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  • 2016 Corporate Responsibility Report
2016 Corporate Responsibility Report

Occupational health and safety

The health and performance of our staff are the foundation of the long-term success of our business. We feel that it is our duty and responsibility to maintain and promote the health of our employees. We use numerous target-group-oriented measures and extensive preventative offers to support our employees – from trainees to our older employees – in their personal health and safety.

Promoting the health of our workforce

Our health management strategy is designed to maintain and promote our employees’ health and performance. We view occupational health and safety legislation as minimum requirements.

Incorporating health and safety management throughout the Group
Our occupational health and safety measures are effectively integrated into our operational structures via certified management systems and appropriate policies and guidelines. The internationally recognized OHSAS 18001 management standard, which has been in use since 2010, serves as the foundation. During the reporting year, 70 German and international locations were audited according to OHSAS 18001 and 51 German and international locations were audited according to ISO 14001. Their certification was renewed in all cases. With these results, we can guarantee a high health and safety standard in years to come.

All of the parties, tasks and measures involved in the health and safety management system are described in a handbook entitled Health & Safety Environment. The handbook was signed by our top executive managers as a symbol of our commitment to health and safety. Our health and safety measures are centrally steered at Group level with health managers being responsible for implementation at the different locations. We systematically assess the effectiveness of our measures. This includes reviewing the results or our employee survey, evaluating stress prevention measures under collective agreements, competitor benchmarks and other relevant indicators. The analysis of this data forms the basis for annual measures that by far exceed legal requirements. Some examples include our extensive psychosocial counseling offers and initiatives like driving safety training and activity and exercise offers.

One focus of our corporate health promotion activities is encouraging our employees to assume responsibility for their own health. We place our managers under the obligation to encourage a corporate culture based on these values and have incorporated health promotion into our leadership model. Implementation of this model is assessed using unit-specific targets, some of which are based on the results of our employee survey.

Results of different indicators during the reporting period
Different indicators reflect the effectiveness of our corporate health management activities:

  • The health rate at Deutsche Telekom in Germany dipped slightly by 0.2 to 93.8 percent*. (*95.5  percent excluding long-term absences, down by 0.1)
  • The accident rate is considerably below the industry average.
  • According to health insurance providers, the number of our employees suffering from mental health problems and the length of treatment is rising only slightly in contrast to the industry trend.

There are clear reasons explaining this trend, but we are planning to implement extensive measures to counteract this development in 2017.

This year's RobecoSAM img rating, for example, again attests to our high standards. RobecoSAM is one of the leading rating agencies, annually assessing the sustainability performance of major corporations. We scored 100 out of 100 points in the Privacy and Operational Health & Safety category of the 2016 RobecoSAM Corporate Sustainability Assessment, making us an industry leader.


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Fitness at work: activity and exercise offers expanded

We have been offering our employees special fitness programs at locations in Germany since 2014 to help counteract the effects of a day spent working at their desks. Qualified "mobile fitness coaches" teach easy-to-do exercises particularly for the back and neck to small teams of employees. We continued this program, which is popular with our employees, in 2016 within the context of our extensive health promotion activities; more than 1,000 courses were held by the end of 2016. We plan to continue this offer in 2017.

We added a new activity offer during the reporting period with the Active Workplace project. Recent scientific studies show that regular interruptions of a seated occupation are more effective than lengthy training sessions after work. Active Workplace gives our employees the opportunity to incorporate exercises into their daily schedule.

During a six-week pilot, 60 employees tested a variety of mobile exercise equipment. The "desk bikes," or bicycles attached to the desk, proved  the most popular. The pilot phase was scientifically followed by a study conducted by Berufsgenossenschaft Verkehr (the occupational accident insurer of the transportation industry), the Institute for Occupational Safety and Health of the German Social Accident Insurance (IFA) and the German Sport University Cologne. The academics examined not only the test participants’ levels of acceptance and whether they felt good using the equipment, but also physiological activity parameters, energy conversion levels and individual posture. Not only were participants having fun, their mental activity also increased. Another positive side effect was that participants burned more calories when cycling than when just sitting.

Because the positive response of our employees was supported by the accompanying study, we decided to purchase 460 desk bikes in 2016. More than 4,000 employees currently participate in the program. We are planning to expand the program in 2017 and include international locations as well.

Psychosocial counseling as part of change management

Changes at work can be perceived as stressful, which is why transformation processes currently underway at Deutsche Telekom are intensively supported by the Employee and Executive Advisory Service. Our goal is to provide support to employees and managers and prevent psychological crises.

To this end, we offer individual counseling as well as other services. Employees can take advantage of several one-hour counseling sessions. Accompanying offers are available to managers and those responsible for change processes. Talks and workshops on psychological health complete the offer. Targeted communication measures inform employees at affected locations of these offers.

In 2016 we particularly accompanied the restructuring measures at GHS (Group Headquarter & Shared Services img) by offering psychosocial counseling. We provided managers there with a guideline on health and leadership during change processes, for example. The guidelines also provide orientation regarding specific approaches and links to additional information and support offers.

T-Systems: health app and corporate culture pilot project

Health app
We introduced the Froach health app at T-Systems during the reporting period. The app was developed by a Berlin-based start-up and can be customized by companies to meet their individual needs. It helps our employees take active, health-promoting mini-breaks. People who sit every day staring constantly at their PC displays, without taking time for some short breaks, will feel various types of aches and pains over time, and their eyes will become tired as well. The "main actor" of Froach is a friendly green frog that motivates users to be more active in short animated videos. The project was initially tested in Germany. Froach became available at T-Systems in English in fall 2016 and is being introduced globally.

