Promoting the health of our workforce
Clear responsibilities and high standards
The Board of Management has overall responsibility for occupational, health, safety and environmental protection. In this connection, the health rate is reported to the Board every quarter. We combine and control our programs for “Safety and Health at Work” at Group level; health and safety managers are responsible for implementing these programs locally. Our Health & Safety Environment handbook describes the details of our health and safety management system, including the parties involved, their duties, and the programs. The handbook serves to harmonize, simplify, and align our management systems with common targets across the Group.
Occupational health and safety is effectively incorporated into our structures via certified management systems and appropriate policies and guidelines. Until 2018, the basis for this was the internationally recognized management standard OHSAS 18001. Since November 2018, we have instead used ISO standard 45001. We were one of the first DAX companies to have our management systems certified according to ISO 45001. During the reporting year, 90 German and international locations were audited according to ISO 45001 and ISO 14001. Their certification was renewed in all cases.
We systematically assess the effectiveness of our measures. This includes reviewing the results of our employee survey, evaluating stress prevention measures under collective agreements, competitor analyses, and other indicators. Our Group-wide employee survey in particular helps us determine the mental stress in the workplace, the available resources, and the effects of stress. We support managers and teams with specific offerings based on these findings. We give high priority to the topics of awareness, prevention and personal responsibility.
Different performance indicators reflect the effectiveness of our commitment:
- In 2017, we set ourselves the goal of achieving a Group-wide health rate (not counting people with long-term illnesses) of 95.9 percent by 2020. At Deutsche Telekom in Germany, the health rate for 2018 (not counting people with long-term illnesses) was 95.3 percent (previous year: 95.4 percent). Group-wide, the health rate for 2018 (not counting people with long-term illnesses) was 93.6 percent (previous year: 93.7 percent).
- The accident rate in Germany for 2018 was 8.7 accidents (resulting in over three days of absence) per thousand employees, well below the industry average.
- The Group-wide health index – calculated in 30 countries as part of the last employee survey in 2017 – increased positively by 0.1 to 3.6 (on a scale of 1 to 5). The next survey is scheduled for 2019.
In 2018, Health & Safety Management was honored at several locations, including Greece, Mexico and the Czech Republic. Further information is available here.
Actively combating lack of movement and its consequences
Lack of movement at work is a major risk factor in the development of musculoskeletal disorders and cardiovascular illnesses. As the workforce ages, the frequency of such illnesses will continue to grow if suitable preventive countermeasures are not taken in due time.
Recent scientific studies show that taking regular breaks can effectively prevent the negative effects associated with extreme lack of movement at work. To help employees with this we have implemented a number of different measures and, for example, employed mobile fitness coaches on site. They instruct our employees on simple exercises that can be performed right at the workplace.
We added a new exercise offer in 2016 with the Active Workplace project. Desk exercise bikes give our employees a simple opportunity to integrate exercise into their workday. Since their launch, some 15,000 employees have used the desk bikes. The project 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 the participants’ levels of acceptance and well-being, their physiological activity parameters, energy conversion levels and body posture. Not only were participants having fun while exercising, their mental activity also increased. Another positive side effect was that participants burned more calories when cycling than when just sitting. The positive effects measured in the course of the study led to the decision to introduce more desk exercise bikes in the future.
Psychosocial counseling as part of change management
All employees face major challenges when there are changes in the workplace. That is why psychosocial counseling for transformation processes by the Employee and Executive Advisory Service plays an important role at Deutsche Telekom. Our goal is to provide support to employees and managers and prevent psychological crises.
To this end, we offer free and anonymous individual counseling and consultation hours. Employees can take advantage of several one-hour counseling sessions. Immediate phone counseling is also available through a special hotline ("TALK TIME"). We support managers and supervisors during change processes with appropriate tools. Talks and workshops on psychological health complete the offer. Targeted communication measures inform employees at affected locations of these offers.
