Ep 103 – Tackling Workplace Optimism and Positivity with Shawn Murphy

workplace happiness, workplace optimism, work optimism, work happiness, culture change

Work doesn’t need to be a soul sucking nightmare especially when you consider how much time you spend at the office versus your home, with friends and family. A Root Inc. found that 68 percent of employees believed their senior managers were more focused on their own needs and less interested in inspiring others. A Towers Watson study found that less than half of respondents believed senior managers were interested in employees’ well-being.

I wanted to explore more about how can we promote workplace optimism when leaders, employees and team members believe that no one is focused on each other, just themselves selfishly. So today we are focused on how to increase optimism and productivity in your organization, workforce, and team. Selfishly, I’m excited for this podcast interview.

Episode 103: Tackling Workplace Optimism and Positivity with Shawn Murphy (@theshawnmurphy)

Shawn Murphy dives in right away to discuss how companies can increase their workplace optimism and positivity. This is definitely a challenge especially with so many outside factors impacting employee’s happiness and optimism. Where does a company begin? Shawn discusses some practical solutions that companies can take advantage now to improve the work environment driving productivity and engagement. Shawn walks us through the differences between optimism and happiness. One might think they are the same thing but they are very different.

Shawn also touches on the best way to determine an employee’s strengths and weaknesses. I asked him if he prefers or suggests an assessment like Strengths Finder or DiSC over another. He tells me that those surveys while effective are not the only way to understand how teams and their team members can best work together.

In order to begin creating an optimistic work environment, you don’t have to make big changes. The key is to understand what’s important for your employee population and begin making small but targeted changes. These might include flexible work schedules or setting team goals to better align your employees with their personal goals and the larger company goals. Shawn has a great article form Inc. that goes into more detail of ways to make small changes in the workplace without breaking the bank. I think it always a huge concern as leaders are always monitoring costs. I’ve included a link to the article in the resources section of the transcript.

How Do You Measure Optimism?

Happiness and optimism are such fuzzy words. They, like most things related to human capital are also hard to measure. Shawn talks me through some of the best ways to effectiveness measure optimism in the office and how to communicate those changes you are experiencing to your senior business leaders. For myself, sometimes optimism is just a feeling. It’s something that just grabs you when you walk into a meeting or an office meeting making them extremely hard to measure, but when it’s happening and the stars have aligned the feeling is magical making for some of the most innovative work ideas and team collaborations I’ve seen in my career. Shawn was a wonderful guest on the podcast. While he shared many great insights, he also is the founder of a popular workplace leader blog called SwitchandShift.com. He has many more resources and articles from himself and others that you can check out there.

Connect with Shawn on LinkedIn.


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*A special thank you to my production team at Total Picture Radio.

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Jessica Miller-Merrell

Jessica Miller-Merrell is the founder of Workology, a digital resource that reaches more than a half million HR and workplace leaders each month and host of the Workology Podcast. Jessica lives in Austin, TX, with her husband, daughter, and an assortment of furry family members.


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