A compliance management system is only effective if it is actually implemented in everyday activities. This is why we started the Transparent Company Culture initiative in 2016 with the intention of encouraging integrity and a speak-up culture within our company.
We conducted a large-scale employee survey in this context in the spring of 2017 to find out more about Deutsche Telekom's corporate culture and how it is being lived – especially with a view towards compliance topics. About 52,000 employees in 25 national and international Deutsche Telekom companies took part in the online survey. There were also one-to-one interviews and discussions with focus groups. The European School of Management and Technology (ESMT Berlin) and Hertie School of Governance were our research partners in this extensive study.
The initiative was supported by an expert committee created specifically for this purpose. The committee was comprised of Deutsche Telekom employees as well as representatives from non-governmental organizations, the business and scientific communities and society. The experts' task was to guide and assess the study. The results are positive overall. The vast majority of employees is committed to Deutsche Telekom's rules and is not willing to act in an unethical manner. The strengths of the compliance culture include, among others, the clarity of the rules, the willingness of employees to report misconduct and the ethical conduct of direct supervisors. An admitted weakness is the fact that there is a small group of employees who are willing to break the rules. Identified weaknesses were intensely discussed by the Board of Management and included in a set of measures for further strengthening the value-oriented compliance culture at Deutsche Telekom.
The Speak-up Culture initiative: Constructive criticism expressly wanted
One measure from the Transparent Corporate Culture initiative is that the Speak-up Culture initiative will continue to be implemented with various focal areas. The goal of the campaign is to encourage objection within the company where this is necessary. Employees should be encouraged to correctly and successfully address grievances in critical situations, just as managers should be open to hearing these grievances. An environment should also be created wherein "critical minds" can voice their opinions. Both classroom and online courses will be offered, nationally and internationally, to this end.