Reverse mentoring enables businesses to benefit from younger employees' expertise in the digital world and more
Mentoring is changing. In and outside of the workplace, momentum is building around the concept of reverse mentoring. Said to be initially championed by former GE CEO Jack Welch in the late '90s, its a trend thats grown in popularity as a young generation of Millennials enters the work force.
These digital natives have a wealth of knowledge in areas such as social media and mobile, and they are in tune with the ever-growing app culture. All of these skills are invaluable for companies but often are missing from the top.
What It Is
Reverse mentoring flips the traditional mentoring model: the student becomes the teacher. The usual mentee assumes the role of mentor, working with a senior leader on a particular topic of interest.
Today, were seeing this type of program employed to help leaders grow their understanding and familiarity with social media, mobile apps and devices, and their digital presence. But its certainly not limited to technology-related areas. While the value for seasoned leaders is clear to us digital natives, it is the notion that this mentorship model goes both ways that can help organizations better understand and adopt it.
Reverse mentoring, when done correctly, is a great mechanism to engage junior members of the work force, recognize new skills and potential leaders, and provide them valuable exposure to leadership.
Reverse Mentoring in Action
There are some good examples of organizations embracing these types of mentoring programs.
TD Bank created a Genius Program to help drive greater engagement around many of its social business initiatives. Many of the geniuses were digital natives and junior employees who helped execs and managers better understand how to use social media in a business setting.
Next page- So do you have a contingent of Millennials in your work force?
About the author
Dan heads up Market Engagement at Zinc, an enterprise startup transforming how we communicate in today's mobile workplace. Prior to Zinc, he spent four years at Deloitte as a strategy consultant where he helped clients in the public, private, and non-profit sectors transform their organizations through the use of digital technology. Dan graduated summa cum laude from Loyola University Maryland. Born and raised in New York, he recently returned and is now residing in Manhattan.Twitter LinkedIn