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Our HR work based on the priorities

1. Support our employees through crisis situations

As a critical infrastructure company, Deutsche Telekom makes an important contribution to society through the reliable provision and restoration of telecommunications services. This holds particularly true in respect of the restoration of telecommunications infrastructure following the occurrence of natural disasters and crisis situations, such as the catastrophic flooding experienced across North Rhine-Westphalia and Rhineland-Palatinate in July 2021, the devastating wildfires in Greece in August 2021, as well as the maintenance of operational capability in all of our national entities during the coronavirus pandemic. Crisis situations like these call for special measures aimed at maintaining our operational capability and at protecting Deutsche Telekom employees. The Group-wide measures described below were taken in collaboration with the Group Situation Center to prevent the spread of the pandemic, inform the workforce, and intervene where necessary. The Group Situation Center forms part of Deutsche Telekom’s system for managing security incidents. It is responsible for coordinating, managing, and monitoring the measures taken to tackle acute threats; it reviews and evaluates the available information, and implements countermeasures – either directly, for example, as part of Deutsche Telekom Security’s master incident management system, or by delegating responsibility to employees or units with the relevant expertise.

Coronavirus pandemic. We have been acting with the utmost care since the start of the pandemic, using every means available to protect our customers’ and employees’ health. Our hygiene plan undergoes ongoing revision in consultation with virologists to keep it in line with the latest developments. It contains measures ranging from reduced room occupancy and the obligation to wear a medical mask, through the provision of disinfectant and masks, to the option to work from home. In addition, we provide rapid antigen self-tests free of charge to colleagues working on site in Germany and other European countries, such as Poland and Slovakia.

In Germany, Deutsche Telekom has applied the “3G rule,” which was adopted by the federal government and the states and under which only people who are vaccinated, recovered, or tested have access to the workplace since the legal regulation entered into force in November 2021. Employees must provide the required proof before they can enter the workplace. This is checked and documented by our managers. To enable our employees to submit their proof to the relevant manager immediately, Deutsche Telekom developed an app which combines a validation service developed by T‑Systems International, our tried-and-tested employee app, and the access management system. The app was piloted in December 2021, followed by the start of the rollout in January 2022. The various national companies also have access rules in place. In Austria, the 3G rule also applies, and in the United States, it’s 1G, which means all employees must be vaccinated.

In many of our international companies, including in Croatia, Poland, and Austria, we have been offering support in the form of vaccination campaigns for employees. During our first vaccination campaign, which ran from June to September 2021, for example, we provided employees and their family members with the COVID-19 vaccination on 87 different sites, 18 of which were exclusive Deutsche Telekom vaccination centers. A total of 45,500 appointments were arranged for first, second, and mix-and-match vaccinations. From December 2021, employees were also offered booster vaccinations.

We were for the most part able to stop the spread of the coronavirus within the Group by providing all relevant contacts at the local organizations with a daily briefing from the Group Situation Center, reporting all suspected and actual cases of illness to the latter, and putting in place a process to intervene in confirmed cases. We continued our constant efforts to inform and protect all our employees and establish rules of conduct with a personal Coronavirus Update newsletter issued by our Board of Management member for Human Resources and Legal Affairs. We also made use of our extensive network with other DAX-listed companies and the scientific community to continually refine our best practices and share them with other companies. Above and beyond this, our national companies took action to offer localized support. For example, we offered all our employees in Germany a regular opportunity to chat online via live stream with a virologist and hygiene expert from the University of Bonn. This live chat option not only provided participants with a rundown of the current situation, but also covered key topics, gave recommendations on how to behave, provided answers to employees’ questions, and dealt with the consequences of the “new normal” for working life at Deutsche Telekom.

Catastrophic flooding. July of the reporting year saw very extreme weather in parts of Germany. A number of cities and communities in the federal states of Rhineland-Palatinate and North Rhine-Westphalia were among those hit particularly hard. Torrential rain meant whole villages were flooded, destroying large sections of the local infrastructure. In addition to restoring the technical infrastructure, Deutsche Telekom also showed solidarity with the people concerned: our 1,319 employees who were affected could apply for paid release from work and were also given up to 5 days of paid special leave. Moreover, our welfare service (Betreuungswerk) offered emergency aid of EUR 500 per family member to the employees affected. Accommodation and furniture were also provided.

