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Friday
Nov012019

The Business Case For Diversity

Today, people are living and working for longer than ever before which mean there is a new challenge for employers for how to effectively support and retain older workers.

If you’re not familiar with the term, the “grey ceiling”; it is a term used to describe the age discrimination that many older job seekers and workers face while they’re searching for jobs or seeking promotions. Although employers aren’t allowed to discriminate based upon age, getting hired can be a challenge when you’re viewed as an “older” worker. 

Several research studies have shown that older people face discrimination when seeking jobs and a survey of businesses by Capita Resourcing found that three-quarters of HR leaders agree that they still need to address their managers’ unconscious age bias during recruitment processes.

We hear a lot about diversity and inclusion today, but some people seem to forget that this means age, too, and the business case for diversity applies to older workers. New evidence from McKinsey and Co., in their report Delivering through Diversity, shows that the more diverse a workforce, the more productive and more successful the company will be – this includes peoples age! Therefore, retaining older workers makes good business sense.

However, sometimes employers and managers think that age predicates incapability and that older workers are unable to carry out their role effectively when in reality, the benefits of employing older workers are endless but to focus on a few they include dedication, punctuality, reliability, maturity, setting a good example and being a role model to younger workers. 

So, what can you do to help promote the benefits of an age-diverse workforce? 

You can start by spreading positive messages regarding how age diversity can benefit the workplace. State the business case of diversity and make sure you include age - you know it makes sense, so don’t let any millennials tell you otherwise. 

Make Sure Your Skills Are Used Appropriately

If you’re going to be put in charge of Facebook, downloading a free proposal template or setting up webinars when you’ve never done any of this before then that is not a good use of your skills and doesn’t benefit you or the company you work for. Make sure that your wealth of skills and experience, as well as transferable skills, are put to good use. Don’t let anyone put you off for being ‘too experienced’ either. There are many reasons why you might want a job that is at a lower level than you have previously carried out, you may wish to less responsibility but still, want to use your skills in the workplace. This is okay; you would be an asset to any company, so don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. 

Positively Enforce Intergenerational working

Remember that older and younger workers can learn so much from each other, so provide opportunities for working together. If your company isn’t doing it then, how about you implement intergenerational mentoring programmes? Find things that you want to learn from the young ones and ask them if there’s anything they want to learn from you - or if you have noticed there are skills they are not particularly good at or are lacking in, then teach them!

Friday
Nov012019

Four Mobile Device Security Options For Small Businesses

Many businesses supply their staff with mobile devices for their work, like laptops, phones and tablets. Once you’ve handed over the devices to the team, you shouldn’t just forget all about them and assume staff will keep everything safe. It’s important to protect your company’s information and data (especially if you store any client data) with proper mobile device security. There are a few ways that you can do this to reduce the risk of breaches, device loss and other security issues.

Security Policy

Make sure you have a well-defined security policy in place to protect your devices. Any staff that are issued a company owned device should agree to the policy, including yourself. You can include rules about physical security. For example, make staff agree to never leave any company owned devices unattended or left in the car once they’ve left the office. Include some rules about proper device usage. This could include rules like not allowing staff to download apps that haven’t been approved by the company previously, or not allowing family members to use company owned devices or not using work devices for personal use. These policies protect your devices from malware and from unauthorised persons accessing company data.

Mobile Device Management

Enterprise mobile device management solutions allow you to remotely manage device security for all company owned devices. Whether you use an outside agency for this or manage device security from your in-house IT team, you can use MSM to configure security policies and automatically push these policies to any company owned device, whether they are in the building or not. You can control things like access to applications and block apps that sap productivity, automatically download apps that are required for work, and manage app updates yourself. You can automatically push any security updates to your devices to keep everything safe.

It also allows you to track the physical location of your owned devices, which can help if a device is lost or stolen. You can also track device usage, so you’ll know if any of your staff are using your devices for personal use, or are wasting company time when they should be working. 

Track the health of your devices and any warranties that may need updating, enforce data encryption, wipe a device that has been lost or stolen or push out company device policies automatically, without bringing the devices back to the office. 

