Most of the time we think that mentoring is a relationship of help that exists between an expert, an older professional, who can guide a student with an appropriate advice and practical guidance.
However, in recent studies in 21st century we can notice that there are many young millennials who might be better mentors in areas such as technology, social media and programming. You might ask, why? Because they are the first generation that can truly be considered digital natives, they have grown up using computers and all kinds of technology connected with PC, mobiles (smartphones) and tablets. For this reason, more and more executives are looking for information and guidance in younger professionals, making them essential advisors to senior leaders who need to stay ahead.
Millennials can guide them in Programming and Social Media area (Facebook, Snap Chat, Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn etc.).
Many companies know this type of learning and for example the cosmetic brand L’Oréal includes a reverse mentoring program to make people of different generations meet and get to know each other directly, instead of relying on the data provided by consultancies and investigations.They believe that it is an opportunity to broaden horizons, build trust, share digital skills and chart the future direction of strategies. Topics are trained as digital communication tools, trends in the workplace and valuable information on leadership is obtained.
Another example of mentoring can be found at Microsoft where a 28-year-old Norwegian technology connoisseur mentors his boss older. We observe a changing trend regarding the need for previous work experience, they are large companies that seek other types of skills.
“Reverse mentoring helps me get insight into the next generation, who they are, what they value and how to communicate with them. I’ve never experienced anything like it in my career before.” Michael Jacobs, General Manager, Microsoft Norway
Companies are looking for candidates with different profiles. Studies are no longer valued, but a series of skills and abilities that cannot be defined in a curriculum. This is the case of young people, used to using social networks or computer programs. Due to their experience they can provide another type of knowledge to their workmates because they have completed another method of learning.