Those of our employees who were not affected also showed considerable solidarity: 250 volunteers provided support on the ground at all hours, having also been released from their duties with pay by Deutsche Telekom. 2,000 employees volunteered to collect donations during the SAT.1 fundraising gala. In addition to donations from the Company to charities such as Aktion Lichtblicke e.V. and Aktion Deutschland Hilft e.V., more than 500 colleagues also donated to our welfare service.

Employee health. Our health management strategy is designed to maintain our employees’ health and performance. We view occupational health and safety legislation as minimum requirements. Our corporate culture encourages our employees to take responsibility for their own health. The steps we took to promote employee health, including anti-infection precautions, contributed to a further improvement in the health rate in 2021, continuing the upward trend from 2020. After Deutsche Telekom AG won the Corporate Health Award, for which companies can apply every two years, in 2020, other international Deutsche Telekom subsidiaries followed with awards in the field of health and safety during the reporting year: T‑Mobile US, for example, became the first mobile communications company to earn the WELL Health-Safety Rating. Above and beyond that, we supported our employees and managers by providing them with virtual formats on topics such as leadership, remote collaboration, and resilience (for instance, the online seminar “Starke Psyche (A strong psyche)”) and by setting up additional IT support channels and a helpline for dealing with psychological problems.

For further information on the subject of occupational health and safety, please refer to the section “Corporate responsibility and non-financial statement.”

Employee satisfaction. Our engagement score, which is our measure of employee satisfaction, is calculated from data collected by the Group-wide (excluding T‑Mobile US) employee survey conducted every two years. The questionnaire and the measurement model were reviewed in the context of the 2021 employee survey and were updated based on feedback and the latest research findings. As part of this process, we changed the scale used for the engagement score (formerly the “commitment index”) to 1 to 100, instead of the 1 to 5 we had previously used. Since the 2021 employee survey, the questions used to calculate the engagement score are now based on the categories of Mood, Employer Attractiveness, Brand Identity, and Inspiration. The 2021 employee survey showed a high commitment level of 77 points. The survey, which we carried out in November 2021, saw a participation rate of 80 %. The results in numerous areas, such as Goals (92 %), Strengths (88 %), Purpose (86 %), Digital Collaboration (86 %), and Information (86 %), were the highest ever. The question on Mood is comparable to the earlier question on Satisfaction and is at a very high level of 80 %. To allow for qualitative answers, the survey included a free-text box for the first time in which employees could suggest things that would reinforce their commitment to their work. We also conduct pulse surveys twice per year to obtain feedback from our employees. Several initiatives are in place to further enhance employee satisfaction.

T‑Mobile US carried out separate employee surveys in January, June, and October of 2021. Changes were made to the employee survey in the reporting year to address a broader range of cultural aspects, so as to create an employee survey that spans the full spectrum of issues. Of T‑Mobile US’ over 75,000-strong workforce, 39,000 took part in the most recent employee survey, held in October 2021. The results show the high level of employee satisfaction there: 86 % of employees say their own team creates an inclusive working environment that is accepted by all colleagues. 83 % are proud to work for the company. 80 % would recommend T‑Mobile US to others as an attractive employer. This is further borne out by the numerous accolades awarded to T‑Mobile US over the last few years for its attractiveness as an employer. Like last year, the company was once again on the Forbes list of America’s Best Employers. T‑Mobile US won not one but four HR awards from Comparably: in the categories Best Company Perks & Benefits, Best Company Leadership, Best Places to Work in Seattle, and Best Company Leadership Teams. T‑Mobile US is number 51 in the Fortune 100 list of Best Companies to Work For. T‑Mobile US also scored 100 in the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index for the ninth time in a row, making it the best place to work in terms of equal treatment of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people.

