Winfried Ebner


A deeper dive into the Telekom Ambassador Community

The corporate influencers for a company are becoming a vital part of its communications mix and Deutsche Telekom’s, Telekom Ambassadors, couldn’t be any less than an integral part of it. The questions for articles and scientific papers are endless , so we had a first go and answered the ten most important questions here:  “TELEKOM AMBASSADORS: The Corporate Influencer - initiative introduces itself” . Nevertheless, other sets of questions kept coming up repeatedly, so we thought the time has come to give answers to them. So here we have the answers to ten more questions with even more details about #LoveMagenta, #WeWontStop and #Werkstolz within one page.  


The Telekom Ambassador Community.

Origin & Framework

1. What is behind the “Werkstolz” hashtag? 

The #Werkstolz (workers pride) hashtag is special because it was created “bottom-up”. Pawel Dillinger, the founding father of the Telekom Ambassador Community used #Werkstolz very early, to express his loyalty to the company along with his pride of #LoveMagenta products, services and, above all, in the company’s employees. Later on, this claim was taken by our CEO Tim Höttges  and translated as follows: "You can only be successful if you are self-confident, if you are proud of what you do!" Now, the term is even reflected in Telekom Deutschland's strategy: Based on Werkstolz, we manage to make #KundenZuFans. 

If you have a look in Google and search #Werkstolz, a magenta sea of posts will rise in front of you. As a respected colleague from Daimler AG put it: "We also have manufacturing plants, we also have a lot of pride in the brand with the star (Mercedes Benz), but the hashtag #Werkstolz is 'unfortunately' already magenta dominated ... 

2. Who Regulates the Telekom Ambassadors?

This question is among the most popular and is asked over and over again. It stems from the assumption that company employees must first ask for permission before they speak up about the company and their work.  We have turned this assumption around and we encourage employees to become active in social media and we equip them with three very important tools: 

1. Social Media Principles: Our updated Social Media Principles apply to internal and external social media platforms as well as privately used social media accounts that have a connection to Telekom. The focus is on 3 aspects: 

  • Attitude without division
  • participation instead of exclusion and 
  • competence instead of quick fix

Both inside and outside the company, we want to ensure respectful and appreciative interaction and a communications culture that reflects this. We value  open and critical contributions, as Tim Höttges makes clear in his editorial "Debate culture: Why Deutsche Telekom has adopted new social media principles" on LinkedIN 2019.

2. LEX sessions: Telekom ambassadors can continue their education in Learning from Experts (LEX) sessions. There is a wide range of courses on offer, from "Twitter for beginners" and "LinkedIN basics" to sessions on copyright law and specialist sessions such as the basics of 5G, broadband and recruiting information. And

3. Mentors: As part of the process of joining the community, all new #TelekomAmbassadors are assigned a mentor. This marks the start of a six-month phase as an "ambassador newcomer," during which they can find out whether being part of the "Telekom Ambassador" community is "the right thing to do. After this phase, mentors then propose newcomers to the core team to become full members of the community.

3. What does a Telekom Ambassador earn?

There is no monetary reward for the ambassadors' work. Our work is self-motivated, voluntary and self-organized. Incentives such as a few more euros in the bank account are not appropriate. Telekom ambassadors often tell us that the community, mutual support and the opportunity to contribute their personal skills to this network of people are the main motivation for being part of it. The most frequent answer from ambassadors to this question is therefore: "Once a month there is a magenta salary, the rest is included.

Internal Networking & Support

4. How can Telekom Ambassadors network nowadays?

It might come up as a surprise, but the Corona period gave the Telekom Ambassador community a tremendous boost. At first, there were many additions from Southern Europe which developed in a very strong way. Then, many new members joined especially from T-Mobile US.

