United Benefit Advisors Insight and Analysis Blog

Bill Olson

Senior VP, Operations at United Benefit Advisors

Recent Posts

A Real-Time Action Plan for Increased Revenue

Posted by: Bill Olson    Aug 7, 2018 2:42:55 PM

As HR Technologist reported recently, current best-in-class companies know that the rising talent pool is composed of millennials, people of color, and women, and so they are already working in concrete ways to leverage this shifting workforce. One crucial factor is making sure that this work is centered: an integral and shared component of marketing, sales, and operations, as opposed to an outsourced diversity group.

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Topics: diverse workforce, diversity, work performance

Habit-Forming Tech

Posted by: Bill Olson    Aug 2, 2018 12:54:31 PM

With apologies to singer Robert Palmer, you might as well face it, you’re addicted to technology. We all love our various smart devices, and it seems that we can’t live without them, but what is causing this addiction?

An article on CNN’swebsite titled, “How to resist technology addiction” equates digital products like social media websites, video games, and mobile apps to more traditional addictions like food, alcohol, and smoking. In fact, these digital products use a technique more closely associated with gambling in that they are engineered to keep you hooked.

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Topics: social media, technology, Technology Addiction

Solving Problems - While Increasing Employee Satisfaction

Posted by: Bill Olson    Jul 31, 2018 1:12:04 PM

“Design thinking” is a fairly common term. Even if the phrase is new to you, it’s reasonably easy to intuit how it works: design thinking is a process for creative problem solving, utilizing creative tools like empathy and experimentation, often with a strong visual component. The term dates from 1968 and was first used in The Sciences of The Artificial, a text written by Nobel Laureate Herbert Simon.

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Topics: employee engagement, employee satisfaction, Design Thinking, Problem Solving

Everyone Wins When Growth is the Goal

Posted by: Bill Olson    Jul 24, 2018 1:22:06 PM

Its a dilemma. On the one hand, todays buzzing, multifaceted working environments challenge employees more than ever before. On the other, these same working environments are often also overwhelming and stressful. Sometimes it seems like success means mania—but this doesnt have to be the case. More and more frequently, experts urge offices to focus not on performance but on growth.

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Topics: teamwork, work environment, Growth Culture

Addressing Mental Health Care at Work

Posted by: Bill Olson    Jul 17, 2018 1:00:23 PM

Nancy Spangler, senior consultant at the Center for Workplace Mental Health of the American Psychiatric Foundation, says that one in five adults has a mental health disorder, and one in 10 has a substance abuse problem. In addition, major depression and its associated conditions cost the U.S. over $210 billion every year. Clearly, mental health is an issue we need to investigate both in our offices and across the country.

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Topics: mental health, substance abuse, work environment

How Well do Your Employees Evaluate Risk?

Posted by: Bill Olson    Jul 10, 2018 12:56:07 PM

In a recent column in Human Resource Executive, Carol Harnett reminds us that humans are notoriously poor at evaluating risk. We don’t always focus on the major problem, or weigh compromising factors correctly. Quoting risk-communications consultant Peter Sandman, Harnett suggests that risk should be evaluated using this formula: Risk = Hazard + Outrage.What does that mean? Hazard is the anticipated annual mortality rate, and all other factors fall under outrage. “The public,” says Sandman, “pays too little attention to hazard; the experts pay absolutely no attention to outrage. Not surprisingly, they rank risks differently.” Consequently, experts and the public choose insurance differently too.

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Topics: employee benefits, disability insurance, disability income protection

To Identify the Best Candidate, Ask the Right Questions

Posted by: Bill Olson    Jul 3, 2018 1:01:48 PM

Are the questions you’re asking potential employees truly helping you identify the best candidate? Increasingly, employers are learning that questions don’t need to be interesting, just effective. Instead of asking a candidate about their favorite superhero, which is essentially another way of asking them what their super power would be, ask them what they like to do for fun. Ask about the good they care about in the world.

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Topics: Job Candidates, Job Interviews, Interview Questions

Let Data Deliver for You

Posted by: Bill Olson    Jun 26, 2018 1:04:41 PM

Using HR data can be legally and ethically complicated, but if analyzed with care, it can also be a team’s greatest asset. Because of these very real concerns, in the past information often went unused, but today, wise companies are turning facts into insight. When processed ethically, data can inform an office when employees will leave, where to recruit solid candidates, and most importantly, how to keep these candidates happy once they become employees. And this isn’t merely a suggestion: according to the Economist Intelligence Unit, 82% of surveyed organizations plan to either begin or increase their use of big data in HR before the end of 2018. The crucial point here isn’t simplicity but effectiveness: when HR data is braided effectively with a company’s strategic aims, wellbeing increases across the board.

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Topics: employee satisfaction, office productivity, HR Data, Workforce Analytics

Leadership, Now with More Humility

Posted by: Bill Olson    Jun 19, 2018 1:02:09 PM

More and more, we are learning that scientists, marketers, programmers, and other kinds of knowledge workers lead office lives very similar to famous innovators like Watson, Crick, and Franklin, who discovered the structure of DNA. How so? All of these people live work lives structured around progress in meaningful work. And when this progress occurs, it boosts emotions, perceptions, and productivity.

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Topics: leadership, employees, workplace culture, progress

The Future of the Office

Posted by: Bill Olson    Jun 12, 2018 1:15:29 PM

Earlier this spring, the quarterly Randstad Workmonitor survey revealed that while 82% of United States workers say the option to work remotely does help them maintain a healthy work-life balance, 62% of these same workers prefer to work in the office anyway. Perhaps most surprisingly, this preference is higher among millennial and Gen Z workers, despite the common perception that these groups prefer digital interactions over real-time ones.

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Topics: Benefit, workplace culture, benefits, remote work