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If we don’t offer the working environment, values, digital tools, and protocols that college leavers want and expect, they simply won’t join us.

Build the talent pipeline.

If you want to improve the way you connect with the younger generation and attract the workforce needed for the future, reverse mentoring is a worth-while pursuit. Reverse mentoring programmes can increase retention and help senior executives become more sophisticated about social media, drive culture change and promote diversity.

Put simply, reverse mentoring allows business leaders to take stock of valuable lessons from those in the early stages of their career. I certainly found it to be a fantastic way to get up to speed on the technology younger people use, and better understand the mindsets of millennials and Gen Z.

Smart ways of working.

Digital natives, who have grown up in the information age, have ideas on how to work quicker and smarter. For example, new platforms such as IFTT (derived from the ‘if this, then that’ programming conditional statement) are helping businesses streamline how platforms interact for a less fractured approach.

Reverse mentoring can provide insights into the best tone of voice for your organisation to deploy in recruitment marketing, and the appropriate channels to reach target audiences. Young people engage with each other through Instagram, videos and shareable memes, so is it time to make use of these to attract and hire fresh talent?

Millennial mentors can give feedback to leaders about how internal comms are perceived. Do junior employees find the company newsletter too wordy and pedestrian? What would engage them further? Should you be showcasing your workplace culture via TikTok and snapchat? Stuffy, serious offices are losing favour with the next generation. They want to feel they are joining a dynamic business with a sense of community.  

What makes Gen Z tick?

A lesson I learnt from being mentored by younger colleagues is that they genuinely seek purpose. They want their work to have meaning and their company to do more that pursue profits. Ideally, their work will be making a positive contribution to society and the environment.

Reverse mentoring should always be a two-way street. Executive mentees gain input and ideas, and mentors themselves learn, grow, and are empowered to influence strategic thinking.

This article first appeared on the Yule 2022 edition of EDGE Journal. Become a member to view the full EDGE online library.  

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