2. Evolve our culture and design new working environments

We are convinced that corporate culture is a key factor in a company’s long-term success. Building on the strong foundation of our Guiding Principles, corporate culture must also reflect the changing needs of customers and employees. For this reason, we understand culture to be a constantly evolving process. At Deutsche Telekom, we talk about “living culture.” Our purpose statement “We won’t stop until everyone is connected,” announced in January 2020, serves to guide all of our corporate efforts. In times of physical distancing in society and in our Company, we are constantly reminded of the importance of this shared identity.

Our Guiding Principles. We consider culture to be part of the corporate DNA. Our Guiding Principles act as our compass, leading us to reflect on our behavior on a daily basis and helping us to make the right decisions. Each year, we focus on our Guiding Principles during Living Culture Day and the Telekom Team Award. In 2021, we held our first hybrid Living Culture Day event, with the slogan “Passion for the Future.” More than 20 countries took part, with over 5,000 participants watching the live stream of the event. There was a strong social media presence, with 17,000 posts, comments, and likes on both internal and external networks. The Telekom Team Award is an international intragroup award with six categories, one for each of our Guiding Principles, aimed at recognizing outstanding performance as a team. In 2021, a total of 18 winning teams were chosen from among 272 entries from 19 countries. In November and December, some 14,000 employees around the world used an online tool to vote on the final order of the winners.

Our six Guiding Principles

Our six Guiding Principles (graphic)

Our six Guiding Principles

Our six Guiding Principles (graphic)

Practicing diversity. We support a work environment in which all employees can achieve their full potential. Promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion in terms of gender, age, and cultural identity is intrinsic to how we see ourselves. We firmly believe that this also increases our corporate success, because we consider diverse teams to be a driver of innovation. Our goal of increasing the percentage of women in management positions to 30 % across the Group (excluding T‑Mobile US) by 2025 still applies. With women occupying 45 % of positions on the Supervisory Board and 37.5 % of positions on the Board of Management of Deutsche Telekom AG, we have already exceeded this target in these boards. Across the Group, the proportion of women in middle and upper management stood at 27.3 % at the end of 2021. To ensure we also reach our target in these management levels, we have worked with the different business segments to draw up concrete implementation plans (excluding T‑Mobile US). Specific measures are to be agreed aimed at increasing diversity in management teams regarding gender, age, and the international dimension on the basis of the starting point of the segment in question. T‑Mobile US is equally committed to maintaining and further enhancing the diversity of its workforce in terms of gender, age, and internationality.

We have a range of measures and products in place to support and monitor our efforts to increase diversity in the Company. Continually refining and implementing these measures and products promotes diversity in the Group. Among other actions, a revised Group Policy on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DE&I) was implemented globally in the reporting year. The policy is intended as a binding written commitment that will ensure our values are reflected in every decision and action at every level of the Group. The launch of the new policy is accompanied by a broad-based communication campaign – Connected as One. The campaign focuses on individual differences while emphasizing that we are nonetheless united when it comes to promoting diversity, equal opportunities, and inclusion in every sense. T‑Mobile US, too, demonstrates its commitment to diversity with a range of initiatives, including the Women & Allies Network (WAN), Women in Tech, and the McKinsey Black Leadership Program.

The successful launch of the Talent Hub in 2021 promotes the targeted placing of talents within our succession management process, ensuring diversity in all aspects, e.g., gender, age, and cultural background. We also raise employee awareness through tailored training courses on topics such as hidden prejudices, racism, and transgender issues, and we encourage employees to reflect on these.

New Work. Also in this year, the coronavirus pandemic was key to shaping the way we work together. The related guardrails adopted by the Board of Management in 2020 proved effective once again in the reporting year:

  1. We will take the best of both worlds: the type of work will determine the mix of mobile and in-person work, whether the latter is performed on the customers’ premises, in our shops, or in the office. The share of mobile working is set to rise significantly, not just because it “works,” but because it even enhances productivity in many areas. But real-life interaction, too, will remain a key component of our working life. That is because the success of creative collaboration, complex problem-solving, and team processes often hinges on physical proximity.
  2. Our offices will become places of encounter: the office is set to remain the most important location for our identity. More than ever before, our office buildings will become places for teamwork, encounters, and social and creative interaction.
  3. Digital tools will become even more important: digital collaboration tools have become our constant companions and key helpers in our daily work. For this reason, we will ramp up our Group-wide investment in IT tools, equipment, and enablement.
  4. We will travel less: going forward, we will get by with fewer business trips, thus making a contribution to sustainability.
  5. Our understanding of leadership will change: it will not be based on attendance and control, but on trust and transparency. We will face new challenges when it comes to virtual leadership and to leading hybrid teams. It will become even more important for our managers to create a safe, motivating “space,” formulate clear objectives, provide feedback, and monitor results. We will offer a wide range of virtual tools to support our managers in this area.

