Reverse mentoring: what it is and why use it in business

Reverse mentoring is literally mentoring in reverse, i.e. the younger generation teaching seniors how to digitize. It is useless to get stuck in already acquired skills, it is good to evolve, renew and learn from anyone who wants to teach us something; that is why reverse mentoring was born, for people who always want to improve regardless of age.

One never stops studying and enriching one’s knowledge, it is priceless and age-proactive to have a brain that is always active and proactive to change and evolution.

What is reverse mentoring?

Reverse mentoring is where a junior member shares his digital skills and knowledge with a senior member. It is a trump card for juniors, as they will be the key resource for the company, as they will have to train seniors in digital skills. A practical example can be teaching less practiced colleagues how to use ‘Google Calendar’, ‘Google Meet’ or other platforms and applications that simplify and speed up time. How to implement a reverse mentoring program? They are usually formal meetings where juniors and seniors come together to bridge the technology gap. The result is an enrichment of skills, and a serene working environment is the key to a company’s success.

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Reverse mentoring in companies: what is it for?

what is reverse mentoring

Man’s luck is the other man” As much as we sometimes believe that going it alone will go faster, in reality, it is the ‘team’ that goes further. Getting help from young people and listening to opinions from different points of view is a sign of great intelligence and open-mindedness and is in no way comparable to insecurity. When you find colleagues with digital skills, you find treasure!

Many companies have realized the importance and usefulness of reverse mentoring, and so they organize reverse mentoring programs by recruiting a target group of young people with high digital skills to be introduced into the team, of course, you win when you create a ‘team’ and no one conflicts, it’s not a competition of who is better, it’s simply an innovative way to grow together. Moreover, it is a very profitable opportunity for the company as it is cost-free and serves to empower all employees by making them more and more autonomous.

Companies requesting reverse mentoring come from a variety of sectors, the only exceptions being companies with employees in the lower to middle age bracket. At the beginning of the program, it is not certain that everything will go smoothly; there may be some members of the company who are a little skeptical about it because they are afraid of belittling their title, but once this phase has passed, one can only appreciate the benefits of the intergenerational exchange.

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How does a reverse mentoring program come into being?

Since reverse mentoring is an exchange of roles between juniors and seniors, when organizing formal meetings, winning strategies have to be worked out at the table in order to make this union fruitful:

  • It is appropriate and effective to teach all senior colleagues a basic standard level so that everyone can do the same things well, and be at the same level
  • Assigning each digital native a reasonable number of seniors (2 to 4) to be “trained” and supervised
  • Maintaining a weekly cadence at an organizational level
  • Providing the right tools to create a valid program
  • Set final goals, also writing down the starting point
  • And finally to evaluate the benefits obtained by each other

Furthermore, reverse mentoring can in turn be divided into three categories, namely:

  • At a distance, which is very common nowadays, since one does not have the opportunity to see one’s colleagues, but one should not be discouraged because even if in a virtual manner one can still learn effectively and interact with mentors via video calls.
  • In a group, here the mentor will have a larger group to follow, but even in a group, especially by helping each other, satisfactory results can be achieved.
  • Individual, i.e. one-to-one between junior and senior, following the traditional mentoring type.

Sharing with great knowledge of information and skills. 

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Why you should have a digital native on your team

We should all have a digital native in our work team, a point of reference to ask for help when we have difficulties with tools we have never used before. Today, technological innovation is racing, and not everyone can keep up, which is why those who are privileged, because they were ‘born with a smartphone in their hand’, have the opportunity to help, creating a ‘cultural revolution’, breaking down the prejudice that young people have nothing to teach and only have to learn.

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It is not a foregone conclusion that the reverse mentoring from Millennials’ generation can teach seniors something useful, but it is a thought we have to get used to and believe in. You have to break down stereotypes and be able to look beyond them, always be curious and open to change, and trust your neighbor. Why not use the new tools we have at our disposal? It can only be interesting to change certain habits and make room for young people and the digital world, which is increasingly present in our lives.

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