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Pairing Up With a Younger Mentor - Reverse Mentoring

Executives who are all thumbs with new technology are turning to younger associates for advice on how to best utilise the latest technology and social media innovations in their daily business life.

Photo of Rami Karaki
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There is a growing digital divide in workplaces—between twentysomethings with social-media savvy and tech-impaired older managers. To address it, more companies are trying reverse mentoring, pairing young employees with older colleagues to work on tech skills.

This reverse mentouring in firms don't always work, because they are often intimidating to young mentors and awkward for older colleagues, who may be embarrassed to reveal how little they know. That's why, they should set clear goals, good chemistry, a  time commitment and an open-minded attitude among senior executives raise the odds of success

This is a really interesting way for older executives at company to learn from younger employees how to properly use the social media, which in the last few years it became a vital component for business success. (WSJ 2014)

Applying this reverse mentoring to daily life of younger and older people, it can be used to teach people in their late 50's or 60's how to use social media, the internet, or any other online device that will connect them to their relatives, friends or loved ones especially that many of those are living away from their kids who left the house to go to college, or got married or moved to another states or countries to work. 
So by doing this, you're helping the older people getting in touch with other people, and staying/keeping others updated on what's happening in their lives.

Links about reverse mentoring happening in the workplace for further readings:
http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702303903304579588122552355480?mg=reno64-wsj&url=http%3A%2F%2Fonline.wsj.com%2Farticle%2FSB10001424052702303903304579588122552355480.html
http://www.bbc.com/capital/story/20140311-meet-your-mentor-hes-just-24
 

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Photo of Val Pierre

In France, we also have such talks for reverse-mentoring in enterprises: http://business.lesechos.fr/directions-ressources-humaines/manager-plusieurs-generations-4-cles-pour-relever-le-defi-59114.php
If top management promotes it, this can be very valuable for the young adult joining the enterprise or making an internship, and the older adult who can gain from digital knowledge or new methods (ex: Agile) inputs.
The software tools already deployed in the enterprise, such enterprise portal with an expert search feature or enterprise social network, can certainly help workers to connect and find a mentor based on the needed skills.

Now this is inside the enterprise world. Outside, could we leverage social networks to help young adults and older people to pair? or would it require to create a new platform, considering the older people are not so involved in the social networks?

Note: On that enterprise topic, it is worth mentioning a 3-days conference created originally by Danone and now involving several french large companies, called "Octave" (http://programmeoctave.com/en), focused on the topic: "how to give the young people and seniors (50+) their proper place in the enterprise". This kind of conference definitely contributes to bringing awareness on the need to help young people and seniors to share their knowledge and skills.