Deutsche Telekom has no centralized provisions or one-size-fits-all solutions, as the nature of work differs greatly throughout our Company. It is up to our managers to shape the new way of working with their teams.

We successfully built on our experience in recent months and put proactive measures in place that have been reflected, once again, in extremely high employee satisfaction and a consistently high level of employer attractiveness. We were able to implement the guardrails step by step: we pressed forward with making our offices places of encounter and identification, while at the same time introducing Group-wide collaboration tools, simplifying and optimizing hybrid cooperation. In agreement with the Group Works Council, we are currently running a pilot project in Germany on working close to home, aimed at testing another instrument to increase workplace flexibility. We made good use of the time between the periods when government recommended to work from home to hold a variety of events with our customers, business partners, and employees, strengthening relationships and giving new momentum to creativity.

Shares2You. Deutsche Telekom AG launched the employee share program Shares2You in 2021. Through the program, once per year employees can acquire shares in Deutsche Telekom AG up to an amount of EUR 1,000. For every two shares they purchase, they receive another share at no cost. All shares acquired in this way must be kept for a minimum of four years. The program was launched in 2021 in the participating German Group companies, and is to be extended step by step in the coming years to Group companies outside of Germany. In the reporting year, 36,290 employees took advantage of the program. A total of 3,055,071 shares were transferred in this way from Deutsche Telekom AG to these participants.

3. Continue the long-term transformation of our workforce

It is our responsibility to ensure that we have the right employees in the right place at the right time, that they enjoy competitive conditions, and that they are able to grow and develop. In addition to both the transformation initiatives driven by digitalization and automation, and to staff reduction and restructuring measures, the decisive tools in achieving this goal are proactive total workforce management, the digitalization of our core processes, and investment in developing skills.

Major transformation initiatives. In the reporting year, we again succeeded in transforming individual business areas of the Group, e.g., DT IT, T‑Systems, and the business customer and service units at Telekom Deutschland. Restructuring is being implemented in a socially responsible manner. To support our managers, we focused strongly on offering training courses in 2021 aimed at building skills in leadership during change processes.

Systematic skills development. Our employees’ in-depth expertise and forward-looking skills are among our Company’s most important resources and are thus crucial to our business success. Deutsche Telekom values future-proof digital skills particularly highly: by 2024, the Group’s need for digital experts will increase to 17 %. It is therefore up to us to provide an environment in which employee skills can be transformed. With the introduction of the Global Job Architecture (GJA) and specific Group works agreements on strategic qualitative personnel planning (SQP) and on skill management, the trade union ver.di, the Group Works Council, and Deutsche Telekom have worked together to lay the foundations for the necessary skills transformation. The GJA simplifies existing function structures and consolidates them in future-proof job profiles. Our SQP takes changing market conditions into account to plot the right course for targeted investment in the skills that will be needed going forward. Personal development meetings in conjunction with a digital tool help pinpoint where individual skills are lacking, while development plans can be continuously adapted by means of tailored training programs. Around 30,000 employees successfully went through the skill management process in 2021. “We grow,” our modern performance management system that enables ongoing dialog between managers and employees, also focuses on our employees’ individual development. This combination of strategic HR instruments – job architecture, strategic personnel planning, and the identification of personal training needs – forms the basis for targeted upskilling/reskilling for our employees.

