1 Siemens AG (GERMANY)
2 University of Zilina (SLOVAKIA)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2020 Proceedings
Publication year: 2020
Pages: 2386-2392
ISBN: 978-84-09-17939-8
ISSN: 2340-1079
doi: 10.21125/inted.2020.0724
Conference name: 14th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 2-4 March, 2020
Location: Valencia, Spain
Mentoring is commonly seen and understood as a system of semi-structured guidance whereby one person – mentor - shares his/her knowledge, skills and experience to assist other person - mentees - to progress in his/her own life and/or career. Many companies run mentoring and coaching programs in both available forms, formal and informal one. In most of the cases they are pre-defined as a career development initiatives for junior employees to learn the skills and behaviors from senior managers that they need to advance to higher-responsibility positions.

Siemens AG as a global powerhouse focusing on the areas of electrification, automation and digitalization is very aware of an importance and power of mentoring and coaching as instruments for know-how transfer and individual as well as professional development. The company recognized, that especially Digitalization, which is one of the focus areas, requires a change not only in employees but also in management behavior.

This includes for example:
- open and direct communication
- usage of new & different communication channels (e.g. internal and external social networks)
- openness and preparation to share information
- readiness to receive a feedback (even as a manager)
- improvement of IT skills
- active learning of and from the “new generations” (X-Z)
- exploring of new ideas and point of views on multiple topics
- learning of new ways of working
- …

Following these facts, Siemens AG initiated a new type of mentoring & coaching: Reverse Mentoring.

Reverse Mentoring turns the “junior” into the role of “senior’s” coach and reversing the roles of traditional mentoring. Managers have with that the great opportunity to learn from “younger” generation, born as a “digital native”, and develop own personal and professional skills. It is an innovative way to encourage learning and build network by pairing up a younger employee who acts as a mentor to share expertise and a senior colleague who acquires new knowledge as a mentee.

After a successful pilot phase within Supply Chain Management and Real Estate organizations further company-wide roll-out was initiated.
Gained experiences served as a basis for the identification of program base like:
- pre-conditions of participation
- participant selection
- mentor and mentee allocation
- coaching type
- duration & frequency
- …

The established initiative of Reverse Mentoring serves now the purpose that company believes -> to make experienced managers fit for the digital future and create a new type of “digital” leaders who are essential for company success in the times of digital transformation.
Mentoring, coaching, digital leadership.