Modern Mentoring Ideas for Millennials – Reverse Mentoring

graphic that depicts reverse mentoring with technology

We all know that mentoring is an essential part of any development initiative. When mentor-mentee relationships evolve properly, both mentor and mentee develop essential career-building relationships, which leads to an increase productivity and innovation in the organization. The benefits of mentoring programs to your organization are numerous:

  • Supports and drives organizational goals and diversity strategies
  • Prepares high potentials for future positions in the organization
  • Helps more women into leadership and executive roles
  • Drives onboarding process
  • Improves skill enhancement
  • Increases development at all levels
  • Brings about positive cultural change
  • Enhances recruitment and retention
  • Expands knowledge transfer

But the world of mentoring is changing, and not surprisingly, millennial workers – those employees age 18 to 34 – are leading the transformation. According to the 2016 Deloitte Millennial Survey, 63% of millennials say their leadership skills are not being fully developed. The survey also found that millennial employees who intend to stay with their organization for more than five years are twice as likely to have a mentor (68%). The bottom line – companies who fail to develop young employees are likely to lose them.

Before you start matching senior leaders with promising entry-level associates in your organization, consider incorporating some non-traditional techniques into your mentoring program. If your organization has a mix of older leaders and younger employees, reverse mentoring may be an excellent fit.

Reverse mentoring is where older executives are mentored by younger employees on topics like technology, social media and current trends. This technique is a true win-win-win. Executives stay on the pulse of trends and gain knowledge in gap areas, and the younger employee feels more connected and invested because they are contributing to their company at the highest level. And of course, the organization wins by connecting current and future leaders for valuable knowledge transfer.

Below are a few the types of questions that mentors typically ask mentees during their regular check-in meetings.

  • What areas of your development plan have you focused on this month? What have you done differently? What were your results?
  • How are you applying what you have been learning in your daily role? With team members? With your team project?
  • Is there anything that is confusing to you that you have learned or heard about during the past month? How can I offer support or help clear up any new concepts?

Now consider how these conversations would be different as part of reverse mentoring. It’s an interesting idea and one that might fit in your organization. Anytime you pair two professionals in a trusting, supportive environment, your organization will succeed, so consider if reverse mentoring can be part of your development program.

If you’d like more information on launching or modernizing a mentoring initiative in your organization, contact Tara Powers at

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