Amarantine Volume 4: Expectations! - Page 43

Mentoring is simply a younger person or employee being paired with someone who is generally older with more practical experience. Reverse mentoring on the other hand is where the older person or executive is paired and mentored by a younger person or employee, specifically on technology and social media type topics. Reverse mentoring was first popularised by former GE Chairman, Jack Welch. In the 1990’s, Jack realised that the GE Management had much to learn about the internet, and how to better do this than to learn from someone who has much more experience and knowledge about the topic. Jack mandated that GE’s top executives, including himself, paired themselves with someone younger who had more experience and knowledge about the internet. While a number of the older executives in companies feel insulted by a younger employee ‘teaching’ them through mentoring, Jack’s example at GE went a long way to ease how the older executives were feeling; to the point where some older executives in the larger companies are now asking for younger mentors. Younger employees, even those straight out of University or College, come into an organisation with fresh eyes, open minds, and an in-depth knowledge and experience of today’s technology and social media. Those employees and executives who have been working for many years may know how the business ‘works today’ and have gained huge amounts of knowledge and experience in their industry; but are they up to date with today’s world? A mentoring relationship that works both ways can be hugely beneficial to both parties, as well as to the organisation:  Allowing each person – younger and older – in this relationship to mentor the other, closes the knowledge gap for both parties. For example, the younger person learns how a business actually works, business terminology, and industry practices; while the older person learns about the ins and outs of the internet, search engines and algorithms, social media, and mobile phone apps.  This empowers both parties – the older person in feeling more comfortable with the changes coming into their business world; and the younger person who is learning from business leaders. The business is now grooming their future and emerging leadership team; as well as encouraging the Millennials to remain with the company. This is important, as the 2016 Deloitte Millennial Survey highlights that the millennial generation will move from company to company to grow their knowledge and experience, especially where the millennials feel that they are not being fully developed and supported in their personal and professional growth.  Reverse mentoring also brings the different employee generations Volume4 AMARANTINE 43