Aspect 2: Employee concerns
With their commitment, expertise, and high performance, our more than 200,000 employees ensure that we live up to our ambition to always be there for our customers, to operate a stable network, to grow the Company, and to 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.”
For information on the opportunities and risks associated with employees, please refer to the section “Risk and opportunity management.”
Digitalization is fundamentally changing the way we work together. Employees are expected to demonstrate ever-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 to manage change, but also to 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. 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 our employees in countries within the European Union and the European Economic Area. The EWC has 32 seats (prior year: 32), 28 of which are currently occupied (prior year: 29) (as of December 31, 2022). 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, 2022, 73 % of employees in Germany were covered by collective agreements (prior year: 73 %). We record the Group-wide coverage rate every two years. As of December 31, 2022, it stood at around 45 %. In 2022, 90 collective agreements were signed with the trade unions in Germany (prior year: 115), which is a testament to the close cooperation with employees’ representatives.
We also carefully monitored trade union matters in the United States over the course of 2022. The responsibility for national human resources management matters in the United States lies with T‑Mobile US’ management, who are deeply committed to exercising this responsibility. 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 all employees 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. Topics such as freedom of opinion and digitalization are also addressed. Our Code of Human Rights & Social Principles policy statement also includes our global 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 of our employees twice a year. More than 100,000 colleagues, or 76 % of the total workforce, took part in the most recent pulse survey, which was held in November 2022. The survey asked employees about sustainability, among other topics, with considerable success: 84 % of those surveyed (2021: 84 %) stated that they identified with Deutsche Telekom’s environmental and social engagement. A total of 83 % (2021: 83 %) believe that Deutsche Telekom acts responsibly toward the environment and society. The values reflect the survey findings excluding T‑Mobile US, since T‑Mobile US conducts its own employee survey.
For further information on the employee survey and the non-financial performance indicator “employee satisfaction,” please refer to the section “Employees.”
People from over 115 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 policy on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, the 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. In Germany, for example, our collective agreements on remuneration and other matters reached with the trade unions ensure transparent, gender-neutral compensation.
In line with the key dimensions of diversity set out by the Diversity Charter, we offer all employees – irrespective of age, ethnic origin and nationality, gender and gender identity, physical and mental abilities, religion and worldview, sexual orientation, and social origin – many development opportunities. We have developed action plans for each dimension of diversity so that we can make our working environment even more inclusive and put our diversity strategy in place in the various units. These measures include, for example, creating a prayer room and carrying out anti-racism workshops. During the reporting year, we also published a handbook focusing on care and support for transgender employees, which is aimed at fostering an inclusive workplace. Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) are also deeply rooted in the culture of T‑Mobile US. In January 2021, T‑Mobile US launched its strategic DE&I plan Equity in Action, which focuses on employees and on the key elements of talent, culture, brand, and digital equity. As part of the strategy, T‑Mobile US obtains advice on DE&I questions from the External Diversity and Inclusion Council, which includes members from civil rights organizations. The representatives of the council provide input on setting priorities, goals, and shared endeavors. It also helps T‑Mobile US implement its Equity in Action plan and the 54 DE&I promises.
Alongside these action plans, we are also continuing to move forward on cross-segment issues. These include mentoring programs, flexible working models, child care services, advisory services for those caring for family members, inclusion surveys, a global talent hub, and innovative ideas for dealing with demographic change. We also offer various training courses that shine a light on unconscious bias in order to reveal hidden prejudices. Last but not least, we support our many employee networks in Germany, such as MagentaPride, Women@telekom, the fathers’ network, and the newly established network BIPoC@DT (Black, Indigenous and People of Color). At T‑Mobile US, there is an internal diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) network. The network includes a group for persons with disabilities, a multicultural group with sub-groups, a multi-generational network, an LGBTQI+ community, a network for veterans and active members of the military, and a women’s network.
For further information on equity and diversity in our Group, 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 outside of the Company. For example, certain vaccinations and care services are also available to the families of employees. 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 an internationally harmonized quality, work, health, and environmental management system based on the international standards ISO 9001, ISO 45001, and ISO 14001.
The Board of Management bears overarching responsibility for safeguarding health, occupational safety, and the environment. We manage cross-segment measures at Group level; the Group companies have health & safety managers who are responsible for specific processes and offerings that take into account special requirements and conditions right down to company level. We systematically evaluate the measures to ensure they are effective. The health rate, for instance, is reported to the Board of Management once per quarter. In addition, we review the results of our employee survey, analyses of stress prevention measures under collective agreements, health insurance reports, and competitor benchmarks. We analyze this data and use it to derive suitable measures each year. For example, following the 2021 employee survey, all teams in participating countries were given suggestions for measures based on the health index ascertained for their particular country. 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. 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. Between June 2021 and March 2022, the Betriebsärztlicher Dienst (BAD) occupational health service also provided Deutsche Telekom employees with vaccinations against the coronavirus (first, second, and booster vaccinations).
The health promotion program also includes courses on nutrition, exercise, and relaxation (stress prevention, mindfulness, etc.). Alongside campaign days such as a mindfulness day and a mental health day, series of presentations were established, together with individual offerings such as a sleep consultancy service and a nutrition clinic. We also offer the use of the Fitmit5 app, which aims to promote healthy break management. Our employees can use the corporate health promotion options free of charge, generally during working hours.
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 advice in the event of psychosocial crises and extreme incidents. In 2022 we set up an advisory service for international employees affected by the war in Ukraine at short notice.
Standards have been put in place in Germany 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, and improve the health rate.
Several key figures validate our performance in terms of corporate health management services. The health rate at Deutsche Telekom entities in Germany, including long-term illnesses, was 93.8 % in 2022 (prior year: 95.3 %). Excluding long-term illnesses, the health rate in 2022 stood at 95.2 % (prior year: 96.7 %). The worsening of the figure in 2022 is presumably a result of the gradual return to normality as pandemic protection and hygiene measures came to an end.
The total number of work-related accidents increased in comparison with the previous year. The accident rate in Germany was 5.5 accidents (resulting in over three days of absence) per thousand employees (prior year: 4.2). This figure also includes occupational accidents associated with the coronavirus pandemic. Excluding these Covid-19 cases, the accident rate in Germany was 4.4. The health index, which is measured every two years as part of the employee survey, increased slightly in 2021 in comparison with the previous survey. The score from the 2021 employee survey for the health index was 69 on a scale of 0 to 100. In the 2019 survey, the index had been shown as an average on a scale from 1 to 5, with a value of 3.6. When converted to the new scale, this represents 65 points, which means the index improved by 4 points. Preparations for the next round of surveys will begin in 2023.