Reverse mentoring is when “Traditional mentoring as we know it has shifted into reverse, turning Gen Y into the must-have mentors for senior leaders who want to stay ahead.” (Microsoft, 2015) It’s the idea that younger people, such as students can mentor people such as managers and that both the mentor and mentee can take something away from it.
We have identified five reasons why an organisation should adopt reverse mentoring:
The whole reason for reverse mentoring is to gain new knowledge or increase current knowledge. By bringing in someone younger to mentor you it allows for a different perspective. For example, a manager who has been in a job for 15 years will have a different perspective on organisational issues than someone who is still at university. It is similar to writing an essay or report you have spent so much time looking at it that sometimes the most obvious mistakes go unnoticed but when you pass it on to a colleague who is looking at the report with ‘fresh eyes’ they can sometimes notice things that you can’t. The same applies to reverse mentoring these students can bring fresh perspectives to an organisation.
Reverse mentoring is great for learning future technological trends and understanding current ones. The younger people involved in the reverse mentoring process have grown up using technology as a large part of everyday life. This includes the use of social media platforms. This is a major advantage to organisations as it means they are up to date on current trends and can pass these on to an organisation.
Both parties in the reverse mentoring process have something to give and something to gain. This exchange of knowledge really helps to close the gap in both of their knowledge. For example, a tech savvy student will give knowledge to a business about current trends or their perspective whilst gaining insight into other aspects of an organisation such as how an organisation works and gaining advice for their future career. This knowledge exchange enhances the knowledge of both the mentor and mentee.
The process of reverse mentoring is an empowering one. It empowers both the mentor and mentee. They either gain new skills or enhance old ones. From the perspective of the younger person involved this will give them a confidence boost and prepare them for their future careers and for the older generation it will increase their confidence in their knowledge of things such as technology and their ability to work with other generations.
Oftentimes new and old generations are not familiar with working together. A positive of reverse mentoring is that older and new generations learn to work together and understand the value that can be gained from either generation. By having experience of reverse mentoring it encourages positive relationships between all generations within an organisation and helps organisations understand the different strengths each generation brings.
MICROSOFT, 2015. Reverse mentoring: How millennials are becoming the new mentors - Microsoft News Centre Europe. [online]. Microsoft News Centre Europe. Available from: https://news.microsoft.com/eur... [Accessed 12 August 2019].