Could You Use a Reverse Mentor?

August 31, 2016

Reverse mentoring is gaining popularity in the workplace, as new technology implementations are prompting older workers to take some tips from the younger generation.

Indeed, baby boomers are seeking out millennials to help them understand the latest technology, social media, and evolving marketplace, the Herald & Review reports.

"It's not that older generations aren't using technology -- of course they're texting and on Facebook," says Debra Arbit, CEO of BridgeWorks, a workplace consultant. "But the fact that I got my first iPhone when I was a teenager is a very different thing than my mom, who learned how to text when she was 54."

One company doing reverse mentoring in a bigger way is UnitedHealth Group, which rolled out a formal program this summer. They grouped eight senior executives in its insurance division with eight millennials who were viewed as “emerging leaders.” (The average age gap between the two was about 25 years.) The idea was to help executives see the workplace in a new light.

"For many of our leaders -- outstanding thought leaders in their own right – their connection to the millennial generation is largely through their parenting skills," says Pete Church, vice president of human capital at UnitedHealthcare. "This becomes a fundamentally different kind of experience."

Source: “‘Reverse Mentoring’ Taps Millennials’ Knowledge,” Herald & Review (Aug. 29, 2016)