What is a Reverse Mentoring Program and How to Design One?

reverse mentoring

Reverse mentoring is a unique way of fostering new skills and creativity. A junior team member mentors a senior member for exchanging knowledge, skills, and understanding. The traditional way of mentoring is reversed. This type of relationship helps the executives become familiar with current trends, social media, or technology. This type of peer mentoring helps all levels of employees engage and contribute to organizational success. 

Getting Started With Reverse Mentoring

If you want to foster an environment of growth and learning, reverse mentoring is best for your organization. It’s just as important as mentoring for leadership development or any other type of mentoring program. Let’s look into some of its benefits:

  • Promotes diversity
  • Encourages the sharing of digital skills 
  • Better retention of millennials 
  • Drives cultural change 

Steps to Create a Reverse Mentoring 

Follow these steps to create a customized program based on the unique organizational culture and needs:

Define the Purpose of the Program

Everything starts by knowing why you are doing it. Typically, the purpose is to brig generational gaps between senior and junior employees. Other times, the goal is to spur innovation. The purpose of starting the program in your organization could be different.

Make sure you define the purpose of the program clearly so that once it’s over, you can measure the results.

Set Goals

The goals of a reverse mentoring program would be different from that of mentoring for onboarding new employees, of course. The goals of the program must coincide with that of your business objective. Other than this, each participant in the program must set individual goals from this one-on-one collaboration. 

These are some goals an organization can have from this program:

  • Promote a diverse and inclusive culture
  • Boost knowledge sharing 
  • Increase employee engagement 
  • Improve employee retention

Once the goals are set, you must set metrics or success too which will prove useful later one

Create a Matching Criteria

The success of the program depends on successful matching. Here, the mentor and mentee will be entering into a non-traditional relationship. The participants are likely to face unique challenges in this sort of mentoring. Therefore, they must be able to collaborate with their partner comfortably to work those challenges.

Mentor Training 

Since mentoring is likely to be doing this for the first time, it makes sense to offer mentorship training. This way, the mentors will have a clear understanding of their roles. While you are training them, encourage them to be transparent, ready to leave their comfort zone, and commit to the relationship. 

A successful mentor is the one who is willing to learn how he can be an asset in the relationship. At the same time, the mentee must be willing to take direction and advice.

Measure the Success

Last but not least, like you would measure the success of career mentoring programs, you must measure the success of the reverse mentoring program as well. The success of the program must be monitored from day one. Here, mentoring software could be of great help.

Check out other mentoring use-cases that you can apply in your organization