Malware Protection

Malware is everywhere. To protect against it, make sure that any company device has strong malware and antivirus protection. Keep this protection up to date. You can use MDM services to update all the devices automatically, wherever they happen to be, meaning that you can’t accidentally forget one. Your malware protection should be maintained in order to protect against a range of attacks. 

Offer staff training about how to spot malware online. Make sure that they know not to open suspicious looking emails and not to click on strange links or open unrecognised attachments. Make sure the training includes how to tell if a website is secure, and what to do if they think their device may have been infected. Your IT team should be monitoring device health too, but the main user is likely to spot a problem faster, as they use it everyday. 

Authentication Solutions

To log into your devices, you want a more secure solution than simple passwords and usernames. Passwords that are used should be secure; don’t allow staff to use anything easy to guess. Ideally, strong passwords should include random strings of letters, numbers and special characters. Require device users to change passwords regularly, so they can’t be hacked. 

Use multiple times of authentication. A password is one type, so add a couple more. Passwords are known as a knowledge factor, but you should also use a possession factor and an inherence factor. Knowledge factors are things like PINs, passwords and usernames. Possession factors include things like require you to have the device in your possession. This could be something like confirmation codes or one-off passwords sent via text message. Inherence factors are usually biometric. Requiring staff to use something like their fingerprints to log into a device would satisfy this criteria. 

For extra security, you could also add location and time factors. These are not secure on their own, but can add some extra security. Location factors use GPS data to allow or block certain requests. Time factors block access to features between certain hours, such as after work when nobody should be using the system.

Wednesday
Oct302019

Barriers To Online Purchases You Should Be Busting

If you’re running an ecommerce business, then your number one concern should be ensuring that your website is built to make it as easy as possible for your customers to get access to the products that they want. Yet, still, we see countless examples of poorly designed, poorly marketed, and poorly supported websites failing to get the conversions they need. Here are four barriers you should recognize and do what you can to demolish.

Poor visibility

Marketing an ecommerce website is different from marketing any other website. You’re not just trying to give your business the online presence it deserves, you’re trying to extend that presence to your products, as well. When focusing on SEO efforts, make sure you’re focusing on product pages. Make sure your items make it to the Google Shopping search function. Consider PPC ad campaigns based not on your website alone but on specific products or categories that are well-suited to appeal to more niche audiences. Give your product lineup some real visibility, since it’s what’s going to be drawing most visitors in the first place.

If your analytics show that people start the buying process but neglect to finish it, take a closer look why. Streamlining the process and removing some steps from clicking the “Add to Cart” button and finalizing the sale can help. If you can’t shorten it, consider using navigation breadcrumbs so your visitors can at least see where they are in the process and how many more steps they have to complete. You should also consider using automated email marketing that reaches out to customers who have abandoned their shopping cart, encouraging them to pick it up again.

Payment snafus

If you get common complaints or people asking why you don’t accept certain payments, then you could be missing one of the methods that your particular market prefers to rely on the most. Ensure that your website can accept credit card payments and consider any other methods that you might want to support. PayPal is another of the biggies, and any website that lacks either of these payment methods could risk alienating people who are ready to finalize that sale.

Not enough support

Even if your site is well designed and well equipped to handle all kinds of customers, you should expect that some are still going to have some problems and some questions they need help with. Having an FAQ to answer some of the biggest questions might work well enough, but the most effective implementation of support is to have a live chat app installed on the website. As such, you can have members of the team ready to offer support, or even AI-driven bots that can direct visitors to the right pages or content based on a series of questions.

Does your ecommerce website suffer from any of the issues above? If so, it’s time to reel it back, get back to the drawing board, and implement the elements of good design that can turn your business into a success.

Tuesday
Oct292019

3 Basic Data Security Tips For New Businesses

Your business collects a huge amount of data about your customers. If you know how to analyze it properly, your can use that information to direct you marketing campaigns. Businesses that make use of their data will find it a lot easier to pick up new customers and maintain a good relationship with their existing ones, but there is a big downside to all of that data. It’s up to you to protect it and a data breach can be devastating for your business. You will lose the trust of your customers and you may find yourself on the wrong side of the law, so it’s vital that you protect it properly. The problem is, a lot of new business owners don’t know where to start with data protection. If you are starting a business, here are some important tips on data protection to help you avoid any disasters.

