Chuck Prellwitz didn’t participate in Cox’s RandomCoffee program expecting to find a new job at the company.
Like many of us, Chuck simply found it more difficult to stay connected with his colleagues during the isolation of the pandemic. He missed the little moments of connection that came with being in the office, like catching up with a coworker in the cafeteria or spontaneously chatting with a leader in the elevator. Working remotely is great, but getting to know colleagues in the virtual world is definitely more challenging.
Cox’s RandomCoffee program was designed to help instigate these moments of connection again. It provides an opportunity for Cox employees to meet with colleagues in a virtual setting, interacting with people from different departments and locations.
Grace Murphy, Talent Solutions Coordinator at Cox Enterprises, is the mastermind behind the program. She said that in Cox’s “flex-forward” environment – which empowers teams to make decisions about the ratio of remote and in-person work that is best for them – RandomCoffee is the perfect way to stay engaged, whether you’re in the office or at home.
“RandomCoffee supports Cox’s culture of relationships and provides an opportunity to chat, and maybe even network, with coworkers you may not meet otherwise,” Grace said. “Whether you’re talking about your pets, how long you have been at Cox, how you could partner on a project, or simply how your day is going, RandomCoffee will leave you feeling more connected.”
How does RandomCoffee work? Employees are invited to opt into the program via email. After they express an interest in participating, they’re randomly matched with another Cox employee. From there, both employees can coordinate a virtual meeting time and get to know each other.
These caffeine-fueled connections can lead to more than just new friends, though. For Chuck, RandomCoffee led to an exciting new chapter in his career.
“When the opportunity to meet new people at Cox came up through Random Coffee, I was so excited because it provided an easy way to meet someone new and learn about what they do and who they are,” said Chuck, who was a Human Resources Project Manager for Cox Enterprises at the time.
Chuck was matched with Amit Vyas, Associate Vice President of Team Member Experience at Cox Enterprises. Chuck and Amit hit it off and after their first meeting, Amit began informally mentoring Chuck on a quarterly basis.
“I then met Brian Anderson for Random Coffee, who reports to Amit, and we subsequently met for coffee in person two more times,” Chuck said. “Throughout these meetings we talked about family, church, careers and life. During our career discussions, I informed them I had been a Project Manager my whole career but really wanted to find new ways to leverage my transferable skills to help other areas of the business. I wasn’t really looking for a new role at Cox but Brian and Amit said if they run across any that I might be interested in they would send my way.”
A few months later, a new and exciting IT position opened up in Amit’s department. As fate would have it, it was just the kind of role that Chuck was interested in.
Chuck said that the relationships he established with RandomCoffee allowed him to get his foot in the door. In January, he began his new role as a Senior IT Mobile Strategy Analyst at Cox Enterprises.
“I never would have thought I would be working on Mobile Strategy for Cox, let alone not being a Project Manager; however, thanks to Random Coffee I have entered a fun new time in my career,” Chuck said.