The community thrives on exchange and intensive and growing networking, which is reflected above all on digital platforms. This is achieved primarily through regular Webex meetings, the newsletter, and WebEx Teams Chat (with many specialized channels) on the smartphones of all Telekom Ambassadors. There is a strong presence on external platforms as well, such as LinkedIn, that offers an easy exchange among community members with groups.
In addition to the very effective virtual communication channels, we are again looking forward to physical meetings in the future. In one sentence, the motto can be summarized like this: Strengthen internal networking in order to have an external impact.

5. Why is top management behind the Telekom Ambassador Community?

Many executives and top management representatives are impressed by the commitment and drive of the Telekom Ambassadors. The hashtag #Werkstolz can now often be read in internal and external communications - and has also found its way into Deutsche Telekom's strategy. Although there is no official patronage for the Telekom Ambassador community, we are of course delighted about the positive feedback and postings from board members such as CEO Tim Höttges and Birgit Bohle, who are thus becoming part of the #LoveMagenta movement.

Magenta, Magenta, Magenta

6. What cool Telekom Ambassador swag is out there?

There are two pools among Telekom employees. Some are rather critical of the outwardly displayed pride in the company and ask: As a Telekom ambassador, do you really have to wear so much magenta all the time? Nevertheless, more than 80 percent of Telekom employees are proud of their brand and identify with it.

The color magenta gives Telekom ambassadors the opportunity to celebrate their #Werkstolz sometimes loudly and sometimes very discreetly. Regardless of the strong T logo, the eye-catching  magenta color plays a very special role.
In cooperation with the corporate branding colleagues, special Werkstolz swag was developed for all those who want to wear #LoveMagenta not only in their hearts but also on their chests. In addition to the AMBASSADOR PIN , HER & HIS AMBASSADOR T-SHIRTs were developed. Currently, the collection includes the TELEKOM AMBASSADOR CAP.

If that's not enough Magenta for you, you can find other options in the  T-Mobile Gear Shop of T-Mobile US. And since there are also many creative minds and doers among the ambassadors, there are always DoItYourself projects from which #LoveMagenta gadgets develop.

Provide benefit and constantly transform

7. Why has the Telekom Ambassador Community won so many awards?

The Telekom Ambassador community has an impact externally, but above all internally. In recent years, we have documented our work and our strategy with numerous stories of success. With these success stories, we have applied for - and won - various awards. Here are a few examples:

  • Telekom Team Award 2020 - 2nd place in the category "I am T- count on me": Over 276 teams, project teams and squads from 21 countries competed for the Telekom Team Award, which honored brilliant team achievements by Deutsche Telekom AG in line with the guidelines. 
  • "Team of the Year" 2019 - awarded by the German Association of Communicators - the main prize for outstanding communication.
  • HR Innovation Award 2019 from the QUEB Federal Association for Employer Branding, HR Marketing and Recruiting.
  • Employer Brand Manager of the Year 2017 - award for Pawel Dillinger, presented by the expert jury of DEBA Deutsche Employer Branding Akademie GmbH.

8. How can we ease new members to get started with the Telekom Ambassador community?

How do we make #TelekomBotschafter*innen effective at a very early stage? The answer can be found in two words: onboarding and mentoring. The onboarding process begins with a clear definition of the roles and tasks of ambassadors. This means that it is clear from the outset what prospective members can expect when they join the community. The process is divided into four stages, with some fairly standardized tasks for applicants.

  1. Participation in an onboarding session: Onboarding sessions are offered at regular intervals in German and English to provide information on content and process.
  2. Tasks for candidates: This is a list of activities that should make it easier to get started in the community, such as maintaining one's own profile on the social intranet and on external social media platforms, joining the internal chat and communication channels, successfully finding a mentor, and, above all, introducing oneself on the social intranet. These activities are submitted in checklist form as an "application form".
  3. The onboarding team cross-checks the tasks, followed by entry in the official Telekom Ambassador list as a newcomer.
  4. The 6-month introductory phase as a "newcomer ambassador" starts with the self-introduction in the overall #TelekomBotschafter call, during which the newcomers can prove themselves. With regular activity and a "go" from the mentor, "Ambassador newcomers" are proposed to the Telekom Ambassador core team for acceptance as a permanent member as a "Telekom Ambassador" within this period.

