Listen Down - Reverse Mentoring for Change

To do our best work, we all need to feel included and valued.  We want to turn up to work in an environment where our colleagues are interested in who we are, the real person that lies beneath the masks we may wear.

The latest LinkedIn advertising campaign, #Conversationsforchange, is a great example. It illustrates the important topics at the intersection of life and work, including Covid-19’s disproportionate impact on women, equity in the workplace, and mental health.  It aims to amplify the voices and experiences of everyday business people as they share their hopes for increased belonging, representation, and opportunities in every industry.  The stories belong to real LinkedIn members, not paid actors.

Nearly a quarter of workers feel their employer has personally discriminated against them.  And one in five feel personally discriminated against “all the time” because of some aspect of their background.

When we talk to each other, when we have meetings, when we share feedback, indeed when we have any conversation, we evoke an emotional response.

The way we communicate, how we hold our conversations, can work for us or against us.  Can lead to trust or distrust.  Help us feel safe or make us feel threatened.

Employees want to trust their leaders and institutions.  They want to feel that they belong and that their team will take care of them.  They want to be treated fairly. Respected for their uniqueness and identity as a person.

If we are serious about creating more diverse, equitable, and inclusive cultures, where we respect people’s differences and take time to let people speak up, we need to become more skilled at conversations. It’s no longer enough to just increase wages or perks to retain people.  We have to focus on the heart of human connection.

Equity, Diversity & Inclusion (EDI) should include debunking the myths; the stereotype and the assumptions we all make. Achieving this through the power of conversation requires us all to be confronted by some often deep-seated uncomfortable truths and unconsciously bias patterns.

Reverse Mentoring is one of the most powerful development programmes tailored to increase connectivity between people of different levels, generations, race, gender, geography…through a different kind of conversation.

Change is more likely to happen when we have an emotional connection, when we become more aware and when we have a felt experience. When we take the time to really get to know each other and are willing to engage in really honest conversations.

Our EDI Reverse Mentoring programme brings people together who are diverse. It helps minorities to have a voice in the organisation. Mentees and mentors learn another reality through each other’s very human stories and discover profound insights. And it provides the fertile ground for these insights to inform the critical change required to truly provide equitable, diverse, and inclusive places to work.

Any CEO, decision-maker, or senior leader who is serious about EDI will know they need a reverse mentor.

What are you waiting for?

Click here to find out more or give the team a call on +44 1884 799 236 if you want to find out if this is for you.

By Sara Hope

Case studies

Retention / Leadership / Employee Experience

Reverse Mentoring Programme – RSM

Retention / Career Development / Employee Experience

Mastering Conversations

Talent development / Performance / Employee Experience

Conversations in fashion

In their words...

"Conversation Space have provided invaluable support in designing and implementing our reverse mentoring programme. Their insight and guidance has helped ensure a successful pilot in our Birmingham office – the outputs from which have included immediate practical positive steps for the business. We are now rolling out the programme to a number of other locations. I have found Conversation Space a pleasure to work with and look forward to their continued involvement moving forward."

Mark Taylor
Regional Managing Partner / RSM