Reverse Mentoring

General Electric’s CEO Jack Welch had travelled to London for one month on the year of 1999. A friend of him who manages a global finance company told Welch that a young person under 30 years old has been providing mentoring for him for speeding up his talking. This was one of the brightest ideas Welch has heard for years. When he went back, he reversed the organization and initiated a practice in General Electric in the same year. He coupled 500 people from the top management with 500 people on the junior level. The juniors would provide mentorship to whom they were coupled with from the top management about internet usage.

The Y generation which were born at the end of 1980s and before 2000s will constitute the half of the global workforce on the year of 2020. Each person from Y generation who work in your company today is open to new job offers, and 38% of them are active job seekers while working in your company.[1] Of course, the fact whether you are a company that value its employees can change these rates but these percentages is more about the characteristics of Y generation. So, we need to make effort to hold them in our workplace.

The Y generation have the title of the most frequently job changer generation. According to the research conducted by the American survey company Gallup, 1 out of every 5 Y generation person has changed job in one year. This rate is three times more than the job change rate in other generations. Furthermore, the cost of the job change rate of the Y generation is over 30 billion dollars per year. One of the most important reasons why the Y generation have such high job change rates is the fact that their loyalty to the companies they work is low. 3 out of every 10 Y generation person do not feel loyalty for the workplaces they work.[2]

Well, what does Y generation want?

According to a research conducted by PwC in 2008[3];

  • 86% of the Y generation express that they will leave from a company which does not have an institutional social responsibility value
  • 75% of the Y generation predict that they will change two to five workplaces during their careers
  • The number of those who say that the most important thing in their work lives is education and career development is three times more than those who prefer high salaries
  • 89% of the Y generation believe that working with successful mentors is an important part of their development
  • They want to have a mission, an aim in their workplaces

The companies which can foresee the problems created by this frequent job changes of the half of the workforce will be successful in the future. When we look at the strategies of the companies which succeeded in reducing turnover by making the Y generation loyal to the company they work, the first practice is the reverse mentoring. Reverse mentoring is an innovative mentoring method which makes the communication between the generations easy. In this mentoring method, while the managers are in the mentee position, the junior young professionals are in the mentor position. Reverse mentoring is providing;

In the company,

  • That the generations understand each other
  • Strengthening the work relations
  • Applying innovative ideas and new methods

It provides for the Y generation that,

  • They feel that they have a mission, an aim in the company
  • They  gain leadership abilities
  • They are seen valuable by the company management
  • They widen their relation network

It provides for the company management that

  • They learn the most updated knowledge and technical abilities
  • They understand the expectations and the need of the Y generation better

Reverse mentorship which we are not used to hear is a method which was begun to apply along with the involvement of the Y generation into the work life. Today, this mentorship method which was popularized by General Electric has been using by most of the world leader companies such as Cisco, HP, Procter&Gamble, and Deloitte. BNY Mellon investment company remarks that 96% of its Y generation employees stayed in the company thanks to the reverse mentoring practices.[4]

Reverse mentoring which was never applied in the previous generations is a method which the companies that care about their employees should be necessarily benefited from. Mentorink provides a groundwork you need for the reverse mentoring.

[1] Millenials at Work. https://www.pwc.com/co/es/publicaciones/assets/millennials-at-work.pdf

[2] https://www.gallup.com/workplace/238073/millennials-work-live.aspx

[3] PwC. (2008). Managing Tomorrow’s People: Millennials at Work – Perspectives from a New Generation. https://www.pwc.de/de/prozessoptimierung/assets/managing_tomorrows_people_millennials_at_work-perspectives_from_a_new_generation.pdf

[4] https://hbr.org/2019/10/why-reverse-mentoring-works-and-how-to-do-it-right

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