Everyone can benefit from a good mentor. They can help you make better decisions about important matters like career moves, business pursuits, and worthwhile relationships. Experience is often the best teacher, so why not learn from someone who’s got it in spades?
Traditionally, mentors are older people who are already at the peak of their careers. Most of them are CEOs, directors, teachers, and other professionals who have already contributed greatly to their fields of expertise. Sometimes, they can even be your grandparents!
The truth is, anyone can be a mentor. Take reverse mentoring, for instance. Instead of tenured managers teaching new millennial employees, it’s the other way around.
So, how did this come about? For starters, with technology growing by leaps and bounds, the youngest generation of digital natives have the edge in the modern workplace. Their tech savviness and adaptability certainly help too.
However, the older demographics (i.e., the baby boomers) shouldn’t feel threatened by this. In fact, reverse mentoring could actually help them stay relevant in their careers and in time, reduce ageism in the workplace.
Let’s take a look.
Bridging The Generational Gap
When the pandemic struck, companies had no choice but to take their businesses online. Since the move required having to learn new software and project management tools, it was especially challenging for older employees who weren’t particularly tech-savvy.
This is where younger mentors can step in and help their older colleagues learn the ropes for digital communication, online marketing, and social media management, among other things. Partnering your tenured employees with younger mentors can also help bridge the generational gap and help them work better together, which can only benefit your company in the long run.
Reverse mentoring doesn’t necessarily mean that the younger colleague will be the only one dispensing knowledge. This arrangement can actually open a dialogue where both parties can learn from one another. Facilitated properly, reverse mentoring can even exploit the generational gap and pave the way for open and inclusive communication. Senior employees get to learn about digital technology and current market trends while their younger counterparts can benefit from their hard-won wisdom.
For instance, youngsters are a great source of brilliant and fresh marketing ideas. Meanwhile, seasoned colleagues can provide unique insight based on what they’ve actually experienced.
Best of all, the reverse mentoring model is more likely to allow innovative ideas to flourish in your team. Unlike under the traditional mentoring model, all good ideas are welcome regardless of who put them forward.
Doing It Right
Reverse mentoring can bring your team to great heights. But only if it’s done right. Before anything else, be sure to lay out clear motivations, set goals, identify boundaries, and make provisions for sticking to the assigned roles.
For example, senior executives receiving mentorship from their younger colleagues should make a conscious effort to be coachable. It would also help to bolster the young mentors in your company so that they can go about their business without feeling too intimidated by their mentees.
As a business leader, you can make reverse mentoring work if everyone understands its purpose. An inclusive workplace is the best breeding ground for ideas, innovation, and collaboration. Ultimately, this is what you want this mentoring model to accomplish.
You’re never too old to learn and you’re never too young to teach anyone either. The sooner your remote workers understand this, the better it will be for everyone. And if you don’t know how to begin cultivating such a culture, you can always reach out for help.
Remote Staff has been providing Australian businesses and entrepreneurs like you with skilled and professional Filipino remote workers for the last 14 years and counting. Whether you need a virtual assistant to help you monitor this mentorship program or are actually looking for young professional mentors to guide your remote digital marketing team, we’ve got you covered.