In the previous blog post, we renamed and redefined reverse mentoring as reciprocal learning. The old model of mentoring—whether flipped or not—doesn’t capture what’s truly happening when senior leaders and millennials come together to share their experiences and expertise. For this post, we dive a bit deeper and discuss benefits for both the mentee and mentor, share some guidelines and discussion topics, and touch on how to measure success.
Reciprocal Learning Benefits
Reciprocal learning creates an environment where learning is a two-way street. When seasoned executives (mentees) are paired with younger employees (mentors) to develop business or digital/technological acumen and promote diversity and inclusion, both grow through the process. The relationship goes beyond traditional mentoring by paving the way for an exchange of learning where a wealth of existing experience is present on both sides.
This exchange can drive organizational progress and reap significant benefits:
The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) recommends reverse-mentorship guidelines that apply to reciprocal learning.
Recommended Discussion Starters
Below is a list of discussion starters SHRM shared. We’ve expanded and added to the list.
When the opportunity exists for learning to take place, leaders want to see the data and results. Reciprocal learning is a part of an overall learning and development strategy and framework. Drawing from either the Kirkpatrick Model or a blended approach using the Kirkpatrick/Phillips Model to evaluate training efforts applies here as with other training initiatives.
Give it a try. Consider designing and implementing a pilot program on a small-scale basis for six months. This not only provides critical data, but it also creates buzz and grows program champions that may be leveraged during a full-scale implementation.
 Gubbi, P., Hubbard, S., & Smith, R. (2017, February 16). How to Create a Successful Reverse Mentoring Program to Promote Gender Diversity. Retrieved February 04, 2018, from https://blog.shrm.org/blog/how-to-create-a-successful-reverse-mentoring-program-to-promote-gender-dive
 Gubbi, 2017.
 Barton, S. (2016, July 19). How to use the Kirkpatrick Model for Measuring Modern Mentoring. Retrieved February 04, 2018, from https://chronus.com/blog/use-kirkpatrick-model-measure-modern-mentoring
Our clients and the training community ask us questions and often consistent themes emerge. From making learning stick to developing skills we once assumed every employee possessed, the challenges today’s businesses face can be transformed through a strong learning culture.
Every year, the learning and development industry presents exciting developments, time-saving innovations, and new research. Solutions Arts follows and tests theories, practices, and technologies, and our clients benefit from what we learn. We value sharing what we learn and the opportunity to discuss it here on our blog.