Rather than focusing on the negative changes surrounding the pandemic, executives and employees of Cincinnati Bell were quick to find the silver lining through it all. Multiple guidelines and procedures have been set in place since the beginning of COVID-19. Whether it be from the daily blog posts, weekly Health Alerts, or the virtual Gratitude Wall, everyone has done their best to maintain a positive and connected company culture while not in the office. At Cincinnati Bell, the pandemic has been viewed as an opportunity to increase transparency and honesty, and to initiate some of the most important dialogues ever had at the company.
Cincinnati Bell has come a long way since its first communication on COVID-19 and implementation of travel restriction on February 5th. As most companies, a work from home policy has been in place since March 16th. Although employees are not physically together, they have been able to share personal stories from all over the country about their time at home through CEO Leigh Fox’s daily blog. Receiving an email each day from the CEO stimulated transparency throughout the entire company. Additionally, weekly Health Alerts from Chief Culture Officer Christi Cornette empowers a work from home culture, as it includes news about COVID-19, changes in the company, and resources that help employees stay entertained and productive. With over 1,200 participants, Cincinnati Bell’s virtual Gratitude Wall has also served as a community-like hub, helping employees feel heard while sharing something positive that has come from this situation.
A few years ago, Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) were made to implement diversity and inclusion efforts. Multiple ERGs have found creative ways to strengthen the culture virtually during this time. For example, Studio, a group for creative expression, has made masks and scrub caps for Hospice of Northern Kentucky. Also, our PRIDE group spent all of June virtually spreading awareness that ‘diversity creates dimension’ during Pride Month. Executives and leaders of this ERG explained what Pride meant to them, attended online summits, and hosted a Porch Party on social media to celebrate each other’s differences. Additionally, BOLD, our African American Employee Resource Group, has initiated racial injustice conversations amidst the recent civil unrest. Watch the video below to see how CCO Christi Cornette stands in unity with BOLD, stating that she will push for Cincinnati Bell to “Do better, and be better.”
Since June 1st, Cincinnati Bell has adjusted with new guidelines for returning to the office. Employees follow a rotating schedule; however, executives have emphasized that it is not mandatory to return to the office right now. Cincinnati Bell is fortunate to be a technology company, which has allowed for flexibility while working from home. With this being said, employees are encouraged to do what is most comfortable for them. If people choose or have chosen to work in the office again, they must wear facial coverings and follow elevator, conference, and break room limitations.
Although employee safety comes first, Cincinnati Bell has also made it a priority to keep our hometown community connected. Cincinnati Bell has given 2,800 students internet access through “Connect our Students”, raised $68,000 for the School Support Fund, signed the Keep Americans Connected Pledge, and helped small businesses by extending payment terms and providing free advertising.
The impact of COVID-19 has shifted the way we work for the better. When asked about navigating this rapid shift, CEO Leigh Fox said, “It won’t be perfect. We will have some missteps, learn, and improve. This is no different than any change. But we are committed to having open dialogue with you on what works and what doesn’t and evolving over time." Through this honesty, support, and understanding, Cincinnati Bell will continue to withstand cultural changes as a result of the pandemic.