Upskilling and reskilling programs with a focus on digital skills. With the goal of equipping as many employees as possible with the skills that will be needed in the future and guaranteeing their employability in the best way possible, we offered more “Explorer journeys” again in 2021, programs which address specific innovation topics. Around 6,000 employees signed up in 2021 for multiple-week digital training programs on topics such as big data, digital marketing, artificial intelligence, and software development. We also instated academies with the aim of offering both reskilling and large-scale upskilling for digital experts, e.g., in the fields of software engineering, DevOps, artificial intelligence, and data analytics. In our Technology and Innovation unit alone, 1,650 employees completed specialized training in 2021 – alongside the many other standard training measures we continue to offer year after year.

Learning initiatives and offerings. Developing skills for the future and reinforcing our learning culture are top priorities for us, and are reflected in our Guiding Principle “Stay curious and grow.” With our Youlearn initiative – aimed at entrenching self-paced learning in our everyday working life – we have significantly enhanced our employees’ options for upgrading their skills. Employees in Germany and our European national companies devoted almost 4 million hours of their time to learning in the reporting year – that was 4.6 working days per employee, on average. After a decrease in learning hours in 2020 (caused by the lack of in-person courses due to the coronavirus restrictions), 83 % of the Group’s learning portfolio was systematically moved online in 2021 (excluding T‑Mobile US). Deutsche Telekom has established a high-quality training service for employees by rolling out Percipio, an intelligent learning platform also dubbed the “Netflix of learning,” and integrating Coursera as a provider of digital further-training courses offered by top-ranking universities. The more than 180,000 Percipio registrations since the third quarter of 2019 show that our efforts have been worthwhile. The employee initiative Learning from Experts (LEX), launched in 2018, is another model of autonomous, self-organized and digital learning, in which experts from the Group pass on their knowledge to colleagues via different channels. The highlight are open digital courses known as LEX sessions. More than 5,000 options had been made available with this type of content at the end of 2021, with 140,000 colleagues having taken part. Today, with 20,000 active members, LEX is the fastest-growing community in the Group. Acceptance of digital learning has thus become stronger, as is reflected in the increase in the digital learning rate to 90 % and a rise in satisfaction with learning offerings (+4 %) compared with 2020. The Top Learner Award for outstanding commitment to learning was awarded for the first time in 2021, with four employees receiving the award. Youlearn Day, a day of digital learning for all employees, reached a new participation record in comparison with the previous year, with some 5,000 registered participants from 30 countries. Employees of T‑Mobile US completed 5.4 million hours of learning via a learning management tool. In addition, the Magenta University at T‑Mobile US acts as a central support hub, empowering employees to make the most of their abilities, take advantage of career opportunities, expand their leadership skills, and strengthen their commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Recruiting and onboarding. We want to shape the digital world of tomorrow. Even amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, we succeeded in recruiting around 8,280 new employees across the Group (excluding T‑Mobile US). T‑Mobile US recruited over 16,000 new employees in 2021. Given the growing prominence of technical and IT profiles in the international labor market, we closely orient our employer marketing activities to these highly relevant areas. We welcomed 2,076 new trainees and dual students in Germany, a high percentage of whom in the area of technology/IT. In 2021, Capital magazine validated our keen efforts to advance young employees working at our Company and offer them opportunities for success by ranking us “Germany’s best training provider” in the categories “Vocational training” and “Dual studies.” Our entire recruitment strategy is digital, but at the same time with a personal touch. Our international careers website is a platform offering job-seekers transparent information, for example introducing employees and providing a glimpse into the world of work. It also facilitates digital recruitment and supports international standards in our selection processes (e.g., virtual job interviews and assessment centers). Notwithstanding the digital transformation, we still value direct and personal contact, so we continue to attend careers fairs, networking sessions, and other events. By addressing specific target groups, our recruiting strategy also aims to encourage more talented women to join our Company. 2020 marked the eighth time that female students of STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) from all over the world were able to compete for our Women’s STEM Award. We are also involved in Femtec, a career program for female STEM students, and in the Global Digital Women network. We have shown that digital recruitment is a crucial success factor when it comes to responding rapidly to changing requirements and continuing to secure employees with critical profiles for the Company.

