December 02, 2019 / 11:00AM / Nduneche Ezurike / Header Image Credit: Nduneche Ezurike
The convener of the Employee Marketplace Initiative, Nduneche Ezurike, has challenged organizations, wishing to compete in the era of the 4th industrial revolution, to embrace reversed mentoring as a way of bridging the knowledge gap that exists between Millennials and the older generations in the Nigerian workplace. Mr. Ezurike made this call during his presentation at the year 2019 Employee Marketplace (EMP) initiative; a leadership engagement session on workplace innovation. This year's session was titled: "Who Really Cares about Workplace Motivation?
According to him, there currently exists an inter-generational conflict amongst the two dominant generations, which is fueled by differences in experiences, attitudes, and expectations. He noted that while there have been positive efforts in most organizations to create a more congenial work environment, such as implementing flat structures and first name basis communication, a major militating factor is the inability of some generation X professionals in today's digital workplace to effectively leverage technology to solve everyday problems. Hence, there is a need to learn digital skills from the Millennials whilst at the same time supporting them with the much-needed supervision and emotional intelligence to achieve a better workplace.
Considering the prerequisite humility required from both generations to teach and learn from each other, it is inevitable that will be incongruence between expectations one generation will have from the other. In his words, "whilst the traditional mentoring system has helped to instill in the younger professionals the basic values of teaming and ethical conduct, there is however an urgent need for organizations to embrace the policy of reversed mentoring as one radical way of bridging the knowledge gap in the era of internet of things"
Responding to fears that reversed mentoring is fraught with many dangers, given that cultural impediments do not encourage the younger generations to teach the older folks, Mr. Ezurike explained that the cultural barriers are less significant in threat than the danger of not embarking on this bold step. He emphasized that driving workplace motivation, particularly amongst the millennial employees, is not just about teaching and learning. Rather, it is about creating opportunities for knowledge sharing as well as improving the level of confidence and communication on both sides.
This forms the nucleus of reversed mentoring as it allows experienced employees to achieve sustained efficacy on newer technology without the need for more formal training. Thus, they can adapt to changing workplace technologies and trends like social media, phone messaging apps, crowdsourcing, or other new Software. Moreover, Reverse Mentoring also helps strengthen relationships within the workforce and makes employees feel more connected to the company and its values. Mr. Ezurike further emphasized that reverse mentoring has become inevitable, given the changes in the 4th industrial revolution, which demands that organizations are agile and adaptable in other to compete in the open and interconnected world.
Making contributions during the session, the Registrar and CEO of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria, Mr. Awojobi, highlighted the need for leadership emotional intelligence that recognizes the different cultures, experiences, skills and values that subsist within each generation, while providing opportunities to harness their inherent strengths to drive co-existence and co-creation in line with organizational goals
The Employee Marketplace Initiative, now in its second year, is an initiative designed to generate research and stimulate conversations on how to achieve, generational stability and workplace innovation in the modern workplace.