What is intergenerational mentoring?

A lot of older executives are confused by innovation, social media and start-ups, most of them don’t understand or know the full potential of technology, which is where intergenerational mentoring comes in.

Intergenerational mentoring refers to the mentoring of an older executive by a younger employee on topics like technology, current trends and social media. Companies employ their younger employees, or sometimes even hire young people from outside of the company, to mentor their older executives about technology.

Young people are very digital minded, they have grown up with technology. It’s almost like a reflex or an everyday tool, not something they occasionally use to look something up, it’s a part of their way of life. The older the employees the less digital minded they are, however it is essential in the current business world. Younger mentors can teach older mentees about; why they need social media, personal branding, apps that make your day to day life easier, how to efficiently search something online etc.

With a shrinking and aging working population, knowledge retention will become more important, to prevent certain knowledge and skills from disappearing. Gathering and sharing the knowledge with the younger employees ensures knowledge retention within the company. As well as: give senior managers a better understanding of the younger talents within the organisation; ensure more communication between the two generations; make sure junior mentors will develop more skills and self-confidence. And there is an “in house” system of teaching, sharing of knowledge and talent development, which is also low cost.

Intergenerational mentoring will give companies a better understanding of the newer generations, from the employee and customer perspective; it will make new technology as accessible or tech savvy employees as well as older employees not used to technology; and the age diversity will be more active within the organisation.