In 2018, we supplemented the restructuring measures at T-Systems International GmbH in particular by offering psychosocial counseling. Locations that were especially impacted had specific consultation days (“Employee and Executive Advisory Services on site”), and workshops were offered at multiple locations to promote resilience, in other words, skills that help employees resist mental stress.
T-Systems: “Corporate Happiness” becomes #youmatter
T-Systems already started initiating changes in its corporate culture within the scope of the “Corporate Happiness” pilot project back in 2016. The aim of the project is to apply the scientific findings of “positive psychology” to identify values that will enable employees to better realize their potential. The project encourages them to independently work toward their own, as well as the company’s, success. In mid-2018 the pilot project was turned into a new Group-wide initiative running under the name #youmatter. The aim of the new name is to emphasize that the initiative focuses on the employees – and encourage them to make an active contribution. The various #youmatter offerings have been available as a standard offering on the central HR platform HR Suite since 2017. Interested employees can sign up there for workshops relating to the topics of convictions, developing potential, energy management, and successful relationships. Teams are offered a team process aimed at facilitating and ensuring feasibility in everyday life. HR Suite webinars can also be booked and carried out by those interested in them at their own desk at a time of their own choosing.
Strengthening the role of managers
Managers play an important role at the company when it comes to health promotion. In order to support Deutsche Telekom managers in their exemplary function, we also offer web-based training in addition to individual coaching. Topics include occupational health and safety, employee mental health, and corporate integration management after long-term illness. Health promotion is also a component of our current management development programs. Our managers can choose from among a comprehensive portfolio of offers for supporting their managerial competence. In 2018, we again offered numerous expert talks and hand-on workshops as part of the Employee and Executive Advisory Service in order to raise awareness among superiors of their responsibility on the subject of health.
Digitalization and health – a joint project with health insurer BARMER
Digitalization and the associated changes in the working world can cause physical and mental stress for employees. At the same time, however, digital innovations can also motivate employees to do more for their health, as confirmed by a study from the University of St. Gallen. In 2017, we therefore launched a model project “Digitalization and Health” together with health insurer BARMER. With scientific support from the University of St. Gallen and the University of Cologne, among others, we are working on solutions to improve the health, motivation and performance of employees and managers in the context of digitalization. Deutsche Telekom is thus the first company to systematically tackle this range of topics together with a health insurer, in this case, BARMER. Over a period of three years, we will develop and evaluate different innovative apps, solutions and measures that will undergo intensive field testing by Deutsche Telekom employees. In 2018, for example, the stress management and stress prevention app “Kelaa Mental Resilience”, available free of charge in the App Store, was tested as part of an EU-funded study. At the end of 2018, we also conducted a pilot project to test the “M-Sense” app for headache prevention. The app can be used to analyze individual causes of headaches and draw up a specific treatment plan. A coaching platform from healthcare provider Arvato was also field tested for suitability together with the Preventiometer 2018. The Preventiometer is a device containing extensive biomedical data for the test person. The platform supports users as needed in choosing the right health measures. The results of the trial phases will be used to decide whether and how the respective offers will be implemented at Deutsche Telekom in the future.
Health and Sports at T-Systems Mexico
As part of the “Total Health” Program at T-Systems Mexico, an in-company training program was launched to promote physical exercise, improve the health and lifestyle of employees, and enable them to participate in relaxing activities with their co-workers.
This year’s “Health Month” was organized in October 2018 and included activities for all our employees. The company received government support through the Mexican Social Security Institute and employees were offered a check-up with eye test, blood-pressure measurements, testing for glucose levels, and height and weight checks. The program included five health talks with seven specialist physicians, two guest specialists in insurance, dental and eye care, and one relaxing meditation session. 760 participants took part in the Health Month. They were able to attend any of the health events held in Puebla.
T-Systems Mexico seeks to promote greater integration, better quality of life, and a good work-life balance. In 2018, the company organized various sports tournaments such as volleyball, basketball, soccer, and dominos from January to December. There was a big uptake and approximately 41% of our employees took part in various activities. This helped to improve our work ethic, enhanced teamwork, and contributed to a healthy lifestyle, and reduced stress.