In traditional mentoring, a senior citizen takes care of an even less knowledgeable younger person so that they can develop in predefined areas. In reverse mentoring, this works the other way around.

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Bridge between Old and Next Economy

Objective of reverse mentoring is to improve digital fitness in the Company to increase overall, to rejuvenate processes and structures, to adapt old ways of thinking and working to the requirements of Future to adapt as well as older colleagues, Executives and to make top management more familiar with the world of millennials. The junior "coaches" the senior on such topics that "young" can do better than "old". This is how a learner is created Organization, which makes you fit for the future.

“With the program, we want to build a bridge between young and older employees and improve their interaction. If every generation stays in its corner, there will be no innovations, ”explains Christine Jordi, Head of Diversity and Inclusion at Credit Suisse. Since 2012, up to 34 tandems have met six times each in a half-yearly round.

Suitable for any company

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So far, corporations and large companies such as IBM, Henkel, Merck, Bosch, Continental, Allianz, Lufthansa, Deutsche Telekom and, in addition to Credit Suisse, have also launched the Bank Austria reverse mentoring programs, but also, for example, the General Secretariat of the Federal Departments of Economy, Education and Research (WBF).

Procter and Gamble, United Health, Target, Deloitte, PwC, Cisco and many others are already working with it in the USA. That Concept is of course also suitable for medium-sized and smaller companies.

Avoid hierarchical dependencies

Just like the big ones, they are faced with the diverse challenges of the digital age Transformation. And they also have to deal with the latest social developments.

Basically, it should be noted that there must be no competitive situation or hierarchical dependency between mentor and mentee. Reliability, integrity, openness and honesty are a must. In addition, it requires voluntariness on both sides combined with absolute discretion. The actors have to be humanely compatible with each other as well Trust and Respect feel for each other. They see each other as equals and face each other eye level.

The added value for the company

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In most organizations, there is a persistent need for learning for digital stragglers. This has to do with reservations, with personal disinterest, but also with the rapid development of the digital economy and the tight time budgets on the upper floors. The dialogue between young and old at different approaches and standpoints over generations and hierarchies can stimulate overall corporate culture and improve understanding for each other.

The knowledge transfer is optimized and the learning pyramid is also on the Head placed. In addition, greater openness to future topics is achieved and the digital IQ is increased throughout the company. If alumni are involved in the program alongside your own digital professionals, they may find their way back into the company. Finally, reverse mentoring can be a unique selling proposition for employer branding and should therefore be actively marketed.

The added value for the mentor

The mentors, who come from among the trainees, Young Professionals and high potentials can be recruited experience a high level of engagement through their commitment Esteem. You get visibility in the company, broaden your professional and interpersonal skills Competencies, expand your personal Network, gain direct access to the top of the company and thus also push their career path.

They gain an understanding of the other side, and respect for what has been created in quite different circumstances during previous years. In addition, they receive detailed insights into the classical management and learn from the mentee. In addition, during their mentoring activities, they collect a wealth of experience that can be useful for any kind of project work.

The added value for the mentee

Of course you can discuss private internet usage questions with your own children if they are in the right place Age are. Reverse mentoring, on the other hand, is about the operational context. It is a gentle program that offers many advantages over classic training concepts. So can under four Eyes also such Ask come up that you would never ask in a training situation in front of the assembled team, so as not to show any weakness.

In addition, digital media competence can be improved individually and selectively. Any technological blockages, which are often based on uncertainty, can be resolved, fears of change reduced, deadlocked structures of thought relaxed and generational prejudices eliminated. The mentee can benefit from the undisguised perception of the young colleagues and gain new perspectives. After all, it can also be about how the millennials want to be led, about their own Leadership- to optimize competence.

Reverse mentoring as a cultivator

The classic mentoring arises from the old top-down thinking. It implies an unequal patron-protege ratio, and the mentees are also often called there. Reverse mentoring, on the other hand, corresponds to the sharing approach of giving and taking, which ultimately benefits both sides.

Ideally, a tandem couple can coach each other, i.e. learn from and with each other at the same time. cub Background and valuable management experiences are exchanged. Such a change of perspective sharpens the view for alternative solution models, broadens the horizon and ensures new approaches.

Tap on collective knowledge

Collective knowledge is tapped, enriched, professionalized and generously extended. In this respect, reverse mentoring is an excellent tool for building a learning organization. It uses existing knowledge, no matter where it comes from, to get fit for the future. Quite apart from this, it is a very cost-effective form of voluntary employee development.

“Reverse mentoring is about passing on knowledge and experience in a company hierarchy from bottom to top,” Michael Heuser confirms Professor for international management at the University of Applied Sciences in Paderborn. "It is not just individuals who learn, but the organization as a whole."

Build a learning organization

In addition, mutual understanding is promoted. Because just as it is not easy for the “old” to move into the young Welt thinking into it, the juniors sometimes find it difficult to understand why the seniors tick the way they do. In general, “youngsters” tend to do everything differently, to constantly reinvent the wheel and simply ignore the useful “old wisdom”.

A lack of appreciation for the life's work of previous generations often leads to a lack of understanding and discord. However, the young professionals are extremely willing to learn. They are also very interested in classic mentoring. More than two thirds could imagine support from a mentor. According to the “World of Work”- study out by Monster.


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