My last post outlined how the Reverse Mentoring technique can improve Board and C-level technology knowledge. Now it is time to look at “proof of concept”. Do companies use this technique and are there benefits?
Since GE introduced it in 1999, more companies have introduced Reverse Mentoring as a enterprise practice. Here is a sample of those companies:
|COMPANY||INDUSTRY||REVERSE MENTORING DISCUSSION|
|Kimberly Clark Asia-Pacific||Consumer Products|
*(Hartford partnered with the Boston College Center for Work & Family and the Sloan Center on Aging & Work in a comprehensive research study on Reverse Mentoring. The full report is available in the STUDY link for Hartford)
Benefits of Reverse Mentoring
Companies using Reverse Mentoring typically realize benefits such as:
- Improved Innovation Governance decisions
- More enlightened strategic plans
- Better awareness of tacit knowledge of internal employee attitudes perceptions on issues (typically much of this is lost in the filtering of information before it is presented to C-levels)
- Improved Millennial recruitment and retention
- Enhanced leadership skills
- Corporate knowledge that would otherwise take years to acquire
- Increased job satisfaction
Reverse Mentoring, when applied effectively, has dual benefits for participants. To be sure, this is a very high level summary. More can be learned from the corporate links mentioned above.
Yet, as with all human endeavors, there may be problems. Perhaps a poor match of mentee and mentor occurs. The solution here is a matching process used by Hartford. A individual profile was developed and identified business experience, personal interests, education and goals. This was carefully analyzed to define good matches.
In a mentoring relationship, unlike in a formal manager/subordinate relationship, there are no defined requirements. However, defining clear objectives and establishing boundaries and timelines will help set expectations for both mentor and mentee.
A more vexing and difficult-to-solve problem is executive hubris. Some C-levels are reluctant to take advice from a younger employee with less experience. In this case the CEO may want to set the tone at the top and become a mentee. In addition such executives should be counseled regarding how Reverse Mentoring is in the best interests of the organization.
All companies are careful about security and protection of the “corporate jewels”. So there is a concern that young mentees may indiscreetly share information discussed during mentoring with their colleagues. Citibank tried to solve this by using mentees from a business school (see Citicorp link). However, this eliminates the benefits for employee-mentees leadership development and building employer branding.
Latest posts by Ed Konczal (see all)
- Enterprise Mobility And Innovation Governance - June 1, 2015
- Benefits of Reverse Mentoring - March 13, 2015
- Innovation Governance and Reverse Mentoring - November 5, 2014
- Innovation Governance Requires Technology Smarts - September 6, 2013
- Tone At The Top Drives Innovation Governance - April 26, 2013