The value of reverse mentoring in the life sciences industry
Finding a mentor to help guide them in their career is the goal of many young professionals. But reverse mentorship (when a younger, less experienced employee becomes the mentor) can be even more beneficial because it’s a win-win. This is especially true in technology-driven fields like Rife’s science industry.
Former General Electric CEO Jack Welch popularized the concept of reverse mentorship in 1999. according to To forbesAs the internet was just starting to take off, he wanted his younger employees to help senior managers learn how to navigate the new technology.
At the time, Welch had no idea how much his early technology would evolve over the next 20 years. But the role technology plays in all aspects of working life today makes Rivers’ concept of mentoring more applicable than ever.
Pharmaceutical giants and start-ups alike have implemented their own versions of these programs and hope their employees can help themselves.
Takeda is one of these companies. Her Charlotte Owens, MD, vice president and director of the Center for Health Equity and Patient Affairs at Takeda, said: bio space She sees reverse mentorship as a way to further diversify and further develop the talent the company already has.
“At Takeda, the Center for Health Equity and Patient Affairs works internally and externally to identify and address health inequities. increase. “We recognize the need for a diverse workforce and see reverse mentorship as another opportunity to capitalize on that.”
Owens is also Adjunct Assistant Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology. Morehouse College of Medicinein the training and education of medical students and residents. She emphasized the importance of mentorship in the careers of young employees.
The idea that “nothing is impossible”
“Mentorship allows you to borrow other people’s dreams until you can clearly see and acquire your own,” Owens said. “It provides a space to create, gather advice, and have candid conversations—all of which are important ingredients for advancing a professional career and building professional resilience.”
She also emphasized the value of reverse mentorship for more experienced team members. It’s no surprise that younger employees can help mentees become more efficient through technology, but younger employees tend to have something more valuable, Owens said. – Positive outlook.
“Younger employees tend to have a ‘nothing is impossible’ mindset, and they don’t have the same fears and limitations that they get over time.”
break down the typical hierarchy
Still, there are challenges to making a reverse mentoring program successful, especially when it’s first introduced. The most obvious challenge is the inevitable tension that comes from disrupting the typical hierarchy and status quo. Accepting constructive criticism can be difficult for everyone, but this is exacerbated when there are unusual power dynamics at work.
Another potential challenge in these programs is the lack of shared interest, especially in organizations that do not prioritize diversity. Owens noted that young mentees typically imitate their mentors, which is much easier when the mentor shares similar backgrounds and experiences. But when that’s not possible, one or both parties may become frustrated or discouraged and miss out on what they could have learned.
“Research shows that we tend to choose career paths based on where we see ourselves and people like us … creating pathways for more diverse talent within these programs and helping younger generations It’s important for people to be able to see people like themselves succeeding in their field. rice field.
Cultivate Safe Spaces for Honest Growth
The ultimate goal of both traditional and reverse mentorship is growth. And in order to achieve any kind of growth, you first need a level of open-mindedness and willingness to change.
Luckily, there are ways to help your employees achieve this growth. It is about creating an environment where employees feel safe. The first step, according to Owens, is to create a space where employees can be honest without fear of retaliation or resentment.
After that, it’s even more important for both senior and junior employees to accept feedback without judgment and learn from it, says Owens.
“Sometimes it’s hard to get honest feedback, but it’s necessary to better understand people, teams, and even ourselves,” says Owens.
And a successful reverse mentorship program can have ripple effects in all aspects of your company.
“This is the effort. [in creating a safe environment] Across mentorship programs that drive increased employee productivity, motivation, and commitment that are valued across the organization,” Owens concluded.