• Act responsibly. Enable sustainability.
  • 2015 Corporate Responsibility Report
2015 Corporate Responsibility Report

Responsible and agile employer

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We aim to become the leading European telecommunications provider. Cooperative employee relations that are based on involvement and fairness are key in achieving this goal. As a responsible employer we give our employees the opportunity to realize their potential and to contribute their individual strengths and ideas within our Group. In a market characterized by transformation, we use pioneering methods and tools to help our employees approach necessary changes and new technical opportunities with flexibility.


  • Employee relations characterized by fairness and responsibility


  • Fair pay and flexible working hours
  • Dialog with employee representatives
  • Socially acceptable staff restructuring
  • Employee survey


  • Reviewing implementation of our Employee Relations Policy
  • Assessing employee satisfaction
  • Reviewing compliance with current collective agreements and relevant Group and company policies
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As a responsible employer, we maintain trusting relationships with our employees throughout the Group as well as with trade unions and employee representatives and engage in extensive dialog with them. This involves the works councils, the Central Works Councils, the Group Works Council, the Group representatives for the disabled and the Executive Staff Representation Committee within the Group in Germany, and the European Works Council at a European level. We maintain constructive relationships based on mutual trust with all of these employee representative bodies.

Fair pay and benefits
We give our employees fair pay in line with the standard wages typical to the relevant country's employment market and guarantee equal pay for work performed by men and women without discrimination. We pay Deutsche Telekom managers in compliance with our Group-wide “Global Compensation Guideline”. We also offer our employees additional benefits such as our company pension scheme. We assess the effectiveness of our pay and benefits elements by conducting various measures such as employee interviews.

Flexible working models
Having the chance to structure one's work according to one's own needs considerably improves work-life balance and helps prevent stress and the feeling of being overworked. That is why Deutsche Telekom expressly encourages flexible working models. Our flexible working models range from flexitime and part-time work to lifetime work accounts. We introduced lifetime work accounts for all of our employees in 2016, for example. This gives our employees the opportunity to finance a temporary release from work of longer than one month, which may be used for early retirement, a sabbatical or to support a period of part-time work. Before that, lifetime work accounts were only available to executives. Deutsche Telekom's working models comply with current collective agreements for employees, the Federal Civil Service Act and internal regulations. 

Socially responsible staff restructuring
Our Group transformation activities, which will help us stay competitive in the future, were a central topic these past years and will continue to be in years to come. These activities include complex staff restructuring measures. Deutsche Telekom is committed to socially responsible staff restructuring with the extensive support of our employees. These measures are based on our “integrated planning and management process”, which the Group Board of Management annually reviews and approves. We document the progress of our socially responsible staff restructuring activities in our monthly Group reports.

Employee satisfaction and participation
We pursue open dialog and productive exchange with our employees. The Telekom Social Network (TSN) is an important tool in these efforts. All of our employees can post topics of their choice there and open them for discussion. Our managers also regularly use TSN as a platform for direct dialog. Another central aspect in our Group-wide feedback culture is our employee survey. We supplement this survey with regular pulse surveys, which give us a snapshot of the mood in the Group twice a year. Our Group-wide ideas management activities are another key tool in encouraging employee contributions to the success of the company.

Our employees have been showing an ever-increasing interest in getting involved in both our Group-wide employee survey and our ideas management initiative. 78 percent of our employees participated in the 2015 Group-wide employee survey (without T-Mobile USA). This is the highest participation rate we have seen so far, and employee satisfaction was higher than in previous years as well. In terms of ideas management, twelve ideas were submitted for every 100 employees, the highest participation rate ever recorded We also offer our employees different ways to get involved, e.g., in the form of corporate volunteering projects.

Our Guiding Principles and Employee Relations Policy form the basis for the employee relations standards that are employed throughout the Group.

To help us effectively implement our Group Employee Relations Policy we conduct special reviews to assess labor relations at the different national companies as well as any human rights-related risks resulting from our business activities. In 2015 we held on-site reviews of compliance with our Employee Relations Policy at the subsidiaries Deutsche Telekom Kundenservice in Germany, Hrvatski Telekom in Croatia and T-Systems France. The results were published on our website.

Our analyses showed that many employee standards in place at Deutsche Telekom Kundenservice are well above market standards, including internal training and development opportunities as well as the health rate. Hrvatski Telekom in Croatia is the leader when it comes to equal opportunities for men and women as well as work-life balance. T-Systems France has also effectively implemented many aspects of the Employee Relations Policy, including appropriate health and safety standards, risk prevention measures and work-life balance offers.

