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Reverse mentoring: what if generation Y trained the older generation in digital skills?


“Reverse mentoring”, or conveying knowledge by reversing the traditional chain of mentoring, is increasingly used in companies. It consists in asking younger employees, often from generation Y, to train older employees in using digital tools. What are the advantages? How to do it? Why does it work? Here are some answers.

What is reverse mentoring?

Even if the digital gap between generations tends to narrow down little by little, reverse mentoring is growing in companies. It is based on two complementary facts:

  • The question of age is no longer decisive in the process of acquiring knowledge;
  • Young people, which are said to be — rightly or wrongly, as the case may be — digital natives, are in the best position to teach the seniors in using digital tools.

Reverse mentoring consists in asking young people to teach older employees in using digital tools (applications, software, social networks, intranet …). Generation Y is at the core of this way of conveying knowledge. New to the labour market, it proposes a different use of the digital dimension and of the internet, a more instinctive, natural, in short efficient way. This “highly digital” generation is somehow the pre-requisite for success of the digital transition facing many companies right now.

Advantages of reverse mentoring

Reverse mentoring has many advantages. We selected three of them, the most important ones — which will convince you to establish this type of learning within your teams:

  • The young coach will help your employees less familiar with digital tools save valuable time and accelerate their learning curve on subjects outside their usual comfort and ability zone.
  • Generation Y youth ask for collaboration, accountability and recognition. By taking up their mentoring role, they feel valued and involved, which stimulates their motivation and commitment.
  • Reverse mentoring will help you develop and spot future leaders, encouraging them to deal with managerial issues. This way you can prepare, little by little, the future of your company.

Reverse mentoring, a question of evangelisation

It all sound good, but how do you do it? It is easy, the same way as “traditional” mentoring: on an ad hoc basis or as part of face-to-face training. As manager, you need time to convince older employees, less familiar with digital tools, on the benefits of reverse mentoring. And to make them understand that they too can learn from the youngsters who have just graduated university …

Do you practice reverse mentoring? What results do you have? Share your experience in comments!

In-house or out-of-house training, which is better?

Always on the field, an efficient salesperson must be regularly trained. In order to keep your teams at the top, your role as manager is to also provide them with relevant information. In-house or out-of-house training, each has advantages and inconveniences. Here is our review on these two solutions.

Training is absolutely necessary throughout the career of an salesperson. Sales techniques, new tools, languages, management … Irrespective of the subject of training, the question is: in house or out of house?

The principle

In out-of-house training, a public or private training organisation provide training of the employees of a company that buys this service. In in-house training, the company itself provides training.

In-house training

Before resorting to an external company, you can ask yourselves whether any of your company employees is able to provide training. Indeed, an in-house trainer has the advantage of knowing the company, the teams and the issues well.

It may be very interesting to train some of your best employees so that they can pass knowledge on to other employees. Thus, in-house training can be more profitable than regular payment of an external trainer.

* When to choose in-house training

In-house training could be useful if the employee asked to become a trainer already has the basic skills in terms of content, as well as training skills (interest in pedagogy, pleasure in conveying knowledge). S/he must be credible before his/her co-workers and be respected by them. His/her task will be easier if s/he is already known for his/her coaching role in the company.

If training is to be delivered repeatedly, with significant follow-up and reduced implementation costs, in-house training is an option.

Out-of-house training

In the case of this option, your company becomes the customer of an approved training centre. Often more costly, this solution is however preferable in the following situations:

  • Training requires important skills in terms of content
  • No in-house trainer is available or has training skills
  • No time to design and structure training
  • Training also aims at strengthening team spirit
  • Out-of-house training costs are affordable

In house or out of house, before you make a choice, first you must ask yourself if your company has the financial resources, the time and the capacity to prepare, organise and follow up training with the employees.

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