Corporate Happiness pilot project
T-Systems has started initiating changes in its corporate culture within the scope of a pilot project. The aim of the project is to apply the scientific findings of "positive psychology" to identify values that will enable all employees to better realize their potential. The project encourages them to independently work toward their own, and the company's, success. During the reporting period we trained 27 "happiness ambassadors" within the scope of the pilot project, offered trainings and impulse talks and launched the "Stop complaining" initiative.

Workshop makes promoting health a top priority

A corporate culture that promotes health needs role models. A health-promoting leadership style is an integral part of our Leadership Excellence and Development (LEAD) program in Germany. Managers learn about the options available to them for their own preventative health care and how to strengthen their individual resources. We also teach them about the basic principles behind a health-promoting leadership style and how they can apply these in their daily activities. Managers can also take advantage of other workshops on leadership and health. These offers will continue to be available in 2017. We also support our managers in their responsibilities by offering online trainings on health & safety facts, mental health and corporate integration management, which helps employees get back to work after a longer period of illness.

Recent study on digitization and health

What are the effects of the digitization of work on the health of our employees? To find out, we conducted a study in collaboration with BARMER GEK health insurance, University of St. Gallen and German weekly, BILD am Sonntag. More than 8,000 participants from Germany were polled via phone call in July and August 2016. The results show that digitization is already a part of life for our employees Those surveyed welcomed the possibility of flexibly structuring their working hours and working at different places, saying that in this way, digitization helped reduce the conflict between career and family. The study also showed that having a good relationship to their managers helps employees effectively take advantage of digitization. However, participants also mentioned negative consequences of the digital workplace, such as difficulty falling asleep, headaches and back pain. The survey also revealed that there are still major differences when it comes to corporate health offers such as courses on stress prevention. The majority of those surveyed, both younger and older employees, were optimistic about the digitization process. Visit the BARMER GEK homepage for more information.

As a modern ICT img company, Deutsche Telekom closely deals with the challenges of digitization in the company's corporate health management activities. We continue to advance our corporate health management policy to meet changing requirements. During the reporting period, for example, we offered online fitness courses, online coaching for better health, expert chats and video counseling. These offers allow us to reach our employees at any time no matter where they are. Our Health & Safety Management department also analyzes new, potential problems that could arise in connection with digitization. In spring 2017, for example, we are planning to conduct a risk assessment of mental stress within the context of our employee survey. The results will be compared with the findings of the latest BARMER GEK study, which will help us develop new health offers.

Health Month

As part of our “Total Health” program, an in-company training program promoting physical exercise to improve employees’ health and lifestyle, and enable them to participate in relaxing activities with their co-workers, we organized a “Health Month” in October 2016. During this month three offers were made with a total of 756 employees participating:

IMSS Brigade running medical tests
We invited the IMSS Brigade (Mexican Social Security Institute) to our office in Puebla. They ran medical tests like calculating the body mass index and glucose update and gave tetanus or influenca vaccines.  382 employees participated in 8 days of tests. The medical problems found were diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and obesity. 284 of the participants were diagnosed with medical conditions; 98 people are without any risk.

Health Talks
The IMSS also gave talks about health issues like: medical checkups, handling stress, eye care, smoking, high blood pressure, body postures at work, health insurance, depression, healthy food and first aid. The purpose of the talks was to provide our employees with information and advice on important  health matters and therewith contribute to their long-term well-being. 232 employees participated in the talks.

Kiloton – our program for weight loss
Obesity is a very serious health risk. By staging an internal competion known as Kiloton we encourage our employees to reduce weight and body fat within seven weeks. Kiloton combines exercise and a balanced diet. The activities offered included a nutritionist program, kick boxing and dance classes on the premises, as well as weekly tips on how to reduce or lose weight. 142 participants made up 47 mixed teams in the Puebla and Mexico City offices. The program was built as a competition to provide additional motivation for our employees and strengthen their team spirit. The program again was a great success and each participant achieved the weight loss in a healthy way with a lot of exercise.

Health Days at T-Systems Russia

Our voluntary medical insurance program is available for all employees and includes a Health Day. A doctor is available for several hours at all our offices to carry out consultations every Monday. Our members of staff can ask the doctor questions about their concerns, get advice or obtain a referral note for treatment at a state clinic. Up to 20 employees can use the service every Monday. Around 15 people visit the doctor each week.

T-Systems Russia also provides the opportunity for a visit to a specialist doctor once a year:

  • Neurologist: 60 employees attended a consultation in 2016
  • Ophthalmologist: 60 employees attended a consultation in 2016
  • Cardiologist: 107 employees attended a consultation in 2016

In addition, 70 employees were vaccinated in the fall of 2016.

Health activities and e-learning for employees

In 2016, Slovak Telekom made arrangements to carry out a large number of preventive health checks for employees. The checks included measurement of blood pressure, cholesterol levels, varicose veins and hemoglobin. Health boxes were also provided for front-line staff, first-aid courses, massage sessions, lymphatic drainage, health seminars, and information about healthy food in the workplace. These activities are very popular at Telekom. 2,793 employees took advantage of the health checks and 1,390 participated in 14 health seminars and workshops featuring nutrition specialists, doctors and other professionals.

We have been using e-learning solutions to train our employees for more than ten years. They have proved to be successful for the education and training required under statutory regulations such as occupational safety and fire protection. More than 150 courses are available online. The e-learning system automatically notifies employees if they have not completed an assigned course. We incorporated a gamification mechanism in the system which allows employees to collect points for studying courses and then qualify at different levels. The element of competition and game further promotes digital education within Slovak Telekom.