Teaching the "old dogs" new tricks: reverse mentoring

By Marnie Smith
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 04/12/2001

So, you are racking your brain over how to keep your managers up-to-date. Technological change and diversity in the workplace are rising at an ever-increasing rate. Your managers and hence your training programs need to keep pace with this dynamic environment. One solution to this dilemma is reverse mentoring.

Many organizations have embraced the benefits of traditional mentoring; matching young, malleable employees with seasoned veterans. But what of the knowledge that younger, more junior employees can impart to managers? Reverse mentoring programs provide a forum for managers to learn from junior employees who can provide different insights, perspectives and knowledge across a variety of areas.

What do junior employees have to offer? Junior employees today have grown up with technology and a greater understanding of diversity. They are not the sheltered “juniors” of the past. They have accumulated broad experiences, living in Internet time, and are willing to share these insights. The diverse knowledge base that junior employees can offer is an advantage which can be capitalized on through a reverse mentoring program.