Peabody / Reverse Mentoring pilot

Peabody have launched an innovative pilot programme which turns the traditional mentoring experience on its head. Board members and the senior leadership team will be in the learning seat as they are paired with junior staff members to mentor them on diversity and inclusion.

How does it work?

In 2020, Peabody will be piloting a new reverse mentoring focused on diversity and inclusion.

The pilot will include nine mentees who are a mixture of Board members and individuals from the senior leadership team. Mentors will be drawn from Peabody’s more junior ranks across the business. They will mentor senior leaders to learn more about diversity and inclusion issues based on their lived experiences.

At the beginning of the pilot, both mentors and mentees will share their expectations of the programme; what they would like to learn and what they think they could teach others respectively. All pairs will be expected to meet a minimum of three times using this structure to guide their meetings:

  1. Getting to know one another: Mentees are invited to share their goals for the programme.
  2. Diversity and inclusion in the workplace: Mentors are encouraged to reflect on their own work experiences, in particular any challenges they’ve faced which have been directly related to issues of diversity and inclusion. Mentees are encouraged to reflect on how their mentor’s experiences could relate to broader systematic or institutionalised practices that disadvantage/advantage particular groups.
  3. The power of the arts: Prior to this meeting, mentors will assign their mentees a ‘homework task’ to either watch a film or read a book which they feel will aid in their learning. The purpose of this this meeting will be to reflect on the issues and themes explored in the book or film, and to share personal reflections.

Optional fourth meeting:

  1. Getting out of your comfort zone: Mentors will invite their mentees to participate in an activity that they feel will help them to learn more about the specific diversity and inclusion area that they are focusing on.

The experiences of all participants will be captured via online surveys and focus groups to evaluate the effectiveness and impact of the programme.

What are the expected outcomes?

The overall goal is to support some of our most senior leaders to learn more about the challenges faced by people who identify as a minority, or about lived experiences that are markedly different to their own. Expected outcomes include:

  1. Expanding mentees’ knowledge of specific diversity and inclusion areas to inform more effective and empathetic decision-making.
  2. Support Peabody senior leaders to be more visible role models in improving workplace diversity and inclusion.
  3. Build mentors’ confidence to share their experiences and to support others (particularly those in positions of influence and authority) to learn more about diversity and inclusion.
  4. Foster greater empathy between senior leaders and employees at all levels.
  5. Reinforce a culture of inclusion at Peabody where everyone’s experiences are valued, regardless of their background or level of seniority.

The evaluation outcomes of the pilot will be key to determining the impact and sustainability of the programme.

What they said

David Lavarack – Executive Director of Corporate Services at Peabody and mentee on this pilot programme– said: “We know that learning never stops, not even for our most senior leaders at Peabody. I’m really looking forward to being in the learning seat and to experiencing diversity and inclusion from a whole new perspective.”

Yvonne Luu, Peabody Gender Network co-chair and pilot programme lead - said: “Although this programme is definitely no ‘silver bullet’ for improving organisational diversity and inclusion, it’s exciting to try something new and innovative. There’s a lot we want to test and learn from this pilot, but the enthusiasm and support we’ve had already from all of our mentors and mentees puts us in a strong position to create really impactful programme.”

Who to speak to

Joe Waters, Public Affairs Manager