Particularly during the pandemic, we relied on our motto “Stronger together” to reinvent our onboarding process at international level. We now use an onboarding app so that new employees can get to know Deutsche Telekom before their first day on the job and can benefit from the best possible onboarding experience to prepare them for their tasks when they start work. This includes introductions to the tools they will use, to Deutsche Telekom’s strategy, and to the training options available (excluding T‑Mobile US). The onboarding app also helps managers with the onboarding process, for example by providing checklists. In the context of this process, we held a virtual global welcome event for our new employees, the “New Unstoppables,” in May and November 2021, with 689 new employees in attendance (excluding T‑Mobile US).

In the second half of 2021, T‑Mobile US introduced its new Being Un‑carrier onboarding program for back-office employees to offer new employees a consistent experience across the board. Prior to this, the approaches to onboarding had differed in each business segment. A company-wide platform was created to centralize the suggested onboarding activities and make them available to all employees and their managers to use as needed. Two-part virtual live and interactive orientation sessions are offered on a weekly basis as an opportunity for back-office employees to get to know other colleagues from outside their team.

Employer brand. Digitalization, automation, scope for development, new ways of working, and self-realization are priorities for applicants, shaping the way they look for jobs. Job security and a flexible working environment that allows for a good balance between personal and professional challenges are key criteria when selecting a future employer. In the IT & Tech industry in particular, the “war for talent” grew fiercer, with these target groups more sought after than ever. Our recruitment communication addressed our target groups’ needs at an early stage to strengthen our employer brand, advertising Deutsche Telekom’s digital application processes, agile workflows, flexible working, and working-from-home options. Another key component of our communication is to personally address the talents and to create a sense of community and proximity in a digital world, because the notion of belonging is front and center in 2021. Our new employer campaign “We are IT!” shines a spotlight on the people behind the IT-specific jobs with their wide-ranging interests. By means of a unique external and internal IT survey we examined what is important to IT professionals outside of and within Deutsche Telekom, and what brings them together. We use target group-specific messages, authentic communication, and a finely tuned content strategy to remind IT experts of what technology means to them and what opportunities exist for them at Deutsche Telekom. A strong employer brand pays off: in the reporting year, Magenta Telekom in Austria was awarded the Leading Employer Award, among other things.

Offerings for managers. In the age of digitalization, managers must possess skills and methods that differ greatly from those needed in the analog world. That is why, since the start of the reporting year, we have been supporting not just our executives with levelUP!, an innovative digital further-training service; but we have extended the offering of training for successful leadership in the digital age to all managers worldwide. levelUP! comprises modules that can be combined as required. Knowledge is shared primarily via interactive, digital learning formats in combination with classroom training. levelUP! is also the central information hub for intragroup and segment-specific leadership topics. Training offered in 2021 included modules on Leading in Transformation and Leading into the Future. The success of this new approach is reflected in both user numbers and satisfaction, with a record figure of 1,300 managers using levelUP!. A satisfaction index of 8.7 shows the very high level of acceptance of the program.

Following the success of the levelUP!NextGeneration program in the previous year, we offered the program again in digital format in 2021: 500 employees worldwide, from 45 companies and 18 countries, took part in this four-month development program, which features digital learning and imparts innovative, inspiring, and concrete leadership topics and skills such as ambidexterity, mindfulness, and agility. Optional modules chosen by the individual help meet development needs. levelUP!NextGeneration also helps us strengthen and encourage intragroup and cross-segment collaboration.

We value highly an environment in which our managers feel part of a leadership team. This drives us to invest not only in the transfer of skills and the teaching of methodologies, but also in strengthening our leadership communities. In summer 2021, we seized the opportunity to deliberately return to an in-person approach. Over a period of just under one week in July, our 47 business leaders joined the Board of Management on a learning journey in Estonia. The focal topic was digitalization and the event offered all participants a platform for dialog with established companies, start-ups, and government authorities. For our Telekom Transformation Team (T3), which is made up of almost 250 managers and top talents, the central topic for 2021 was courage, especially in transformation processes. The joint T3 event took place in Croatia in summer.

T‑Mobile US has a range of career and leadership development programs in place to support employees with defining career success on their own terms and achieving their career goals. They are supported by a portfolio spanning coaching, self-study courses, and other development programs (including CareerTraX and Magenta9).

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