Modern businesses are obsessed with concepts like scalability and flexibility, both of which demonstrate a desire to change. However, after the effects of a global pandemic, many businesses struggled to quickly adapt to an entirely remote workspace or hybrid work. Even today many have not yet caught up, and it’s been more than two years since COVID-19 first took us out of the office
When some businesses saw a challenge, others saw an opportunity.
Serendipity is the chance occurrence of something good happening. For many businesses, the chance could be a new technology that revolutionizes the field, a chance to meet with a new client, or something of the like. However, serendipity doesn’t always immediately present itself. In fact, many people miss would-be serendipitous moments daily because they mistake these moments for barriers or hurdles.
While nobody champions the spread of a global pandemic, agile managers can use this sudden paradigm shift to alter their business in a serendipitous way.
Again, serendipity can happen at any moment. So, how do you make sure that your employees recognize a positive chance event? By building serendipity into your company culture.
Here are some ways to help redefine serendipity in the workplace to open up new opportunities.
Create Serendipity By Connecting Remote/ Hybrid Workers
Imagine bumping into a coworker in the breakroom, you have a quick yet meaningful conversation, and just like that, new ideas are formed. You just have a moment of serendipity. While remote work has presented many positives, most businesses have completely lost that organic team-building and cross-channel collaboration. Most companies lose those casual but meaningful moments. Therefore, redefining serendipity at work is crucial for your business.
Fortunately, there are ways to organically connect employees. For example, LEAD.app helps connect employees and recreate those informal but valuable moments on Slack or Microsoft Teams. LEAD strategically connects workers that might not ever meet otherwise. From here, coworkers can connect on their own outside of the formality of a meeting.
Services for connecting remote workers, like those offered by LEAD, may not immediately replace the serendipity of an office run-in. However, virtual connections can lead to unique serendipitous moments.
If you block out half an hour for two employees to connect, they’ll have a much deeper conversation than they might over lunch in a breakroom. While you should always encourage employees to talk about things other than work, many workers are excited by their roles. When you connect two employees from different teams, they could easily come up with new ways to approach existing problems or discover new directions to take the business.
However, you can’t force serendipity in the workplace. The goal of connecting employees who don’t work together on a regular basis is for their benefit – if they happen to come up with new solutions, then that’s serendipity.
Choose To Work With Those Who Embrace Serendipity
As simple as it sounds, one of the best ways to organically redefine serendipity in your workplace is by hiring people who embrace serendipity.
There’s an old adage that you’re the sum of the people that you surround yourself with. Your business and company culture is no different. As badly as managers would love to change the culture of their company, leadership styles and the people they hire and how those workers perform will significantly impact culture.
Following that train of thought, businesses that are looking to harness serendipity should make an effort to train managers to lead by example, encourage current employees to practice serendipity or hire candidates that do the same.
Here are ways to tell when a candidate embraces serendipity:
• They are confident in themselves. Those with confidence didn’t earn it by chance. Many confident individuals become confident by living life, making mistakes, and learning as they go. Serendipitous employees also have the confidence to pursue serendipity, which is something that many workers are uncomfortable doing.
• They have many connections. No, serendipitous individuals don’t have to be popular. However, they make a point to connect with those they interact with, and as their network grows, so does the chance of serendipitous collaboration. Many businesses utilize the networks of their employees specifically for this reason.
• They recognize when something isn’t working. Serendipitous employees are always open to new opportunities. However, they also know when something is not worth pursuing. Thanks to their serendipitous nature, they have the experience to recognize when something isn’t working. Of course, they might be willing to pursue something just in case – because that’s how serendipity works.
Serendipity Starts Somewhere
Yes, the goal of an organization should be to harness organic serendipity. However, if your business is struggling to find serendipitous situations, then it might be time to kickstart the process.
Consider hiring an outside consultant to look at your business and point out areas where you could expand or change. Doing so could kickstart the imagination of your employees, leading to even more great ideas.
Trying to force a serendipitous moment might not work out. However, by demonstrating your commitment to workplace serendipity, you send a message to your employees to do the same. That could cause a cultural shift on its own.
Don’t Wait For A Pandemic – Keep Your Eyes Open
Serendipitous moments happen constantly, but we can easily let go of the chances.
Don’t hesitate to act when a situation that can be taken advantage of presents itself. Major events like the global pandemic are generational occurrences, and you can’t rely on a major shift to occur when your business needs it most. Train your employees to keep their eyes open to new opportunities and to question whether there might be a better way to perform.
Serendipity doesn’t require big moments, only opportunistic people that are willing to keep their eyes open for new opportunities.