Telekom Logo
  • Act responsibly. Enable sustainability.
  • 2018 Corporate Responsibility Report
2018 Corporate Responsibility Report

Corporate culture as a success factor

Birgit Bohle
Birgit Bohle, Chief Human Resources Officer and Labor Director 


Ms. Bohle, you took over the role of Chief Human Resources Officer at Deutsche Telekom on January 1, 2019. Your previous career path included stops at McKinsey and Deutsche Bahn, where you were successful in the role of CEO of DB Fernverkehr AG. What motivated you to move to Deutsche Telekom?

It is the people that determine whether a company will achieve lasting success.I have always enjoyed guiding, leading and motivating people – and, in doing do, influencing the success of the business. In my new role as Chief Human Resources Officer, I am responsible for all activities related to human resources – my team and I therefore make an important contribution to the skills, efficiency and motivation of all employees. I was attracted by this new challenge. And the many remarkable people I have been able to meet at Deutsche Telekom in the past months confirm my decision.

Moreover, the telecommunications industry is one of the most exciting sectors right now. And Deutsche Telekom is the leading player in Europe – we are building the digital infrastructure of the future. Our innovative solutions are changing our lives and society. That was an important reason for my move to Deutsche Telekom. What I also like is that Deutsche Telekom is shaping these changes in a responsible manner. And that’s why I also look forward to continuing to shape this commitment together with the colleagues from Corporate Responsibility.

Focusing on customers and employees is a critical success factor for you. What is your first impression of Deutsche Telekom in this regard?

I can see that many areas of Deutsche Telekom have a real pioneering spirit, one that you might otherwise normally expect to find at a younger company. There is so much happening here – from digital forms of collaboration to new, agile methods, for example. These are excellent prerequisites when it comes to identifying customer needs at an early stage, developing innovative products, and offering great service. Of course, at a large company it takes time for new developments to find their way through the entire company, that much is clear. And you have to take a close look again and again at what works and what doesn’t. But I have already seen a whole host of exciting things in my first few months. I very much look forward to shaping this path together with our employees.

What role does diversity play for you in this regard?

There are numerous studies showing that diverse teams are more successful. For me, diversity means more than just gender, it also includes age, technical background and nationality or culture, for example. By looking beyond our own horizon, we can generate new ideas and better results.

Shortly after joining Deutsche Telekom, you asked all employees to share their thoughts and wishes with regard to the corporate culture. What is the idea behind this appeal?

The culture of a company determine its success. The question is, which culture is the right fit for future business and market trends? What motivates people?Do they enjoy going to work, do they feel appreciated, are their accomplishments recognized? How do we want to work together? Right at the start of my new job, it is important for me to “take inventory” to begin with.

The feedback is very good. We have a strong culture and many of our colleagues identify with our company and our brand. We need to further reinforce that. And, of course, we also see areas that we need to work on in order to be successful over the long term. The most important for me is that the corporate culture can’t just exist on paper; it has to be tangibly put into practice.

Deutsche Telekom is committed to society and the environment in a variety of ways. Do you see particular key areas for 2019 that you want to tackle?

The scope of our social commitment is indeed very broad. And not only in Germany, but internationally. We have already been supporting physically disabled children in Poland, for example, through the “Hilfe nach Kilometern” (Help Measured in Kilometers) campaign. In Romania, on the other hand, we are involved, among other things, in promoting popular and competitive sport. We will also continue to focus on topics that are directly related to our core business. Climate protection is especially worth mentioning. Digitalization means that the network will use more energy. We are therefore setting ourselves ambitious goals to reduce CO2 emissions from our infrastructure despite growing data volumes. We want to shift our Group-wide electricity consumption to 100 percent renewable energy by the end of 2021. In addition, we are supporting the development of products and solutions that reduce energy consumption in other areas thanks to digitalization, such as our Smart City projects.

Another issue very close to my heart is education. As a driver for digitalization, it is our responsibility to ensure that people can participate in digitalization and use it to their advantage. This involves not only network expansion, data protection and data security, but also promoting media literacy and digital skills. That applies not only to our employees. Teaching and learning with digital media must become an integral part of school development in order to be successful. Together with Deutsche Telekom Stiftung, we are committed to education and digitalization in schools through the Forum Bildung Digitalisierung, our forum for digital education. This project is also particularly important for our employees. In the employee project IT@school, our colleagues offer programming courses at schools, for example, on a voluntary basis.