In India, most discussions and initiatives pertaining to diversity always boils down to gender diversity. However, ‘diversity’ is not just restricted to gender alone, but exists in the people strategy dynamics too. One important form is ‘generational diversity’, which is even more important in today’s times, when so many generations — GenX, GenY and GenZ— are working together in the workplace.
I has become essential for organisations, now more than ever before, to make sure that all these generations are able to work together in an inclusive environment.
Since the new generation is way ahead in terms of knowledge, especially when it comes to digital tools and social-media platforms, it is equally important for the older generations to keep pace. That is why, Max Life has launched a reverse mentoring programme.
As the name suggests, there is a reversal in roles. Usually, the senior leadership teams play the role of mentors and guide the younger employee. Here, however, the younger employees at Max Life are playing mentors to their senior leaders.
In the first leg of reverse mentoring at Max Life, about 30 leaders have participated including the CXOs and their first-line reportees such as SVPs and VPs, shares Shailesh Singh, chief people officer, Max Life insurance.
The reverse mentoring programme has only just been initiated, and has begun with the Gurugram office. It will soon be extended to all locations in the country.
“Those from the older generation are lagging in certain areas including digital knowledge. We need to fill that gap to be able to build an agile workforce of the future”
Shailesh Singh, chief people officer, Max Life insurance
“We aim to cover about 100 leaders in the coming days,” says Singh.
Amongst the subjects covered by the young mentors in this programme are, ways of increasing social-media presence and effective use of digital-collaboration tools such as MS teams and Zoom. “Other advanced areas under digital skills will also be covered in the coming months,” reveals Singh.
As part of the programme, it has been decided that the young mentors and their mentees will spend at least an hour a month with each other, learning new digital skills.
“The pairing of the mentors and mentees is done as per the learning needs of the senior leaders,” explains Singh.
He further adds that a ‘growth mindset’ is part of the core values of Max Life Insurance, and the reverse mentoring programme is a reflection of this very core value.
“Those from the older generation are lagging in certain areas including digital knowledge. We need to fill that gap to be able to build an agile workforce of the future,” says Singh.
In the coming days, the teams will go back to the senior leaders to take their feedback and come up with some new areas of digital skills that can be covered in the upcoming sessions. In fact, the Company plans to create a pool of mentors and mentees who will have the freedom to choose their partners to conduct mentorship sessions with. The Company desires to make this process technology-enabled in the near future.
Objectives of the programme
The foremost objective of Max Life’s reverse mentoring programme is to create an inclusive environment. “Since all generations are working together, this will help break the hierarchical divide within the organisation,” says Singh.
Second, it will help build an agile organisation for the future, and third, it validates the core value of fostering a growth mindset. “As an organisation, we need to keep learning and embrace a ‘forever learning’ attitude, irrespective of age,” shares Singh. Moreover, the youngsters will also get to spend some time with their seniors, which is a career booster for them.
Singh shares that the idea for reverse mentoring was conceptualised by the HR team and very well supported and sponsored by the senior leadership at Max Life Insurance.