Aspect 2: Employee concerns

With their commitment, expertise, and high performance, our almost 230,000 employees ensure that – even during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic – we are always there for our customers, our network remains stable, and the Company can grow and pave the way for the digital society. They are crucial to our business success. Six Guiding Principles, representing our values, form the cornerstones for collaboration within our Company. We have defined our strategic HR priorities in line with the motto: “Supporting people. Driving performance.” We attach great importance to employee involvement and fair behavior toward colleagues, promote diversity, and engage in systematic health management.

For our Guiding Principles and further information about our HR work, please refer to the section “Employees.

Collaboration with employees’ representatives and trade unions

Digitalization is fundamentally changing the way we work together. Employees are expected to demonstrate greater flexibility, social skills, and autonomy, to continue learning throughout their lives, and to work with greater independence. We have made it our goal to support our employees in this transformation – and to help them not only manage change, but also take an active role in shaping it.

Codetermination rights play a key role in the digital transformation. Together with employees’ representatives and trade unions, we want to create the working world of the future – with an eye to the needs of our workforce and the success of our Company. 86 collective agreements were concluded with the trade union in the course of 2020. In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, we negotiated a new collective agreement in record time at the end of March 2020. Among other things, the agreement extended protection against dismissal and contained provisions on short-time work. In the case of employees affected by short-time work, such as those working in the Telekom shops, we increased the short-time work allowance to 85 % of the gross salary. The Germany-wide agreement covers 60,000 employees, trainees, and students on dual study programs.

Our dealings with the employee representatives and trade unions also concentrated on harmonizing remuneration systems across Germany. To this end, grading policies and processes were standardized. As the underlying laws and contracts vary from country to country, codetermination matters are managed locally with trade unions and employees’ representatives. Group management is generally involved in issues of particular importance.

The works councils, central works councils, and Group Works Council represent the interests of Group employees in Germany. Our partner representing the employees’ interests on a European level is the European Works Council (EWC). We also have executive staff representation committees and representatives of disabled employees at unit, company, and Group level. The EWC has been one of our established key dialog partners for many years, representing the interests of Group employees in countries within the European Union and the European Economic Area. The EWC has 32 seats, 31 of which are currently occupied (as of December 31, 2020). Collective bargaining plays an important role and has a long tradition at our Company, a fact made clear by the percentage of employees covered by collective agreements. As of December 31, 2020, 72 % of employees in Germany were covered by collective agreements. We record the Group-wide coverage rate every two years. As of December 31, 2020, it stood at just under 46 %.

We carefully monitored trade union matters in the United States over the course of 2020. The responsibility for national human resources management matters in the United States lies with T‑Mobile US’ management. This responsibility is assumed with a great deal of commitment and accompanied by excellent customer satisfaction results. Across the globe, Deutsche Telekom respects the rights to freedom of association and collective bargaining in accordance with national law. This naturally also applies to the United States, with each employee at T‑Mobile US entitled to form or join a trade union. At the same time, employees are also free to choose not to do so. T‑Mobile US will not exert any influence in this respect, neither favoring nor discriminating against employees because of a decision they have made.

Collaboration with employees’ representatives is founded on our commitment to trusting cooperation – anchored in our Group-wide Employee Relations Policy, which sets out twelve core elements describing what we stand for as an employer around the world. The policy also describes our aspiration with regard to the following HR topics: virtual working, employee development, responsible handling of changes, health and sustainability, fair pay, work-life balance, leadership, diversity, the prohibition of discrimination, and how we communicate and work together with employees’ representatives. Our Code of Human Rights & Social Principles policy statement also includes a voluntary commitment to safeguarding the freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining (in compliance with national law in each case).

Our employee survey, carried out every two years, is a key indicator of the relationship between our Company and its workforce. We supplement it with pulse surveys, which give us a snapshot of the mood across the Group twice a year.

For further information, please refer to the section “Employees.”

Diversity and equal opportunity

People from some 150 countries work successfully together at Deutsche Telekom. They all bring their diverse skills and cultural characteristics to the workplace. Respecting the individuality of our employees and harnessing their diversity for our joint success is just as important for our Group as developing a shared corporate culture. That is why the Human Resources and Legal Affairs Board of Management department includes a Diversity team. Our Group-wide Diversity Policy, six Guiding Principles, the Employee Relations Policy, and the Code of Human Rights & Social Principles policy statement form the foundation of our commitment to diversity. We are also a founding member of the Diversity Charter corporate initiative. Developments in the proportion of women in leadership positions and serving on the supervisory boards are reported to and discussed by the Board of Management on an annual basis.

