- WRITTEN BY Jorge Rojas POSTED ON September 28,2015
Many business executives are skeptical about employing millennials, particularly because of misconceptions that they’re unwilling to work hard and have no manners. However, just like many individuals out there, these thoughts aren’t necessarily founded, and some business owners are finding it particularly fruitful to hire millennials. The reason? They have a knack for working with technology.
Venki Rao, the CIO of General Electric’s digital energy division, has seen for himself just how valuable millennials can be for the workplace. At GE’s IT Leadership Program, he discovered that millennials do, in fact, have an exceptional amount of knowledge that can be shared with the older generations, particularly in regards to today’s technology; the reasoning being that millennials, compared to baby boomers or Gen X’ers, have grown up with technology like mobile apps, smartphones, and social media, all in the palms of their hands.
By using a reverse-mentoring procedure, Rao (who’s not a millennial) was able to provide his interns with the chance to obtain real-world work experience, while providing himself an avenue for learning more about his own technology. In fact, he extended the program to his other 18 senior staff members, too. Rao argues that this practice allows executives to learn about the millennial mindset and how it can be beneficial to the workplace.
Other companies are also embracing this millennial revolution, like Cisco. Lance Perry, Cisco’s vice-president, has spent some time with a group of millennial mentors who offer substantial knowledge of social media and blogging practices. In fact, he found that it provided a boost in productivity, and that it was extremely beneficial for both of them.
Are you thinking about taking advantage of some reverse-mentoring for your own business? Consider these tips before doing so:
- Identify where your executives could use the most help. If you know what parts of technology have your senior staff itching to learn more, you can better concentrate on that.
- Make sure your millennial mentor candidates are able to work with the senior staff. In other words, make sure that your candidates are of a quality breed. If your business employs interns, you might be able to get them in on the experience.
- Prove to your senior staff that millennials have skills that can benefit them. If they see with their own eyes what your millennial employees are capable of, they will be more likely to sign onto your program.
- Create a formal structure for your mentoring program. This should include having a set number of goals and curriculum which should be discussed.
- Acquire feedback. With more information about what works and what doesn’t for the mentor program, you can configure it to work more efficiently in the future.
Ultimately, reverse-mentoring is the process of breaking down generational barriers within the workplace, allowing for greater communication between all. In fact, using technology, which millennials seem to have an aptitude for, can greatly enhance the takeaway for both parties involved. Giving millennials this kind of responsibility will help them develop into working-class professionals, which the world needs in order to continue progressing.
What are your thoughts on the process of reverse mentoring? Let us know in the comments.
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