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Sandra Döring

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digital@work – our internal digitization initiative

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digital@work Toolbox

From a toolbox consisting of 25 different tools, Deutsche Telekom employees can select their favorite tools to support their digital everyday work. © digital@work

The Corona crisis has triggered a period of stark change and uncertainty the world over, and Deutsche Telekom is no exception. In a corporate context, accelerated digitization of the working world has become of central importance. For many employees, this is associated with three major challenges:

  1. How can I easily and digitally collaborate with my colleagues?
  2. How can I get experienced in using digital tools?
  3. How can I share ideas and knowledge and build on the knowledge of my colleagues?

Companies have to react quickly to the rapidly shifting landscape – empowering employees with new ways of working, keeping them up-to-date and informed of ongoing changes, and accompanying them with heightened support. In the current situation, the pulse of cultural change has become faster to keep pace with the almost hectic acceleration of digital transformation. To ensure ongoing balance, Deutsche Telekom’s internal digital@work program supports managers and employees in confidently facing the challenges of digital collaboration.

The rationale behind digital@work

The digital@work program emerged from a community in 2014 and was launched alongside the intranet YAM (You and Me). Since then digital@work has been expanding steadily, always in pursuit of one central goal: SIMPLY.WORK.TOGETHER. To help people in the company to work together more easily and enable them to work flexibly in terms of time and location independence.

Internally controlled, cross-functional collaboration

The importance of close relationships across departments is also reflected in the governance of the digital@work program. HR and IT work hand in hand with colleagues at an international level in a joint management team

A toolbox for the digital daily business

Since 2014 digital@work has enabled an annual average of 12,000 employees to be part of the digital working culture. From a toolbox consisting of 25 different tools, Deutsche Telekom employees can select their favorite tools to support their digital everyday work. E-learning initiatives such as training courses, "Learning From Experts" sessions, detailed guides, how-tos and consultation hours help employees to become familiar with the tools. Adapted to the current situation, a Home Office Guide serves as an SOS emergency kit for small and large crises when working from home. In addition, Digital Champions in the digital@work program act as ambassadors and give honest feedback on their experiences with the digital tools - from moments of success to frustration. This addresses the first two pillars of the digital@work program: informing employees about digital tools and enabling them to use these tools with the help of learning opportunities.

Learning together from each other 

However, digital@work is not just a learning program in which employees play a passive role. The program only comes to life through its third main pillar: the community is participating and becoming a co-creator of digital transformation. This pillar takes shape through an active network around the topic of digital collaboration, where employees exchange ideas, support each other and in doing so establish digital@work as a Living Culture.

These three fundamental pillars – tools, learning opportunities and community – address the three central challenges for employees in times of digital change presented at the beginning.

What comes next?

Due to the acceleration of cultural change triggered by the Covid-19 period’s demands for rapid digital transformation, the digital@work program has also expanded explosively. While only basic training was planned at the beginning, employees’ digital expertise has now developed so quickly that digital@work can increasingly address more complex tools and topics. 

In the future this acceleration will be reinforced by streamlining and shortening approval processes for tools. In addition, team members using digital@work have developed into real experts who can actively answer questions about digitization topics. This consulting function will be further expanded in the future.

Another key focus will be to strengthen the third pillar, the social aspect of digital@work, by integrating a new social networking tool. In times of social distancing, emotional closeness between colleagues is more important than ever before. 

The entire digital@work team, which passionately develops the program every day, looks proudly at the 14 percent increase in employee satisfaction during the last two years. Overall 82 percent of employees are very satisfied – proof that digital@work has already managed to use the crisis as an opportunity to grow an even more satisfied, more digital and more collaborative company culture.

The internal digital@work program is therefore playing a crucial role in accelerating cultural change and ensuring that Deutsche Telekom doesn’t simply stay afloat during these troubled times, but rather emerges as a more thriving organization into the New Normal. Far more than a practical toolbox, it’s as a deep-rooted embodiment of values and safeguard for the future.

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