Looking for a unique way to recognize the talents of employees and help grow your business?
There is a method that challenges traditional approaches to team-building programs and fosters the sharing of skills and expertise: reverse mentoring. Unlike the usual mentoring program, which pairs experienced professionals with subordinates or new hires, reverse mentoring deconstructs this process by pairing a young employee who is advanced in the areas of new technology and innovation with an experienced professional or business executive.
Here are five reasons to consider adopting a reverse mentoring program.
- A two-way street. A reverse mentoring program establishes and encourages two-way communication between seasoned business professionals and new hires, often of a younger generation. This kind of partnership can have numerous benefits to your company’s overall skills and knowledge, but it can also make younger employees feel more valued and involved in the business, giving them the chance to apply their knowledge and expertise directly.
- Kick-start innovation. By opening up lines of communication, senior executives can be exposed to new, fresh ideas, which can then be combined with existing business assets and concepts. Newer generations approach business development differently, and reverse mentoring programs often provide business leaders with the opportunity to kick-start innovation by implementing new, more efficient ways of doing things.
- Closing the generation gap. Feelings of inadequacy or insecurity tend to be greater at organizations with generation gaps. Reverse mentoring closes this gap by encouraging communication across generation groups, making both sides feel valued. These types of programs can be particularly useful when it comes to digital development and content marketing on platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat, which are often more difficult to grasp for those who aren’t using them frequently.
- Building trust and setting expectations. When both sides are leveraging their strengths to define areas of learning and growth, senior executives can better set individual employee expectations, as well as the goals of the business itself. The sharing of knowledge will lay the foundation required to build and sustain strong interpersonal and professional relationships, both within your business and externally with clients.
- A great development and retention strategy. Understanding your younger employees’ strengths and how they see themselves contributing to the growth of your business will give you the chance to know what they want from their career. This insight will prompt better management and leadership practices, enabling your organization to foster the appropriate environment for your talent, including the implementation of professional growth and education programs.
If you’re looking to get a reverse mentoring program off the ground, remember that all employees should be on board. Reach out to staff, providing a comprehensive overview of the ways in which reverse mentoring differs from traditional mentoring approaches, and see if they’re open to it. This will give you great insight on whether a program of this kind is right for your business.