everse mentoring is a 21st century concept that pairs up seasoned executives (mentees) with millennials (mentors), and by doing so, closes the knowledge gap for both groups – the senior executives pick up on social media and technology trends, and the early career professionals gain valuable insight into business strategy.
The benefits to the organisation are apparent – diverse employee generations are brought together and both emerging and established leaders are empowered, helping enhance business reputation and minimise retention issues. Additionally, the greater uptake of new technological advancements may save time, cost and improve the company’s innovation as well as long-term economic resilience.
Whilst reverse mentoring schemes have been established and rewards recognised in technology giants such as GE and Microsoft for over a decade, it is only now that companies working in the built and natural environment are embracing the concept. Progress Network is developing a pilot scheme to test the industry’s appetite for reverse mentoring to make this the norm.
The Progress Network pilot will involve pairs (mentee and mentor) from around six ACE companies of varying sizes. The mentor (millennial) and mentee (senior executive) will be from the same ACE member organisation.
A kick-off workshop for the pilot involving all participants is proposed in London on 30 May 2017 at which the ground rules would be established (including addressing sensitive issues), objectives and KPI’s set and frequency of mentoring sessions agreed. A frequency of bi-monthly meetings with around five meetings is recommended.
Progress will be monitored and lessons learned recorded, with a feedback session set up with all participants before the results of the pilot are shared on an anonymised basis. The overall pilot scheme including analysis of the results is envisaged to last around 12 months.
Should the reverse mentoring pilot scheme prove successful, there is potential for the model to be rolled out across the industry. Progress Network can then help promote awareness of the scheme through social media and networking events. The scheme could be expanded to include other reverse mentoring subjects such as diversity and inclusion, and the challenge that many companies have of retaining middle managers after they have secured their chartered status.
Anil Iyer was formerly COO at ACE.
ACE's Progress Network is now known as ACE Emerging Professionals. The group is sponsored by Mott MacDonald.