Know What You Are Collecting 

This might sound stupid, but do you actually know what data you are collecting about your customers? You’d be surprised how many business owners don’t really know exactly what information they hold, and if you don’t know what information you are collecting, how are you supposed to protect it properly? It’s important that you have a clear idea of exactly what information is collected, how it is collected, and where it is stored. This will help you to work out which assets are the biggest targets for hackers, so you can direct security resources more effectively. 

Hire The Right IT Team 

Simply buying and installing some security software is not enough to protect your data. Hackers are always finding new ways around security software and they can easily pick up on any weak points in your system. That’s why you need to hire an IT service provider to manage your security for you. They will monitor systems and patch weak points as they find them, and they can keep your security software up to date so you always have the best protection from hackers. You’re not an IT expert so you are not qualified to handle security on your own. If you want to be safe, it’s best to leave it to somebody that knows what they’re doing.

Be Careful With Emails 

Email is a great tool, but it can be a big danger in terms of data security, especially when you are sending mass emails. Hackers may use your mass emails as a way of attacking your customer’s computers, and that will reflect very badly on your business. You also need to watch out for any incoming emails that contain malicious links. If you click one of these links, you open yourself up to attacks. When you are sending sensitive data over email, there is also the chance that it could be intercepted and stolen, so you need to be incredibly careful with your emails. Always make sure that you encrypt and password protect any emails with private data on them, and never open an email and click a link unless you are positive about the source. 

You can’t afford to make any mistakes when it comes to data protection, so make sure to follow these simple tips when you start your own business.

Tuesday
Oct292019

5 Ways To Save Paper In The Workplace 

Did you know that the average US office employee can get through as much as 10,000 sheets of paper in a single year? When this is scaled up across all employees working within even a very small-sized business it amounts to an eye-watering number. All businesses, big and small, should look to save paper not only because it can save them a lot of money but also because it can have less of an impact on the environment. So if you think your paper usage is still a little too high then here are 5 things you can do to help reduce it. 

 

  1. Store all documents electronically

    The easiest way to reduce printing is not to print at all. If your company is still in the habit of printing and filing as a storage solution then it’s time to change to Cloud Solutions. By storing all of your documents electronically on the cloud not only will you have access to them from anywhere in the world with an internet connection but you’ll be saving a ton of physical space and paper wastage too. We all know that 99% of the documents we have filed in the office never get looked at, so they may as well not be looked at online instead.

  2. Reuse scrap paper as draft paper
    There’s always a lot of waste paper hanging around the office from letters, misprints and draft documents etc. This paper could be repurposed as scrap paper. Keep a scrap paper pile for making notes, doing any drawings and conducting any brainstorms on and also use it for any non-essential draft printing to save on using up valuable quality paper. When you’re done with the reused scrap paper, you will have given it a second lease of life and can then recycle it.

  3. Print double-sided rather than single-sided

Printing double-sided can help to reduce your paper usage by half, which is an instant improvement. Encourage all employees to print double-sided as standard unless absolutely necessary.

  1. Build a paperless culture
    The best way to ensure that everyone in your workplace is saving paper on a day to day basis is by building it into your workplace culture. Clearly define your company values and include one on working sustainably and consciously to help reduce unnecessary paper wastage. Ensure that your office is also well equipped to support proper recycling processes by providing plenty of recycling bins and opportunities for people to use draft paper.

Proof and preview

 

It may never be possible to cut out printing in your workplace altogether but you can make sure that when you do print you are careful to avoid mistakes.  Proofread and preview every document very carefully to avoid mistakes and misprints which will cause you to need to print more than one version. You can use browser extensions such as Grammarly to help you with your spelling, punctuation and grammar and always have a third party read the document as they can often pick up mistakes that your eyes have missed.