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Corporate Responsibility

Employee standards at Deutsche Telekom’s Service Center unit DTKS above market

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An analysis of Detecon Consulting GmbH included bilateral interviews with service center agents.

From July to September 2015 Detecon Consulting analyzed on behalf of Deutsche Telekom AG working conditions at Telekom’s Service Center Unit Deutsche Telekom Kunden Service GmbH (DTKS). It is part of DTAG’s commitment as a responsible employer to monitor and review employee standards on a regular basis. Since service center markets nationally and internationally are often criticized to be a labor intense and also low-wage sectors, there has already been performed an on-site visit at the customer service unit of Hrvatski Telekom in Croatia in April 2015. In order to compare results, the decision was made to also have a closer look at the German service center unit. An important part of the Detecon analysis were besides the data provided by DTKS, a market analysis, stakeholder interviews, many bilateral talks with DTKS service center agents.

DTKS is an in-house customer service center unit with a total of 34 locations. To be flexible in handling contract volume and capacity of customers it is necessary to employ a certain percentage of external staff beside the internal workforce. DTKS employs a high female percentage with 58 percent compared to 42 percent of men which is common in this service sector.

The majority of DTKS employees expressed high satisfaction with their employer. Especially topics like management culture, appreciation/recognition, excellent team spirit and the fact that overtime hours are accumulated on a voluntary basis is regarded as very positive. During the interviews some agents pointed out that they would like more flexibility being able to transfer from part to full-time work. However, it is stressed during each recruiting process that such a flexibility cannot be claimed.

Many working standards at DTKS are above industry benchmark. These include i.e. internal training and development options as well allowances of monetary value which DTKS contributes to employees’ retirement schemes. Also the health rate that increased to 93 percent since 2011 exceeds general market level.

With regard to data privacy DTKS has developed their own unique certificate to audit their outsourcing partners in order to protect customer data. This certificate encompasses working conditions as well. Sufficient options for health checks and health care are available and the social dialogue with employee representatives runs in a cooperative and constructive manner.

Activities regarding diversity and inclusion are going well. Awareness in this respect could be increased further among executives. Employees emphasize that co-operation in multicultural teams works very well. The representative body for disabled employees provided positive feedback i.e. that 14 disabled employees at DTKS in the Southern region can permanently work from home. It is suggested that part-time options (i.e. job sharing) in leadership positions should be increased. This could also leverage a higher percentage of women in upper/middle management which is currently at 28.7 percent.

It should also be highlighted, that whenever DTKS works with an external service provider a self-report from the service provider is a prerequisite. 10 percent of this self-report are factors such as working conditions, compliance with social standards and corporate responsibility. Any non compliant answer in this area means that the service provider will not become a supplier.

Discussions with external experts i.e. from the university of Duisburg, the union ver.di, the anti-discrimination agency and the association of working mothers complemented the analysis. The interviews demonstrated that DTKS performs in many respects above market conditions.

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