It’s widely acknowledged: creating a culture of coaching and mentoring within an organisation positively influences employee engagement and retention rates.

Traditionally, mentoring is a top down process. With a more experienced individual offering support, encouragement & advice to someone less senior to themselves. But is this approach becoming outdated? And limiting? Organisations might be able to reap more benefits if they’re open to reversing this traditional mentoring process. If they source mentors from up and down the ranks.

Regardless of seniority or experience, we all possess different strengths, weaknesses and areas of expertise. No one person can have all the answers or be fully versed in every aspect of the business.

Which is where reverse mentoring comes in. Whether it’s about company strategy, leadership, or how to get the best out of social media and new technologies – there will always be something that we can learn from others, whatever their age or rank.

Reverse mentoring can be used to an organisation’s maximum advantage, as an extra source of help and support, to promote learning and strengthen relationships across all levels within the organisation. It can encourage employee engagement, giving younger and junior staff members the opportunity to educate and inform the more senior. Something that might be especially useful in the areas of social media, new technologies and understanding a younger market demographic.

Reverse mentoring can help build confidence, value and recognition in the younger team members. While giving senior Executives the opportunity to get to know more about the business leaders of the future. The chance to understand what keeps their more junior colleagues motivated and engaged, as well as getting a fresh view of their thoughts about the business, its processes and systems.

Of course, the initiative does require thought, guidance, considered selection and review. Effective communication is essential, to ensure that both mentor and mentee feel comfortable with the process and to create chemistry that’s respectful and engaging so that everyone can get the most from the opportunity.

Reverse mentoring is about making the most of the strengths within the business by assigning the right mentor to the right mentee, regardless of whether they are more senior or junior. Get it right, and without a doubt, everyone will learn something valuable, and keep skills developing and an organisation thriving.