T-Systems has undergone an extensive transformation over the past two years, a process that it has now successfully completed. This transformation was accompanied by complex staff restructuring measures at T-Systems that were conducted in a socially responsible manner during the reporting period. It included training measures, creating new business areas and staff reductions. The Group offered support to all employees whose positions were cut through a variety of measures, focusing on the following initiatives during the reporting period:

Innovative change management with Job Service & Placement
Our active change management program for staff restructuring, Job Service & Placement (JSP), was launched in 2014 to prepare employees whose positions are undergoing restructuring in the transformation process for employment opportunities within and outside of our company. Advisors from Vivento assist these employees with a professional career analysis, advise them on their perspectives, help them through the application process and help them identify interesting job openings. Employees switching to an internal or external position with less favorable pay and benefits can also qualify for compensation payments. When filling jobs being advertised internally, first priority is given to employees supported by the JSP service, and we offer employees additional training of up to six months if necessary. We also provide support to anyone whose position has been or is going to be cut through transparent communication, e.g., through our "On-site consultations on staff restructuring during the transformation process," orientation workshops, continuing education, English courses and Xing trainings. JSP consulting approach was enhanced in 2015. Consultants now assume more of a supportive role. With this approach we intend to strengthen employees' initiative and encourage them to independently find solutions that will best suit them. JSP has placed a total of 800 employees in the approximately 18 months since it was launched.

Career opportunities for civil servants
Deutsche Telekom, numerous German federal government agencies and Deutsche Telekom's own personnel service provider, Vivento, launched the “Chancen Bund initiative” in 2014 to offer IT experts with civil-servant status at T-Systems an attractive opportunity to work for a German federal government agency. Thanks to the initiative 400 civil servants have already been seconded to the German federal government. During the reporting period Deutsche Telekom developed a solution that makes it possible for civil servants to switch to the next higher service grade. In accordance with legislation regarding civil servants it is possible to switch to the next higher service grade in certain positions. This is an opportunity for advancement, particularly for civil servants who are currently performing a more senior role on temporary leave from civil-servant status.

Supporting the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF)
The Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF) has seen a rapid escalation in the number of applications for refugee status or asylum. In order to rise to this challenge, the BAMF is currently on a recruitment drive to significantly expand its workforce. Supporting federal, state and local governments is particularly important to Deutsche Telekom when it comes to refugee aid. Chief Human Resources Officer, Dr. Christian Illek, initiated a task force for refugee aid during the reporting period that is involved in different aid activities, including providing experts to support the BAMF. There is a lot that Deutsche Telekom civil servants can do at BAMF, from handling administrative tasks and coordinating integration programs to providing IT support. BAMF is looking for medium- to upper-grade civil servants who want to bring commitment and experience to this social challenge.

Initiatives for switching jobs within the Group
We encourage employees to look for new jobs within the Group through a number of offers. The incentives we offer include a special bonus and compensation for any differences in pay. A good example is the "operational services as an opportunity" initiative, which we launched during the reporting period. With this initiative we support employees looking to switch to operational services GmbH & Co. KG, a 50-percent subsidiary of T-Systems International GmbH. We also assign tasks that were previously handled by external service providers to our own employees whenever possible in line with the principle of "internal over external." To help us in these efforts, we launched the Market Unit Hub initiative for employees working for our T-Systems Market Unit. Within only six months after launching the initiative we were able to place almost 300 employees and replace external service providers.

Thanks to these measures we were able to avoid compulsory redundancies and set up new business areas with qualified IT experts in 2015. However, we have not yet met our headcount targets at Telekom IT, which is why we made the decision in Q3 2015 to intensify our current measures.

Around 800 Deutsche Telekom civil servants decided with the assistance of Deutsche Telekom's in-house personnel service provider, Vivento, to make a permanent transfer to federal, state or local government. Their decision was made easier by the increased need for personnel at the level of federal, state and local government resulting from numerous reform projects. The new employment opportunities outside of the company offering highly interesting perspectives for new career paths were particularly attractive to employees from Group departments currently undergoing a transformation process. Transfers to customs offices, IT positions connected to the “Chancen Bund initiative” and a number of positions with federal, state or local public administration were of particular interest.

In addition to a wide range of working models Deutsche Telekom offers part-time models that are tailored to the needs of specific target groups.

