To say that employees’ attitudes have changed over the last few years would be understatement. The supply chain and logistics industry is no exception but it might be a bit slower in adopting those new outlooks. We spoke to Jack Thomas from PrintCity about training and how younger employees can help more experienced ones to implement new strategies and points of views. You can watch the full video below.
Usually mentoring is a process where experienced employees train and teach younger people. Due to the change in technologies and social attitudes many companies are now reversing this. Reverse mentoring allows younger employees to support their more experienced colleagues in areas where they feel better prepared.
According to Jack Thomas this might not be very easy for managers and experienced professionals to accept but ultimately could benefit performance and social interactions. Thomas believes that Reverse Mentoring helps create an environment where younger employees feel more welcome and also where experienced staff can ask questions about topics they might not know much about.
Removing barriers could also help with thinking outside of the box and applying more innovative ways of solving old problems. Nevertheless, how the whole process is presented matters. Thomas underlines that initiative should come both from senior management, as well as from younger employees who think they can help their companies.
According to industrial 3D printing company and PrintCity partner, Markforged, incorporating the following approaches into your reverse mentoring scheme will help make it successful:
- Ensure everyone is on board with the programme. Mentees, no matter what their seniority or level of experience, need to be open minded and ready to accept new knowledge and ask questions. Make sure everyone understands the need to commit to a long-term partnership as it takes time to develop trust and the relationships needed for significant change and development.
- Be careful with conflicts of interest. Think carefully about pairings. It may not be suitable to have a mentor paired with anyone in their direct line of management.
- Create written agreements to ensure clear understanding of the reverse mentoring relationship. Communicate and agree on the purpose, rules and goals. How will you communicate? What does the mentee want to learn? When and where will you meet? How long is the relationship expected to last? This could be anything from a few months to a year or more, or just when the goals are achieved.
- Develop boundaries and ensure there are guidelines on professionalism. Giving guidance and security in their position is especially important for new graduates or students with little workplace experience.
- Set up regular meetings to keep up the pace of the mentoring. Executives and senior staff may be busy, but meeting at least once a month will be beneficial. Mentees will almost certainly be senior in age as well as position within the organisation and should therefore still have the responsibility to maintain and lead the mentoring relationship.
- Build evaluation points and feedback strategies into the programme so the organisation and the participants can assess how it is going and ensure both parties are benefitting.
You can watch the full interview with Jack Thomas now and learn more about what the role of mentoring is and how more experienced staff members can learn new ideas and share their experience. ✷