The nature of employment is changing quickly as a result of new technology, and it is apparent that the skills that companies value and rely upon are changing. Consequently, a "skills gap" has emerged, making it difficult for companies to find individuals with the right skills.
As a result, some companies have turned to reverse mentoring to address employees’ skills gaps and improve employee efficiency and effectiveness.
In today's fast-paced work environment, reverse mentoring is a powerful tool for knowledge sharing and upskilling. To help their more experienced colleagues adapt and grow, tech-savvy graduate employees are assuming the role of mentors for older professionals. They do this by imparting their innovative viewpoints and technological know-how.
What is reverse mentoring?
Reverse mentorship is not a new idea. The first reverse mentorship programme was created in 1999 by former General Electric CEO Jack Welch. In essence, younger employees are partnered with elder executives to educate them about new technology, like social media, for example. In his pilot project, he paired 500 senior and junior employees in the hopes that the latter would teach the former about technological advances and tools. The results were astounding, proving that reverse mentoring is a valuable tool.
A mentor is typically thought to be more senior and experienced than their mentee. Reverse mentorship, however, acknowledges that both parties have skill gaps and that each individual can improve their shortcomings with the assistance of the other's strengths.
Graduate employees close the skills gap and assist senior professionals in remaining relevant in the digital era by utilising their understanding of modern techniques and developing trends. They assist senior professionals in efficiently implementing and leveraging the most recent technology, improving their digital literacy and professional outcomes.
What are the benefits of reverse mentoring with graduate employees?
Taking advantage of reverse mentoring has several benefits for an organisation. Companies will observe:
- Enhanced connections between employees
- A reduction in the skills gaps among employees
- Improved knowledge across departments and functions
- Teamwork resulting in more effective, efficient operations
Reverse mentoring acts as a catalyst for creativity, promoting the emergence of new concepts on all organisational levels while closing your skills gap. Useful insights can be gathered from graduate employees inside the company, rather than simply depending on the C-Suite for new approaches.
It is crucial to note that employees need to leave their prejudices at the door. You might think that millennials have too much power or that older generations are opposed to change, but these ideas are probably not accurate. When establishing a reverse mentoring relationship, treat every person on your team as an individual and exercise good judgment. There has to be mutual respect for this mentorship programme to work.
What procedures should be in place to close the skills gap?
We advise that companies not only rely on informal and organic encounters for reverse mentoring but rather implement measurable processes and procedures that set up regular meetings and responsibilities at set intervals.
Mentors and mentees can both prioritise these engagements and maintain their relevance by establishing a schedule, such as monthly or bimonthly meetings. This strategy prevents other obligations from taking priority over the time allotted.
Establishing a simple “escape plan” is crucial to alleviating pressure. The mentor should feel comfortable ending the mentoring relationship if it is not working. Having a dedicated HR representative for organised mentorship will help employees address any issues.
Organisations should offer structured assistance to create a successful reverse mentorship programme. Clear goals and objectives should be set, and mentorship pairs should be carefully chosen. Frequent check-ins and feedback sessions must be conducted.
Reverse mentoring encourages knowledge sharing, individual growth, and teamwork by empowering junior employees to upskill senior professionals. In a business environment that is rapidly changing, it promotes intergenerational understanding, encourages innovation and collaboration, and promotes organisational success.
If you are wanting to fill skills gaps in your organisation let us help you find the right graduate employee to add value to your business. Ask us how.