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.

Studies Point to Greater Age Discrimination

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!

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 for Mobile Devices

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 unauthorized 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 for Mobile Devices

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 for Mobile Devices

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.