At the Telekom Austria Group development means being open to new ideas and thinking in new dimensions. This includes actively breaking from the old routine. Some of the employees involved report on how they have gone about achieving this.
Joining the Telekom Austria Group as a graduate
Sonja Schneeberger participated in and completed the A1 Graduate Programme. Currently, she works in the Residential Mobile team. She believes that teamwork among the graduates is particularly important: ‘As well as a fully-fledged job, the A1 Graduate Programme offers workshops and training to challenge participants professionally and help them to develop individually. Joint projects bring us together as a team — this encourages mutual exchange and the establishment of professional networks.’
HR strategy: One focal point of training at the Telekom Austria Group is supporting young talents right from the start of their professional life. A twelve-month Graduate Programme is available to university graduates, who are selected as part of the ‘Top Talent Competition’ and work on current tasks and projects in a given department. The Telekom Austria Group makes use of a combination of different learning tools: Face-to-face trainings and webinars in succession of which participants can transfer knowledge via a blended learning platform. This takes place on the basis of peer learning where the graduates can learn from each other, as well as mentoring, where the graduates can exchange ideas with more experienced colleagues in the company.
Mentoring, but different: Young employees pass on their knowledge to experienced managers. Their experience opens up new perspectives — and the company feels the benefit, actively breaking down hierarchical boundaries and creating an environment in which valuable impetus is generated for new ideas.
A good example is provided by Natascha Kantauer-Gansch, Head of Customer Service, and Stephan Wagner, Accounting. Stephan Wagner: ‘At A1, we have a unique and vast resource at our disposal — our experiences. This means we can learn a lot from each other. Reverse mentoring means breaking up hierarchical routines and talking to each other on an equal footing.’ Natascha Kantauer-Gansch: ‘Stephan brings a fresh perspective with him, allowing me to appreciate different views and select new approaches.’
HR strategy: In reverse mentoring younger employees pass on their knowledge to mentees who are considerably more advanced in terms of their career status and professional experience. Their younger counterparts offer new perspectives and different approaches. They also form part of a generation that will have a significant influence on the company in future as customers. As such, their experience opens up important viewpoints for the company. Reverse mentoring actively breaks down routines and hierarchies, creating an environment that encourages a better mutual understanding, and where valuable impetus is provided for new ideas.
Juliana Posch was in charge of the Customer Relationship Management team at Vip operator in the Republic of Macedonia for ten months. Commenting on her experience, Posch says: ‘Vip operator is a relatively young and small company within the Telekom Austria Group that offers a great deal of creative freedom. That was precisely what appealed to me. The challenge is to identify the key factors that require adjustment for the local market.’ Different values, patterns of decision-making and manners — as an expat, these are all things you have to get right. Since May 2013 Posch has headed a group at A1 that is responsible for the sales side of product launches. The experience she gained as an expat is extremely valuable in her current work environment.
HR strategy: The Telekom Austria Group values the principle of employee mobility. International exchange within the Group, e. g. in the form of expatriation, is a central element of career development. This promotes the principles of exchange and learning from each other within the Group and facilitates the Group-wide implementation of best practices. The target group for expatriation is employees who demonstrate good performance, are willing to change location and who wish to gather experience at other Group subsidiaries as part of their career development plan.
Andreas Lebesmühlbacher, Residential & Small Business Sales: ‘eLearning has become an important and indispensable element of my professional life. I use it in different ways, from web-based training sessions at my computer and learning apps on my smartphone and tablet to online forums and chats. I can use eLearning whenever and wherever I want. And I appreciate the flexibility that comes with being able to organise my learning content myself, adjust the learning process to reflect my needs and review my success individually.’
HR strategy: The Telekom Austria Group offers various formats for employees to expand their knowledge: Traditional eLearning, videos, articles, podcasts and open online courses all support the process of personal and professional development. The benefit for employees: The freedom to choose when and where to learn.
Business School impact
Phat Huynh is Managing Director & Head of Marketing at Telekom Austria Group M2M. Phat Huynh says: ‘Breaking the old routine is one of the most important factors in our success. Achieving this requires a suitable environment. This is what we have established at M2M. And this corporate culture is a major driver for creativity and new ideas. This includes accepting that mistakes happen and not allowing fear to stop you from moving. We operate like a start-up within our Group. This ties in with the approach and spirit of our employees and managers in particular.’
HR strategy: Telekom Austria Group employees also benefit from the programme initiated by the Group-wide Business School with the aim of creating an inspirational and motivational learning culture. The Business School Impact Event is held twice a year. It brings internal and external experts together and encourages both exchange and learning from well-known international personalities. The latest trends are discussed and new ideas are developed. Innovation workshops and cross-industry events also serve to ensure exchange with other companies.
Two women who both work part-time, and one job that they share: Barbara Zumpfe-Göttinger and Birgitt Kleinschek are jointly in charge of the Internal Communications department. ‘The opportunity to assume joint responsibility for this top job was something that appealed to us. We share traditional management tasks, such as target agreements, and divide up the content-related topics between us. Our strong networking ensures smooth cooperation.’
HR strategy: Enabling employees to achieve a healthy work-life balance is extremely important to the Telekom Austria Group. For example, employees have the option of flexible working hours and can also telecommute in consultation with their managers. The Group believes that a family-friendly HR policy is a clear competitive advantage, as qualified employees are more likely to favour a company that seeks to meet their needs. The culture of a company is shaped by the commitment and enthusiasm of its employees. They are the best brand ambassadors for the Telekom Austria Group.
New Manager Programme
Doris Schönhart has been in charge of the Commercial & Data Protection Law department in the Legal division since summer 2013. Commenting on the New Manager Programme, she says: ‘The direct exchange with colleagues within this programme allows us to obtain a clearer view of the minor and major challenges facing us in our day-to-day management work. I have made extensive use of this opportunity and have the impression that it has allowed me to further my development as a manager.’
HR strategy: The Telekom Austria Group supports managers who have taken up a new management role with the eight-month New Manager Programme. Learning management expertise takes time. The programme provides them with the skills they need to master their day-to-day management tasks. The learning architecture of the New Manager Programme (NMP) offers various methods and learning options, as well as helping to shape personal development. Management principles are communicated in an experience-oriented manner at external seminars. Internal experts pass on their expertise, while reflection in learning groups, work on practical tasks and mutual peer group support within the Group provide a good set of tools for the challenges facing new managers.
Internal mobility campaign
Alexander Hartmann, Business Sales A1: ‘Because I wanted to further my development, I moved from Key Account Management to one of our Expert Sales teams a few months ago. This gave me the opportunity to progress and obtain technical expertise. I feel that every team is enriched by new personalities.’
HR strategy: When employees move to another area of the Group, they are supported by mobility coaches. Having the right person in the right position is beneficial for all concerned: Employees contribute their expertise to the new area and provide impetus to their new team, while the company retains its knowledge carriers and enthusiastic employees. The aim is to employ talent and experience as optimally as possible. The Telekom Austria Group offers its employees the opportunity to take a new career path and supports cross-divisional moves with dedicated training measures. This requires employees to have the courage to make a change, and managers to have the mobility to support the desire for further development.