Reverse Mentoring and the Importance of Gen Z Engagement with Senior Leaders

We explore reverse mentoring and the vital role it plays in helping to educate senior leaders, managers and c-suite executives with Gen Z engagement. Guest written by Ved Nathwani.

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COVID-19 highlighted to many large corporates, the importance of organisational planning and consumer adaption. The swift move online from working-from-home to bolstering e-commerce capabilities for firms showed the importance and need for companies to keep up with consumer trends & employee preferences.

However, now more than ever these trends are being set by Gen Z, who make up 32% of the global population and are the largest generation on the planet. They are now fast becoming, the customers, employees and clients of every major organisation globally.

Gen Z is known to be a very misunderstood generation, and the lack of understanding of their preferences and values amongst senior executives can have huge ramifications on the long-term growth and development of companies. Without fully understanding Gen Z, companies can reduce their emerging talent pool, damage their reputation and in the long term diminish their customer loyalty, all because they’re not implementing strategies and policies which appeal to Gen Z.

One of the biggest ways to solve this dilemma is to implement reverse mentoring. Junior employees and external Gen Zers like students, mentoring senior executives can provide a first-hand and deep insight into the younger generation and can have some profound positive effects, including those below.

1. Through reverse mentoring, senior executives can gain a first-hand understanding of current Gen Z trends and preferences. This can help shape business and marketing strategy.

2. Executives can also gain a very different perspective on the world and how to deal with problems. Gen Z grew up in an interconnected, globalised and technological world. Their view on business and life, in general, is very different to that of a C-suite executive, and their approach to tackling problems will be refreshing and new.

3. From a junior employee angle, senior executives can understand junior employees’ demands and help develop an appealing work environment complemented by a strong training programme, which will support the retention and attraction of the best talent. This can include developing diversity and wellbeing strategies that aren’t just words but create an inclusive and supportive organisational culture and resonate with Gen Z employees.

Engagement between Gen Z and corporate executives is vital if companies want to continue to attract the best employees, and more broadly want to develop a multigenerational customer and client base, which will set them up well for future growth.

Ved is the founder of Lotus Nine, a Gen Z & youth consultancy which provides advisory services fuelled by reverse mentoring to corporates, helping them tackle Gen Z misunderstanding.
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