What is Reverse Mentoring?

Traditionally when an employee enters a company, they automatically take the student role. That is where they have a higher level employee such as an executive or manager train and teach them the ropes. Everyone knows how useful it is to mentor the young employee and help them develop. What you do not know is that the reverse holds the same truth. The younger  colleague can do a lot more to help you than you might believe.

Why your employee should be your boss | Reverse Mentoring

With the quick rise of handheld technology, phone applications, social media platforms in the last decade , there is a large percentage of people in their thirties and older who still have not adopted to the current year that we live in and do not know how to use these tools to their fullest potential or at all. Luckily, our younger tech savvy counterpart knows about the latest and greatest tools out there. Not only do they know the tools, but they are in touch with the culture and the buying habits of the people. 

"Reverse mentoring", is the basic idea that an older and more experienced manager can still learn from the inexperienced younger employee. The younger employee in his 20s or 30s teaches the older employee, how to navigate or more effectively use the latest workplace technology, social media platforms, know what younger crowd is thinking and doing , and this results in keeping their job skills up to date. Anything that you are feeling hesitant about learning because it might be hard, can now be shown to you by a reverse mentor.

Why is Reverse Mentoring needed?

In the technologically advancing workplace it is important that anyone lacking in skills needed in today’s technological age, make the necessary changes for not only themselves, but the business as a whole.  Areas where a mentee may become the mentor, are for teaching how to navigate on social media, demonstrating how to use productivity apps, or identifying  current consumer trends. To stay competitive, businesses, and those within the business, need to stay abreast of current technology advances as well stay relevant  in consumer's minds.

A reverse mentor provides a new source of information and advice that can provide a different perspective,  that otherwise may not be present in the current business. The mentee's advise can help the business and personnel get caught up on current technology trends than they would otherwise.

A reverse mentor can introduce new ideas to the business or teams offering a fresh perspective or new insight.  Engaging with the mentee will allow for growth of both mentor and mentee, by sharing experiences and ideas. It will make both parties more creative as they share experiences and knowledge.

Who should Reverse Mentor me?

Identify someone that has shown that they know what they are talking about. You want to have a well qualified individual. Secondly, make sure the person has a compatible personality. Just how a regular mentor should mesh well with the mentee, a reverse mentor should be able to do the same, to have the most enriching experience possible for both parties.

The mentoring should go beyond learning the latest technology, it should also be to expose the generational differences. This relationship will allow the younger employee to understand the company, where it has been in the past, currently and what direction it is on for the future. Learn from your reverse mentor, but also show them how they can make a great career at your business and how it can be beneficial for them to stay.

Article written by Jeb Pasillas, Marketing Eye Dallas Intern and Student at Texas A&M Commerce 

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