Self-improvement can be intimidating, and personal interactions with other, like in a mentoring relationship might be extraordinarily valuable . In today’s fast-changing world the potential for mentoring, especially if creatively employed, might be an increasingly useful type of relationship . Yet relatively few employees got into a company mentoring program . Traditional mentoring generally takes place between a senior and a junior person in a similar career field , a relationship that is hierarchical and one-directional in the sense that the mentor in its expert position carries the power while the newcomer mentee is deemed to receive learning .
Reverse mentoring for diversity and organizational success
Reverse mentoring, on the other side, can be defined as “pair[ing] younger, junior employees as mentors with older, senior colleagues as mentees to share knowledge” (, p. 569). Jack Welch in 1999 made this approach popular when using it in GE . It is the first time that four or five generation with distinct values work in the same workplaces and have to manage related generational tensions (; ). Reverse (respectively reciprocal) mentoring may be promising transfer processes to support global expatriate female managers as they were found to receive less monitoring than male and domestic colleagues . Cross-racial reverse mentoring is another example of engaging diversity to increase organizational success .
Benefits for the employees
Reverse mentoring was found to benefit older adults with reduced social isolation, improved self-efficacy, and increased technological understanding, and younger colleagues can progress their teaching and communication skills . Intriguingly, by collaboratively fostering the understanding of each generations qualities, inter-generational intelligence can be built . Vitality, enthusiasm, and creativity are predominantly represented by the younger, lower levels of organizations; not surprising when remembering the evidence that toddlers, in general, are creative, compared to the only 2% of 44-year-olds . Reverse mentoring is promising in generating new ideas , which is vital in valuing the human capital and use it for innovation and competitiveness as required for learning organizations . Lane (2018) speculates that this effect might be the more pronounced, the bigger and the more global a firm is .
HR supported implementation for improved employee retention
In a study in the field of academic medicine, it was found that half of the recipients of unsatisfactory mentoring did genuinely consider quit the firm, while positive mentoring experiences reduced this number to 14% . In another study reverse mentoring predicted increased affective commitment potentially decreasing turnover rates among millennial employees . While informal settings may take pressure away from younger persons mentoring their superiors , more formal mentoring provides for clear objectives and plans how to achieve them . It is essential that older leaders get the courage  to open up, demonstrate humility, and enter into egalitarian relationships . Ideally, such openness and the diversification of the workforce  through reverse mentoring is systematically supported by HR too .
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