Mentoring: During the six-month introductory phase, new ambassadors are supported by a total of more than 30 mentors, experienced Telekom ambassadors. The basis for #TelekomBotschafter mentoring is constant feedback in personal exchange rounds. On the one hand, mentors point out opportunities, lead working groups, provide reassurance, and try to leverage the potential of the newcomers. On the other hand, newcomers set themselves goals, contribute their own ideas and show initiative in existing activities.

Das #TelekomBotschafter -Mentoring - Quelle: Manuela Wild

Das #TelekomBotschafter -Mentoring - Quelle: Manuela Wild © Manuela Wild

9. Why are the international Telekom Ambassadors developing so strongly?

The Telekom Ambassador Community meets the needs of these days. It forms the "dual operating system" of an organization, consisting of two parallel systems: the hierarchy controlled by management and the accelerator network of volunteers. The international development of #TelekomBotschafter shows very clearly that such an accelerator network can also cross pollinate.
The community offers many people at Telekom around the world an environment where they can meet like-minded people and work together. In addition, the strategic target image fits in very well with the Group's strategy, which aims to make #KundenZuFans, for example.

The first ambassadors from Greece, in particular, got the international Telekom Ambassador Community off the ground. In a short time, enthusiasm for the Telekom Ambassador philosophy spread throughout the subsidiaries. In the meantime, there are also several ambassadors from T-Mobile US. One of the triggers was the "Corona virus pandemic reality" that it is very easy to network virtually around the world.

10. What makes Telekom Ambassadors so valuable to Telekom?

Nothing strengthens people more than the feeling of belonging and being an active part of a community. The Telekom Ambassadors is such a community with a strong, unifying element. Moreover, the Telekom Ambassadors are a genuine grassroots movement, which means that no one "officially" planned the network; it was born because employees joined forces to make a difference. The members of the #Werkstolz community have a high level of authenticity and enormous creative energy. The general rule for social media is: People like to follow people, not institutions, which is why the respective networks of Telekom ambassadors are so valuable.

When employees network in a self-organized and voluntary manner, this can be the strong foundation for a sustainable community. The creativity and energy of such a community is #unstopable, so to speak and #WeWontStop.

What does W.E.R.K.S.T.O.L.Z really mean?

As is often the case, the best contributions come from within the community. Through mutual inspiration, the Telekom employee Nicole Hollmann has very aptly explained in this article as the acronym "WERKSTOLZ" what this community is all about for Telekom Ambassadors:

W = Wertschätzung / Appreciation
E = Erfolge / Success
R = Respekt /Respect
K = Kommunikation / Communication
S = Selbstbewusstsein / Self-Confidence
T = Teamwork / Teamwork
O = Offenheit / Openness
L = Lernen von Experten (LEX) / Learn from Experts (LEX)
Z = Zusammenhalt / Cohesion

Telekom ambassadors have a positive attitude to working life and want to share it. Highly motivated ambassadors create campaigns to show internal and external #LoveMagenta work pride, to inspire customers and colleagues, and to be the personal face of Telekom.

INTERESTED IN AN IMPULSE, LECTURE OR WORKSHOP?Are you interested in using our more than five years of experience in setting up a corporate influencer program for your company? We offer you a modular offer to give inspiring short impulses tailored to your needs, to give a lecture, or to conduct a special workshop together.
Just contact me via E-Mail or write me a direct message on LinkedIN. We are looking forward to your request.

Group picture of TELEKOM AMBASSADORs together with Timotheus Höttges in May 2019


Winfried Ebner

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TELEKOM AMBASSADORS: The Corporate Influencer - initiative introduces itself

Influencers for companies are becoming increasingly important. The TELEKOM AMBASSADORS act as such corporate influencers and are presented with ten questions and answers.