
- The recurrence of gatherings: Since it is going to be expected that the senior staff will be understandably more preoccupied with their professional commitments, and consequently not have the time to meet more than once per month, it is best advised to keep up a customary timetable that both parties agree to.
- Objectives and Goal Setting: Explicitly setting realistic expectations, especially with regard to what the mentees desire, be it specific aptitudes or crisp viewpoints on issues, for instance, does help to quantify the goals of the reverse mentorship program.
- Duration and timeline of the program: While it is normal for some reverse mentoring programs to keep going for a couple of months contingent upon representative needs, some others do end soon enough.
It’s wise to have a discussion on the estimated timeline of the program, so neither party feels overburdened.
2. Matchmaking between Mentors and Mentees:
Your organisation can encourage mentors to reach out to potential mentees on their own or you can create a more formal program. It has been observed that the formal reverse mentoring approach works better on the off chance you presume your senior representatives won’t feel sure (or happy) with stepping up to the plate and manufacturing an association with a potential mentee independently.
Because the basic premise of reverse mentoring functions inversely, it’s best that the HR division maintains a roster of recognized mentees and potential mentors. That way, you get a chance to match mentees to mentors of alternate ages and educational experiences aside from guaranteeing the best learning chance for both parties.
Reverse mentoring can be a great way to do away with the generational barriers that create tension in the company. A well-defined reverse mentorship program can work wonders for your company’s growth!