We offer our employees a wide variety of options to grow professionally and achieve their potential – regardless of their gender, age, sexual orientation, state of health, ethnic background, religion, or culture. These include mentoring programs, flexible working models, childcare services, advice for those caring for loved ones, and an action plan for inclusion. In various training courses, we shine a light on unconscious bias in order to raise employees’ awareness of hidden prejudices. Last but not least, we support the many employee networks at Deutsche Telekom, e.g., in Germany Magenta Pride, Women@telekom, the Fathers’ Network, or the Network for International Employees.

In Germany, for example, our collective agreements on remuneration and other matters reached with the trade unions ensure transparent, gender-neutral compensation. We meet the requirements set out in the Act to Promote Transparency of Pay Structures by publishing a remuneration report every five years – most recently in the 2017 financial year.

For further information, please refer to the section “Employees.

Occupational health and safety

The coronavirus pandemic left its mark on 2020. We implemented comprehensive hygiene plans and initiated many other measures to protect our employees’ health.

For further information, please refer to the section “Employees.”

Measures that promote health within the Company not only help individual employees and ensure long-term business success, but also have positive effects beyond that on society as a whole. We use holistic health management to take on social responsibility and promote a proactive culture of health. We support our employees in maintaining their health and occupational safety with a host of target audience-specific measures and extensive prevention programs. We consider the statutory requirements to be only the minimum standard we must achieve. Our corporate occupational health and safety measures are effectively incorporated into our structures via certified management systems and appropriate policies and guidelines. We support the Group-wide approach with a uniform international health, safety, and environmental management system based on the international DIN ISO 45001, DIN EN ISO 14001, and DIN EN ISO 9001 standards for occupational safety and health, environmental protection, and quality.

The Board of Management bears overarching responsibility for safeguarding health, occupational safety, and the environment. We pool together and manage our programs at Group level, with on-site health and safety managers responsible for putting them into practice. We systematically evaluate the programs to ensure they are effective. The health rate, for instance, is reported to the Board of Management once a year. In addition, we review the results of our employee survey, evaluating stress prevention measures under collective agreements, health insurance reports, and competitor benchmarks. We analyze this data each year to derive measures that exceed the statutory requirements. Raising awareness, prevention, and encouraging individual responsibility are high priorities at our Company.

Group-wide initiatives serve to promote health awareness and health literacy among our employees. On completion of the employee survey, for example, all teams across 29 countries are issued recommendations, along with measures to be implemented on the basis of their particular health index rating. In Germany, a range of services are available to employees to promote health in the workplace, including comprehensive check-ups, colon cancer screenings, and flu shots. The program also includes courses on nutrition, exercise, and relaxation (stress prevention, mindfulness, etc.). Due to the coronavirus pandemic, many courses were held online in 2020. In addition, with our Germany-wide employee and executive advisory service, we offer a portfolio of support services in the area of psychosocial health, but also crisis prevention and expert advice in the event of psychosocial crises and extreme incidents. Throughout 2020, occupational medicine specialists were available to answer employees’ medical questions with regard to coronavirus.

Standards in Germany serve to improve occupational safety by regulating aspects such as safe, ergonomic environments in buildings and vehicles. In addition to services available to all employees, there are also target group-specific measures, e.g., driver safety training for certain areas of work. Our aim is to promote employees’ health, boost their motivation, improve the health rate, and continue to reduce the accident rate.

A variety of key figures demonstrate the effectiveness of our corporate health management services. The health rate, including long-term illnesses at Deutsche Telekom in Germany was 95.0 % in 2020 (prior year: 94.0 %). Excluding long-term illnesses, the health rate in 2020 stood at 96.5 % (prior year: 95.5 %). The health rate is reported to the Board of Management at the end of each quarter. Our aim for 2020 was to bring the Group-wide health rate up to 95.9 % (excluding long-term illnesses). The total number of work-related accidents continued to decline in the reporting year in comparison with the previous year. With 3.8 accidents (resulting in over three days of absence) per thousand employees, the accident rate in Germany was well below the industry average. The Group-wide health index – calculated in 29 countries as part of the last employee survey in 2019 – remained constant at 3.6 (on a scale from 1.0 to 5.0). The next survey is scheduled for 2021.