Voluntary commitment to encouraging part-time employment
Deutsche Telekom has been explicitly promoting part-time working hours for managers since introducing its policy on part-time work in 2010. The aim is to encourage part-time work with a view to improving and facilitating the work-life balance, for both women and men. In 2015 a total of 51 managers throughout Germany were working part-time. We have also made a similar voluntary commitment regarding employees covered by collective agreements and civil servants. 13.7 percent of employees covered by collective agreements and 20 percent of civil servants employed at Deutsche Telekom throughout Germany are currently working part-time.

Guaranteed return to full-time work
Since January 1, 2014, we have been guaranteeing part-time employees at Deutsche Telekom the chance to return to work full time in case they wish to end part-time work earlier than planned and return to their previous schedule. All they need to do is give 3 months' notice; operational issues play no role. That means more flexibility and security for employees. With this policy, Deutsche Telekom is setting the bar for part-time employment.

Phased retirement
Phased retirement is a model to help employees with a smooth transition to retirement. Employees aged 55 and above can reduce their final working years and begin early retirement. Deutsche Telekom offers phased retirement both as a block and as a part-time model . Unlike regular part-time regulations, Deutsche Telekom makes a substantial top-up payment to the employees' net part-time pay with its phased retirement offer. That means that reducing their weekly hours does not mean a proportionate reduction in net pay for employees. A total of 2,309 phased retirement contracts were signed during the reporting period, 1,869 with employees under collective agreements and 440 with civil servants.

Part-time training for single parents
Deutsche Telekom has been offering single parents up to the age of 25 the opportunity to complete a training program or cooperative course of study part-time since 2011 in collaboration with the German Federal Employment Agency. 50 young people began their part-time training with this program in 2015.

Returning to work after parental leave
Within the scope of the Stay in ContacT parental leave program, Deutsche Telekom offers employees on parental leave a part-time program to help them return to work.

Deutsche Telekom also offers many other part-time options to reduce working hours including job sharing, where two or more employees share one position. This option can be employed using a job splitting model where each employee is responsible for different tasks or via job pairing, where employees share responsibility for one area.

Deutsche Telekom fosters employee relations based on trust and pays all of its employees at the Group fairly and based on market standards. This also includes our numerous apprentices, students on cooperative degree programs and entry-level professionals. In the 2014 collective bargaining round, the negotiating partners agreed on the following terms, which apply to the majority of employees covered by collective agreements at the Deutsche Telekom Group in Germany:

  • Starting in 2014, the salaries of roughly 60,000 employees covered by collective agreements at Group parent company Deutsche Telekom AG and in the Germany operating segment were raised in two phases as at April 1, 2014, and February 1, 2015, by a total of 5 percent for employees in the lower pay groups and 4.6 percent for employees in the higher pay groups. The collective wage agreements have a term of 24 months and will expire on January 31, 2016.
  • Pay raises totaling 3.5 percent were agreed at T-Systems within the context of the current transformation program at T-Systems. The roughly 20,000 employees received a 1.5-percent raise as at April 1, 2014, and a 2.0-percent raise as at April 1, 2015. The collective wage agreement has a term of 24 months and will expire on March 31, 2016.
  • The majority of the Group's employees participate directly in the company's success. For these employees, variable remuneration is determined exclusively on the basis of company target achievement.

The Minimum Wage Act, which went into effect in Germany on January 1, 2015, has no impact on payment under collective agreements at Deutsche Telekom. Hourly wages at Deutsche Telekom are considerably higher than the required minimum wage of 8.50 euros. Internships with a duration of more than three months, with the exception of mandatory internships, also became subject to minimum wage when the new legislation went into effect. Regardless of these legislative changes, Deutsche Telekom places considerable importance on continuing to offer both voluntary and mandatory internships with longer durations, giving students the chance to explore possible careers and get to know what it is like to work at the company.

We successfully continued our intensive dialog with the works councils and trade unions in 2015. The year was characterized by measures of far-reaching strategic significance such as site consolidation for Deutsche Telekom Technischer Service GmbH and founding a multi-shared services unit, which has been in charge of finance, purchasing and HR services since January 1, 2016. We have discussed these intensively with employee representatives. This goes to show that our commitment to trusted cooperation, which is anchored in our Employee Relations Policy is taking effect. Standardizing and harmonizing employment conditions within the Group will be a key topic for the future, and we will do this in close collaboration with the trade unions and works councils. Thanks to the establishment in late 2015 of the IT and telecoms employers’ association agv:comunity, collective agreements can now be made for the Group as a whole, rather than just for individual companies. In this way we hope to cut back on the complexity of collective agreements at the Group. The agv:comunity is also open to other companies from the telecommunications and IT industry.

