What Is Reverse Mentoring? - Business In The Community

Reverse mentoring has often matched more senior and older colleagues with younger, junior colleagues. Reverse mentoring has evolved to comprise senior leaders being mentored by a more junior colleague who, from a diversity and inclusion perspective, is different from them in some way, and therefore experiences their career differently. Business in the Community’s What is reverse mentoring? factsheet explains more about what it involves and how it may offer diversity and inclusion benefits.

Traditional mentoring is centred on the development of junior mentees. In reverse mentoring both the mentor and mentee have an opportunity to learn from each other. The focus of reverse mentoring is to increase the mentee’s inclusion competencies. However mentors are simultaneously provided with the opportunity to learn from their mentee’s experience, knowledge and skills so it can be considered as a career development opportunity for both parties.

What are the benefits of reverse mentoring?

Reverse mentoring is an effective way to build genuine awareness of the barriers faced by black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) employees. Organisations and leaders can demonstrate their commitment to race equality by taking time to get to know employees they may otherwise have no interactions with. Reverse mentoring can challenge established hierarchies and foster a culture where all experiences, skills and ideas are leveraged. Successful implementation of reverse mentoring improves BAME engagement, overall experience and retention.

BAME people value mentors more than other ethnic groups. They are more likely to want a mentor and more likely to value the impact of having one1. They also have a greater desire to expand their personal networks2. We need leaders to act as active sponsors, using their influence to mention the names of the BAME people when development or progression opportunities are being discussed, especially when there are no people from BAME backgrounds in the room during these conversations.

¹Business in the Community; (2018); Race at Work 2018: The Scorecard Report; available at www.bitc.org.uk

² ibid