In her Wall Street Journal Online article, Reverse Mentoring Cracks Workplace, Leslie Kwoh writes about “reverse mentoring” whereby older, more experienced employees are paired with younger employees who serve as their mentors. This approach can be especially helpful to teach older employees about the latest technology such as Skype and iPhone apps and popular social media tools such as Facebook or Twitter. The article cites several Fortune 500 companies that have successfully implemented reverse mentoring programs including GE, Ogilvy & Mather, Hewlett-Packard Co., Cisco Systems Inc.
In a Forbes.com article from earlier this year, Lisa Quast highlights a few of the benefits of a reverse mentoring program:
- Closes the knowledge gap for both parties
- Empowers emerging and established leaders
- Brings different employee generations closer together
Successful reverse mentoring programs also prove another important point when it comes to networking– everyone has something to contribute.
Many people, especially young professional, who are new to networking often say, “I have nothing to offer in a networking situation” and will use this as a reason for not participating. Reverse mentoring programs wouldn’t exist if young professionals didn’t have something to contribute. Whether it is a formal mentoring program or an informal networking situation, remember this. . . EVERYONE HAS SOMETHING TO CONTRIBUTE.