As a Gen Y, I find the concept of reverse mentoring a fascinating one. It’s a win-win situation, and it’s really quite simple.
All the stereotypes about us aren’t true, but some are. Getting Gen Y to buy into a company may be difficult; we’re individualistic. However, a great way to do so is by making us feel like a crucial aspect of a big thing, making us feel important.
We want to start at the top… and since that’s not very reasonable we like to help out on proposals and pitches (the cool stuff)…you know, things that break up the usual day to day work. Sound scary? This is where reverse mentoring is the answer. In reverse mentoring, the entry level Gen Y is the mentor and the senior level employee is the mentee. This is usually done over technology. It’s as simple as bringing them together and letting the Gen Y show how Adobe Illustrator can work wonders in a proposal or handout.
My experience with boomers and reverse mentorship is affected in a positive way by the Gen Y stereotypes. They love to come across a bright, young and polite Gen Y that is willing to help. It’s like going to Wal-Mart and receiving amazing customer service…it’s unexpected, refreshing and welcome.
The obvious benefits include the exchange of knowledge and the advantages of collaboration, but I think the most important benefits of reverse mentoring lie in the bonds that are made across generations and the increased potential for retention of the much talked about Generation Y.
><(("> Joseph Rector
Joe is a former ><((“> Team Member at Catch Your Limit, a management and marketing firm with offices in Tallahassee, Florida and Richmond, Virginia. To learn more, visit www.catchyourlimit.com.