Reverse mentoring

Reverse mentoring is a relationship in which a junior employee counsels a more senior associate. This concept tends to focus on educating an older person on a specific topic, rather than the more traditional mentoring issues involving ethics and career planning. An older employee may not have kept current on various aspects of the industry or related technology, and so can learn the essentials of these issues from a younger person who may have been inculcated in these concepts from an early age.

Examples of Reverse Mentoring

Hubble Corporation hires a new chief executive officer for his well-documented management skills. However, the new CEO has little knowledge of the company’s area of expertise, which is plotting the trajectories of incoming space debris on behalf of various national governments. Accordingly, one of the company’s astronomers is paired up with the CEO in a reverse mentoring relationship to give the CEO a working knowledge in this area.

The marketing director of Pianoforte International is comprehensively unaware of social media and how it can be used to market the company’s concert-grade pianos. The human resources manager locates a new hire in the production department who is an expert in social media, and sets up a reverse mentoring arrangement to bring the marketing director up to speed.

The human resources director of Ninja Cutlery has a suspicion that newer employees want a different work experience, but she is uncertain of what this means. She sets up a reverse mentoring arrangement with several new hires to explore their expectations for the work experience.