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Improving millennial retention is a key strategy many organizations are struggling with today. In fact, studies show that 43% of Millennials plan to leave their job in the next two years.
As the largest generation currently in the labor force, their willingness to leave is significant. Some organizations, like financial services firm Pershing, are combating decreased Millennial retention by launching a reverse mentoring program.
But can that really impact retention rates? Ask Pershing. After implementing its reverse mentoring program, the firm experienced a reported 96% retention rate among millennials.
And, as many successful organizations have learned, better retention rates are just one benefit of a successful reverse mentoring program.
What is reverse mentoring?
Reverse mentoring partners employees in a modern way. In this unique mentoring relationship, the junior employee mentors the senior leader. The knowledge shared in this mentoring relationship focuses on technology, approach to strategic issues, leadership, diversity issues, and even working mindset.
We have already highlighted some of the telling numbers around millennial retention. However, that isn't the only benefit of implementing a successful reverse mentoring program.
Additional benefits include:
- Improves connection to the culture. Reverse mentoring program helps mentors and mentees feel more connected to your organization's culture. By pairing a junior employee with a senior leader, you are giving them new insight to your organization. This helps them to connect with every facet of your culture.
- Enables better inclusion. With reverse mentoring you can build inclusive relationships that don't take age, ethnicity or gender into consideration. This inclusion leads to a broader, but more connected, insight for senior leadership into employees.
For example, Procter & Gamble paired senior leaders with employees with disabilities in its reverse mentoring program. Through the mentoring relationships, leaders quickly learned that internal videos were not accessible to employees with hearing challenges. This was easily addressed with captions once senior leaders understood the impact.
- Improves diversity in the talent pipeline. When diverse populations are paired in mentoring relationships, senior leaders have an opportunity to have individual conversations about diversity. In the short term, this improves empathy and mitigates unconscious bias. In the long term, these mentoring relationships provide a critical boost to the diversity in upper-level management roles.
- Propels technology forward. Organizational change is hard, and technological change may be the most challenging change of all. Reverse mentoring gives you the opportunity to shake things up and encourage junior employees to challenge existing strategies and processes.
- Drives culture change. As new advances in the digital world are being made, organizations know they must keep up. Reverse mentoring gives them an opportunity to stay ahead of the trends through their junior employees.
To continue moving forward, Estee Lauder’s CEO Fabrizio Freda implemented a reverse mentoring program. The results propelled the beauty leader into better focus on social media influencers and launched knowledge sharing portal Dreamspace.
To achieve these reverse mentoring benefits, keep these tips in mind:
- Ensure commitment from the mentees. The senior leaders being mentored have to be committed to attending sessions and making the mentoring relationship a priority.
- Provide mentor training for all participants. According to the Harvard Business Review, just one-third of mentor-mentee relationships are successful without training. Reverse mentoring relationships can be especially challenging as the mentee and mentor are taking on unfamiliar roles. Ensure that the mentor training provided includes structured sessions and support for challenges in this particular type of mentorship.
- Stay focused on the program. Don’t try to blend a reverse mentoring program with a shadowing program – blending the two will make one unsuccessful. We are not saying that you can’t have both as part of your career development offerings. The catch is that you don’t want to have the same participants in both programs.
- Make smart mentoring relationships. When developing your mentor matching strategy, keep in mind that executive mentees may be more cautious about about the match. Garner support by asking mentees about matches before finalizing the pairing.
- Implement mentoring software. The benefits to a mentoring software are myriad. This technology allows HR leaders to track the progress and impact of the program over time. It also gives participants the opportunity to enjoy the benefits of communicating, scheduling, and tracking progress all in a single location.
Are you ready to realize the benefits of a reverse mentoring program? Insala’s solutions can help you launch a successful reverse mentoring program that impacts your retention, technology, and strategy. With our more than 20 years of experience, Insala is equipped to support you every step of the way.
Request a demo to learn how Insala can help you establish a reverse mentoring program to impact your organization's success.
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