Deutsche Telekom has won the HR Excellence Award 2018 with their “Praktikum PLUS Direkteinstieg” (Internship PLUS direct entry) program aimed at integrating refugees into the labor market.
Deutsche Telekom has won the renowned award, which honors outstanding performance in human resources management, in the “Corporate Social Responsibility” category. But there is more to it than meets the eye: The successful project has the potential to become a blueprint model for other companies. In 2016, Deutsche Telekom, together with Deutsche Post, Henkel and the Federal Employment Agency, introduced a joined pilot project. It was aimed at providing refugees for whom starting an apprenticeship was not a viable option with opportunities to gain long-term access to the labor market. In 2018, Deutsche Telekom developed the program further to match their own demand, especially in jobs prone to labor shortages, which in the end won them the HR Excellence Award. During a three to six-month internship phase, the refugees are introduced gradually to their future responsibilities and tasks, and are supported where needed to enable a regular induction to their job positions. The internship is followed by a two-year fixed-term employment. In order to facilitate the introduction phase for “newbies”, team members support them often beyond work-related questions. “This project has been such a success because all of us at Deutsche Telekom are working together and because we have not been discouraged by the potential extra effort required to integrate people in our teams that have never worked in Germany or in our field,” says Barbara Constanzo.
Counteracting skilled labor shortages
“It is not always easy to find suitable staff in customer service and technical positions,” says Barbara Costanzo, who is responsible for the project. In this sense, “Praktikum PLUS Direkteinstieg” is not solely a project focused on integration, but also satisfies real demand in positions that are highly important to us. Obviously we are aiming at raising each participant's desirability on the labor market beyond their two years in this project.” At present, 80 positions have been filled within the program. In 2018, 440 jobs have been filled with people from the target group: including internships, apprenticeships and cooperative study programs. In addition, Deutsche Telekom supports other companies in their efforts to integrate refugees.
Success leads to demand
And the demand continues. “The project has drawn interest from other quarters,” explains Costanzo. “More and more corporate areas want to participate in the project and employ refugees in their teams. We have already filled the first positions for 2019.”
Excellent project partners
Deutsche Telekom also cooperates with other companies in carrying out the program. “This is why we are pleased to announce that our partner CPC Unternehmensmanagement AG has won an HR Excellence Award as well,” says Costanzo. In cooperation with CPC, Deutsche Telekom developed and piloted the certificate “Fit für den deutschen Arbeitsmarkt” (Fit for the German Labor Market). The certificate, now officially recognized by the German technical inspection association (TÜV), provides background information and practical know-how on topics ranging from business dinners to labor law. Of course, the certificate and the corresponding training is open to other companies, too.