Reverse mentoring may be key for innovative new ideas, says Hays

Many innovative employers in the corporate world are beginning to encourage reverse mentoring, which helps to combine the knowledge of junior and senior employees in an organisation and allows innovative new ideas begin to come to fruition, according to recruitment experts Hays.

“Adopting a culture of reverse mentoring encourages every generation to learn and share their own unique experiences. Millennials, and even more so Generation Z workers, have what we call ‘a natural software mindset’. We would define a software mindset as a combination of embracing, learning and implementing technology and then adding human value to maximise the technology and inject creativity,” says Nigel Heap, Regional Managing Director UK&I & EMEA.

“An effective way of kick-starting intergenerational working is reverse mentoring. The concept is a fairly new phenomenon whereby the traditional image of the mentor is turned on its head, and senior or older members of the workforce are coached by millennials and Generation Z. Reverse mentoring reinforces the idea of lifelong learning, fosters diversity and skills development, as well as being a clear example of how to support different generations working together. Many innovative employers in the corporate world are beginning to encourage reverse mentoring.”

“Younger generations are inherently more IT-savvy, which means they have so much to offer the rest of the workforce, which is less familiar or confident with technology. Business leaders need to see this an opportunity to position these generations as mentors in their organisation, especially as organisations invest more in new technology.”

The global recruitment firm also urgers employees of all ages to understand the other generations they are working alongside on a day-to-day basis and creates a workforce that is more reflective of the world.

“The most crucial factor is that both parties engaging in the mentoring session need to begin on a level playing field. For example, the more junior employee needs to feel that they can express their thoughts and opinions to their more senior counterpart without feeling uncomfortable. Equally, those engaging with their mentor need to come into the process with an open mind,” adds Nigel.

“Reverse mentoring not only allows the older mentee to benefit, but the process provides an opportunity for younger staff members to spend time with senior leaders in their organisation. In doing so, younger generations can develop their own leadership skills, adapt their communication skills and boost their confidence by working with senior leaders they may not usually get exposure to.”

This content originally appeared as an article in Hays Journal 15.

Last updated on August 20th, 2019