The opinions of our employees play a key role in the evolution and transformation of our company, which is why we regularly ask them to give us their feedback. Our most important feedback tools include our employee survey, which is conducted every two years, and the bi-annual pulse survey . The pulse survey continuously gives us a snapshot of the current mood in the Group and allows us to monitor the effectiveness of the follow-up measures taken as a result of the employee survey. This lets us make quick adjustments if necessary.

Our most recent Group-wide employee survey (without T-Mobile USA) was conducted in 2015. We invited some 184,000 employees from 30 countries speaking 22 different languages to give us feedback. Over 144,000 employees worldwide took part, a response rate of 78 percent. This is the highest participation rate we have seen so far, and the high participation rates recorded in previous years are also proof of the tremendous interest our employees have in helping to shape our Group. The high scores previously recorded in the commitment index continued to increase slightly in 2015 to 4.1 on a scale of 1.0 - 5.0 (2012: 4.0). Employee satisfaction, which we gauge twice a year with our Group-wide pulse survey, also receives a high score with 76 percent positive responses. The next pulse survey will be conducted in 2016. The next Group-wide employee survey is scheduled for 2017.

A large number of employees again turned out to get involved in the Group-wide ideas management program in 2015. In Germany alone, one out of every eight employees submitted a new idea, giving us the highest participation rate ever recorded. This shows how strong our employees' interest is in actively playing a part in improving our products and services. The economic benefit resulting from the 13,728 ideas submitted translated into a total of 146.5 million euros in cost savings and tapping new business potential. We particularly encourage our employees to submit ideas on the topics of the future, which is why we launched the "Smart Home - simpler, better, more integrated!" ideas management campaign in May 2015, calling for innovative suggestions on the topic. Making a name for our “Smart Home” product, which constitutes one of the largest areas of growth at our Telekom Shop Gesellschaft, is one of the Group's top objectives. Contestants submitted a total of 66 ideas, five of which resulted in a modification or expansion of the product.

Our ideas management results can also hold their own in external competitions. One employee idea won the 2015 German Ideas Award granted by Deutsches Institut für Betriebswirtschaft in the "Best environmental idea" category. Another idea received first place in the "Best employee idea 2015" category of the 2015 Ideas Management Award presented by Deutsches Institut für Ideen- und Innovationsmanagement.

The primary aim of our human resources development measures is to promote virtual collaboration and new workplace structures. We collaborated with the University of St. Gallen to conduct a survey of experts in order to identify the opportunities and challenges to the world of work that come with digitization. 25 megatrends pertaining to Work 4.0 were identified and published.

We are keen to foster a communicative, performance-driven working climate, innovativeness and agility. As well as modern workplaces, this demands measures to encourage flexibility, virtual collaboration and leadership, and a culture of knowledge sharing. We are creating open office worlds and tearing down the proverbial walls to promote inter-departmental collaboration. Employees can choose their workstation and share their desks. In 2015, one of our top priorities was to redesign our locations in Bonn, Frankfurt, and Hamburg. Our goal is to continue to pursue the transformation of our corporate culture from one based on being at the office to one based on results. The plan is to reach around 25,000 employees with our concept by the end of 2017.

We promote and support virtual collaboration in communities of practice. Instead of rigid, closed project teams, employees work together to develop cross-functional and cross-hierarchical solutions and to increase their knowledge informally. During the reporting period, 40 of these transnational communities worked at T-Systems on strategic topics such as cyber security, cloud technology and the Industry Internet. Community members received intensive support through online training to improve their virtual collaboration.

We founded Shareground in 2013, an organizational unit that supports cultural transformation with new work methods and innovative learning formats. This includes workshops and team coaching sessions that cover new forms of collaboration.

We are aware that companies also need to adjust their basic understanding of leadership in times of change, which is why, during the reporting period, we invited all of our managers to participate in the “Facilitative Leadership Curriculum” pilot project, a training program on the topic of leadership in times of change. Facilitators are managers who initiate, facilitate and encourage change at a company. With our “Facilitative Leadership Curriculum” we hope to give new momentum particularly to our employees who are involved in change processes and development initiatives at our company. The pilot project provides managers with an introduction to the methods and approaches used by "facilitative leaders." They learn how to create a culture of development and learning that is based on the individual's voluntary action and autonomy. Participants are also given practical tools and techniques that they can use to make their jobs as managers easier. The program consists of three training units. Once they have completed all three units, participants are invited to join the Facilitator Community where they can discuss their experiences on the job with each other. A total of 32 employees participated in the pilot project and response was very good. We will decide whether or not to offer the Facilitative Leadership Curriculum program to all managers after the pilot project has been evaluated.

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