Reciprocal Mentoring Really Works

It’s time to benefit from reciprocal mentoring. Are you?

Reciprocal mentoring may be just the thing you need to help your company grow. I hear a lot about Millennials and the issues employers are having with them. I have not found that to be the case. I have worked with young people; my son is a hardworking Millennial in New York City. I have mentored them in Rotary, and my assistant is one. I am not disputing the fact that generational differences exist when it comes to the workplace. What I am wondering is, how many organizations are really listening to Millennials and utilizing them in the most productive way? How many are practicing reciprocal mentoring and fostering it as part of the corporate culture?

Let’s face it, Millennials are not the only ones who want a balance between life and work, a sense of helping their community, freedom to express ideas and be respected and a more flexible work environment. Baby Boomers are keen on all those things too, and so are those in the middle between Millennials and Boomers. Boomers are the largest group of entrepreneurs in America and that means they are often hiring Millennials. Can’t we all get along?

I invite you to consider reciprocal mentoring. What do I mean? Boomers have tremendous business acumen, experience and knowledge. Millennials have an innate understanding of technology and are up on all the new apps, social media platforms, influencers, etc. Millennials know how to market to THEMSELVES. If you bring the two groups together and acknowledge the importance of what each brings, I think you may find that reciprocal mentoring is a win-win for everyone.

My assistant, Vanessa, teaches me all the time. I ask her about doing things on Snapchat (which I never use but want to know what it’s all about for our clients that need to use it). She showed me a couple of things on Instagram (which I do use) that I wasn’t sure of. She knows what young people are watching, listening to and interested in when we look at demographics for our clients. She learned how to make animated videos in no time…not a talent of mine. On the reciprocal mentoring side, I am teaching her how to write a professional email to a client, how to handle herself professionally in-person and on the phone with a client or prospect, and how to dress appropriately for meetings. Now she wants to learn to do public speaking like I do. She is learning networking skills. Her spelling, grammar and proofreading have greatly improved. This works!

Try reciprocal mentoring. Find out what each person is good at and if they enjoy mentoring. Keep everyone respectful and issues should be addressed in a safe, positive environment. We can all get along and recognize, acknowledge and utilize each generation’s special gifts to help an organization excel.

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