Make Your Team Magical: How-to Leverage An Intergenerational Workforce

Real quick. It’s hard for companies (especially with this whole remote vs. hybrid vs. onsite cyclone storm still spinning) to retain “up and comer” talent. At the same time, other people farther along in their career are suddenly finding themselves in need of upskilling and reskilling to stay in the game.

So, how do companies keep their entire intergenerational workforce modern? Two words: reverse mentoring.

Reverse Mentoring: A Fast Recap

It’s not a new idea. In fact, in the late ‘90s, GE’s Jack Welch took this approach to teach senior executives how to use the internet. We’ve come a long way since then, and many experienced employees still are struggling with things those digital native employees learn (by osmosis?). All it takes is a few seconds on TikTok, and you’ll see newly minted grads complaining that their highly paid ‘bosses’ can’t create a slide deck if their life depended on it. 

The main idea here: Everyone can learn from each other. It builds trust and is a two-way street of learning for both people involved. Let’s talk more about this. 

How Can My Team Benefit?

Let us count the ways (spoiler alert: there’s 5).

  • Creates Opportunities for Learning and Re-skilling
    While many of us probably *could* sit through a webinar, online class, or read a manual on how to do all the things, it’s so much easier to talk through it with someone. Or have them explain it to you in person. This way, you can personalize your learning, do it at your own pace, and get all the little tips and tricks you may not get from a pre-canned tutorial.
  • Promotes Diversity
    Instead of guessing at the issues, concerns, and needs of people who are different than the dominant culture (like LGTBQIA+ for example), it’s easiest (and best) to just talk to them. By pairing senior talent up with younger talent who are different than themselves, the learning can go both directions.
  • Drives Diversity of Thinking Internally (Team) & Externally (Customer)
    Everyone can grow and learn with fresh perspectives. It’s too easy for even the best of companies to get stuck in siloes, not want to step out of their comfort zones (true of both Gen Z and Gen X and everyone in between)), and forget to interact with people. By engaging across generations, teams, and roles, everyone can think differently than they’re used to. This can broaden each team member’s horizons both internally and externally.
  • Increases Team Engagement & Builds Trust
    Instead of junior and senior talent working autonomously and in isolation, when mentors and mentees pair up, they gain insight into each other’s lives, jobs, challenges, and needs. When leadership makes decisions, younger talent can understand the strategy behind it. This builds trust between both groups since both are involved in the entire process.
  • Don’t Just Keep Up. Advance.
    Being modern is about more than trying to stay on pace with the latest generation. And for younger talent, the only way to gain experience is through doing. There are no shortcuts in either direction, but together, everyone can keep up with what’s current without feeling left behind. It’s possible to be modern without losing your authenticity. All of us can stay relevant, think more towards the future, and yes, even gain experience. Reverse mentoring is a smart way to keep your culture moving forward and growing.

That’s Great. How Can You Help Me With This, Forshay?

Many of our clients who are going through fast growth may not be ready to hire a full-time Head of People or Marketing. Clients often rely on employees, often junior talent to wear multiple hats while scaling. By hiring a part-time Interim Head of People, you can hire all the wisdom, knowledge and expertise at half the price. We can also help you create a mentorship program in your learning and development group. Or we could go the more traditional route and coach your executives in how to change their ways of working. Hit us up. We love this type of work. 


Work is a team sport. We are on your team — drop us a line to tell us how we can help.