Our work is changing - a development that has been underway for a long time. In which we at Telekom are testing and living new working methods. And in which we have recently gained extensive and intensive experience in hybrid working. Now it is a matter of successfully shaping these developments, which we call New Work.
New Work causes work
A culture of trust, autonomous working, agility, meaningfulness, freedom - the topic of New Work has an enormous scope. Not only because it is about the design of structures, but above all about attitudes, relationships and leadership qualities. New Work is not a fixed goal, but a path. At each stage, there are new things to discover and challenges to master. The New Normal in which we are settling with the experience of the pandemic, is in this sense also a stage on this journey, albeit an unplanned one.
Corona as accelerator
"After all, we had started a lot of things long before the pandemic. Fortunately. Others we could and had to try out. Corona was the pure accelerator here. And it changed a lot of things," said Birgit Bohle at the recent meeting of senior executives. " I like to talk here about New Work, our approaches to sustainably advancing cooperation at Telekom. ." Oliver Herrmann, Tribe Lead "New Ways of Working," adds that the Corona crisis and its consequences is a practical test for New Work methods: "But we're not going to flip one big switch; it's more likely to be many different ones.
We had already embarked on a major process long before the pandemic: the further development of our culture, our values. This process has made us fit for the tasks facing the company in the coming months and years. For us, having values means living up to our professional responsibilities. As a company that millions of people rely on. For us, having values means: performing: "We won't stop until everyone is connected".
New ways of working only work with a mature corporate culture, says Oliver Herrmann, with values that are lived out. But it also needs structure and orientation so that we all move forward in the same direction.
Open for change
In the summer of 2020, the Board of Management of Deutsche Telekom set out five guard rails for the new way of working. The guard rails are flanked by the New Work Manifesto agreed shortly afterwards with the Group Works Council. Again and again, the aim is to bring together the best of both worlds - the physical and the virtual, the analog and the digital. The New Way of Working is the key to this. Within the guard rails, we are open to change. They point the way but are deliberately not a tightly laced corset. Birgit Bohle: "They offer leeway. The best of both worlds doesn't just happen. We have to actively shape it. In the teams."
Accepted: New Work-Charta
New Work is not a new management method. And it's not about being hip or positioning ourselves as an attractive employer with snappy slogans and colorful pictures. It's about ensuring the company's success in a dynamic environment. According to the New Work Charter of the Nuremberg-based think tank Humanfy, this requires five principles beyond isolated measures and individual methods that must be reflected in everyday corporate life. Freedom, personal responsibility, meaning, development and social responsibility. In a survey conducted by the SRH Berlin University of Applied Sciences, hundreds of company representatives found themselves reflected in this definition.
Chance for growing
Taking employees seriously, increasing their competence, and understanding leadership as a task of offering each individual the best opportunity for growing in order to advance the company - this are the core concepts behind the idea of the new way of working. Human Resources has summed up this approach in its strategy under the heading "Supporting People. Driving Performance" to the point. Telekom's "placeholder" story fits in seamlessly with this, emphasizes Oliver Herrmann.
New Work focuses on performance
And it has nothing whatsoever to do with the "sometimes religious-sounding rhetoric of salvation of the New Work movement," as the scientist Stephan A. Jansen provocatively puts it. But it has just as little to do with monitoring through digital tools or social control by colleagues. It needs a performance consciousness that aims for results. Economist Jan Schnellenbach put it aptly: "Performance orientation does not mean following the rules of the organization, which are outdated, but focusing on what comes out of the work." The question of performance and productivity also drives Tim Höttges when it comes to the future in a new, hybrid working world: "It's already not about presence. Rather, it's about results."
To achieve this, companies must see themselves as a community. Because people need a meaningful social structure in order to perform well. Management thinker Henry Mintzberg recognized this ten years ago. (By the way, offices will play an important role as places of encounter in the future. We will take a closer look at this topic in a later article within this special).
Leaders need to rethink their role
Regardless of their hierarchical position, leaders should see themselves as pioneers of change that others then drive forward. And they must not regard employees as human resources that can be replaced at will. "We need good leadership," says Birgit Bohle. It must be people-oriented and emphatic. That's what's in the "Leading differently" guard rail. She says the crisis has shown that we at Telekom have put people even more at the center of things: "People First". "For me, this is also one of the most important insightsin terms of leadership," says Birgit Bohle. "Our people give it back to us - in commitment and performance."
One thing is certain: We will work differently to a large extent. This development is now continuing rapidly and affects each of us. With its New Work approach Deutsche Telekom can become a forerunner in the future of work - as in many other fields as well.
The T and New Work
More virtual collaboration, hardly any business trips, leading over a distance: our everyday work has changed dramatically since the corona pandemic. Deutsche Telekom is therefore shaping its future working environment.