'Reverse mentoring' and how it can help drive change within your organisation

Version 1

    Happy Wednesday all!

    The concept of using Google Guides to help support your employees during the initial deployment of Google Apps is probably one that is familiar to you already (see here if not), but I'd be interested to know how many of you have come across the concept of ‘reverse mentoring’?

    I spoke about reverse mentoring during a presentation I delivered at the HR Tech Europe conference last month, as a way to help drive the adoption of new technology within an organisation, and it really seemed to resonate with the audience. So I thought that this week I would share a bit about this topic with you lot as it may be something you could find useful within your organisations.

    As you’re all probably well aware, many of the youngest and most inexperienced employees within an organisation are actually the ones who’ve got the most extensive knowledge about all things technology related, be it social media, mobile devices or collaboration tools and apps. The idea of reverse mentioning is that organisations should utilize these skills - by pairing up these social and tech experts with more senior members of an organisation who perhaps aren’t as familiar with technology.

    The mentoring should work two ways. Firstly the tech gurus coach and support the executives as they get up to speed on new technology. For example, showing them how to use Google Drive, how to set up their G+ profile, sign up for relevant communities, and share G+ posts, how to get access to Drive on their tablet and mobile, how to use forms or whatever might be relevant. In return the executive provides mentoring on topics such as business strategy, leadership, sales or some other relevant business or industry related topic.

    Each party benefits from such a relationship. It is great for executives to have a hot-line directly to someone who can offer them personalised help with technology. Sometimes it might be hard for executives to admit that they could do with help - but by having a single and trusted point of contact this is reduced.

    For the tech and social experts, reverse mentoring is a great way of getting visibility into how the organisation works, to develop their business skills and gain experience interacting with senior executives.

    Many organisations already have established mentoring programs - usually organised by the HR team so there may be an opportunity to suggest this idea to them and see if they might support setting such a program up.

    A couple of tips for setting up such a program:

    1. Clearly define the expectations of each party - how often will they meet, what will the ‘agenda’ be for the meetings etc
    2. Be considerate about the matching and try to pair people who are going to work well together
    3. Encourage both parties to be open and honest in order that they each get the most out of the experience

    I’d love to hear feedback from the group on this topic. Is this something you’ve ever been involved with before? Did it work?

    And if this is something you do decide to try - please get back to this group and share your experiences.

    Happy reverse mentoring!