Deutsche Telekom supports the efforts of aid organizations and public authorities in providing shelter and supplies for refugees, as Deutsche Telekom CEO Tim Höttges underlined during a phone call with German Federal Minister of the Interior, Thomas de Maiziere. In order to provide aid as quickly and with as little red tape as possible, the company has set up an internal task force chaired by Chief Human Resources Officer, Christian P. Illek.
The aid efforts will be focused on the following areas:
- Helping provide refugee shelters with WiFi
- Helping the authorities find suitable buildings
- Assigning employees to help at the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF)
- Supporting employees in their volunteer efforts for refugees
- Setting up a refugee portal containing information for refugees
- Providing intern positions for refugees
"Having WiFi is essential at refugee shelters, because e-mail and messenger services are often the only way for refugees to get in touch with their relatives. For that reason, Deutsche Telekom will be helping aid organizations and public authorities set up an effective infrastructure," said Deutsche Telekom CHRO Christian P. Illek, who is coordinating these efforts for the company.
Based on conversations with the German Federal Ministry of the Interior and the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees, the main focus will be on providing aid at the initial intake shelters. However, Deutsche Telekom will also be supporting an extensive number of other measures at both a regional and local level. Mr. Illek continued, "We are going to help where we can, but we are getting so many requests that we ask people to understand that we can't provide help everywhere all at once." Federal states and municipalities should get in touch with their usual sales contact at Deutsche Telekom's subsidiary T-Systems if they need assistance. With the increasing number of requests, Deutsche Telekom has brought in additional employees to help process the orders.
Deutsche Telekom is also looking into whether the company can provide communities with buildings or property to help house refugees. "Deutsche Telekom has many properties that, with the technological shift, are no longer being used as extensively as before. Not all of them are suitable for housing refugees, but we are more than happy to help wherever we can."
The same goes for assigning Deutsche Telekom civil servants to help at the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees. Mr. Illek adds, "We're pleased to see that the first employees have already said that they would be willing to work short-term for BAMF. Training has already begun and the first employees are already hard at work reviewing requests for asylum."
Deutsche Telekom is also setting up an online platform. The platform will contain comprehensive information on aid offers for refugees as well as enable contact with aid workers and organizations.
What's more, the company has already posted available intern positions on the "workeer.de" platform. "We'll be happy to offer more internship positions if there is enough demand," said Mr. Illek. Deutsche Telekom's own University of Applied Sciences in Leipzig has already said that it would provide grants for refugees.
Many employees are also providing support in addition to the company's activities. "We're impressed by how actively our employees are networking among themselves to share experiences and tips and to get together to help," Mr. Illek said. "I would like to thank our employees who are very active in their volunteer efforts. Upon consultation with their managers, teams can actively volunteer within the context of a Social Day. They can find organizational tips on our internal platform. Employees as well as non-profit initiatives can also post projects there to ask for help or visit the platform to get ideas for where to focus their volunteer efforts."
About Deutsche Telekom
Deutsche Telekom is one of the world's leading integrated telecommunications companies with around 151 million mobile customers, 30 million fixed-network lines and more than 17 million broadband lines (as of December 31, 2014). The Group provides fixed-network, mobile communications, Internet and IPTV products and services for consumers, and ICT solutions for business customers and corporate customers. Deutsche Telekom is present in more than 50 countries and has approximately 228,000 employees worldwide. The Group generated revenues of 62.7 billion euros in the 2014 financial year – more than 60 percent of it outside Germany.