Reverse Mentoring: A Magic Bullet to keep Millennials Engaged at Workplac

Author Name(s): Dr. Ruchi Sao, Prof. Pritam Bhadade
Author Email: saorn@rknec.edu

Abstract

This study is based on secondary data which presents the use of reverse mentoring to keep millennials engaged at the workplace. Mentoring involves a two way communication between people having a work relationship. Mentor in a traditional mentoring system has always been a senior person who would guide the new joiners in their career and goal achievement journey. Today, in every three employees, one employee is a millennial in the workforce. The expectation of millennials from the workplace is completely different from that of the baby boomers who would be retiring in the coming years. However, the millennials have a dynamic thought process, are technologically strong and love to work with autonomy. On the other hand, the baby boomers, generation X and Y are more stable and use only basic technology. Here, comes the role of reverse mentoring with the traditional mentoring process where the juniors who are tech savvy become the mentor for imparting training and knowledge on the continuous use of technology, use of social networking and providing support in the changing business scenario. Factors responsible for successful reverse mentoring will be discussed in the paper and practices of various companies following reverse mentoring and the challenges while implementing the reverse mentoring system will be presented.

Keywords Millennials, Multi-Generations, Reverse Mentoring

Introduction

In majority of the organizations, mentoring is a system imbedded in the organizational structure where the senior assigned as a mentor. In some organizations, the mentoring relationship only stays in files and is never executed for the benefit of the mentee. However, there are companies like Ernst and Young who have a dedicated mentoring system across all locations which focus on the development of mentee which is a combination of more informal reviews and discussions which are developmental in nature. Mentoring requires a lot of time and may take away some good amount of productive time of both the parties involved in the process of mentoring. In the traditional system of mentoring, the duo always comprised of a senior leader and younger executive for guidance in a formal and informal way. Mentors have rich experience and exposure to the business. This can be easily shared with the juniors to develop them as future business leaders. At times, it may get difficult for the mentors to take out time from their schedule for mentoring. Fast changing technology has resulted into acquisition of new skills at the workplace for all the employees. Here comes the role of reverse mentoring wherein the mentees come in the role of mentor and help the seniors learn new processes and adapt to the changes in technology. The new generation is energetic and always looks for challenging roles. They are not of those typical kind of employees who can take instructions and work. They want autonomy and are smart workers as compared to the senior cadre

Conclusion Reverse mentoring can help the seniors gain more energy and learn to reduce work by smart use of technology and at the same time millennials can stay more engaged with a feeling that they are contributing towards the success of their seniors and organization. There is a need for seniors to understand the importance of reverse mentoring from the point of view of development. Sometimes, the seniors may have a fixed perception and a block with respect to seniority in terms of age or experience. However, as discussed in the paper, the good sign is as to how the seniors are taking the advantage of reverse mentoring for their own development. Some seniors from the baby boomer have also reported that it is fun as the same thing has decreased the emotional generation gap between their child and them. Reverse mentoring would surely go a long way in the organizations and is not a practice which would fade away. The future scope of study can be where reverse mentoring policies can be formulated by researchers for companies. The relationship of reverse mentoring can be checked with employee satisfaction as well. Study of perception can also be undertaken for both the generations; baby boomers and millennials. This study would be useful to understand the openness to the concept and practice of reverse mentoring for multi generations

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