Bonum Certa Men Certa

Willy Tower Watson (WTW) Crafts Another Fake Staff 'Survey' Whose Objective is Reputation Laundering for the European Patent Office (EPO)

posted by Roy Schestowitz on Jul 08, 2024,
updated Jul 08, 2024

Staff survey 2024: fifty shades of green

The Central Staff Committee of the EPO has a new publication dated Friday. It is being disseminated between or among staff (today or earlier) and the corresponding message says: "Dear Colleagues,

"The staff survey 2024 by Willy Tower Watson (WTW) did already not start on the right foot. The mandate and questions were prepared without the involvement of staff representation, resulting in a catalogue of questions which appeared to be biased and which to a great extent could not be used to compare with previous surveys. The throughout positive presentation of the results by WTW omitted most of the alarmingly negative results of some categories. But even the best intent to hide the weak points could not avoid to bring to light the disastrous results in the categories Communication & Management and Reputation. The prospect on other categories is a reason to worry in view of the Office plans."

For transparency's sake the unaltered text is added below as plain text, HTML, and GemText (if you are reading this over Gemini Protocol):

Zentraler Personalausschuss
Central Staff Committee
Le Comité Central du Personnel

Munich, 05.07.2024
sc24039cp

Staff survey 2024: fifty shades of green

The staff survey 2024 by Willy Tower Watson (WTW) did already not start on the right foot. The mandate and questions were prepared without the involvement of staff representation, resulting in a catalogue of questions which appeared to be biased and which to a great extent could not be used to compare with previous surveys. The throughout positive presentation of the results by WTW omitted most of the alarmingly negative results of some categories. But even the best intent to hide the weak points could not avoid to bring to light the disastrous results in the categories Communication & Management and Reputation. The prospect on other categories is a reason to worry in view of the Office plans. Read more in this paper.

In the presentation of WTW, fields showing results which are considered above benchmark are coloured green. Fields where there is an improvement when compared to the 2022 WTW survey are also coloured green. The most improved questions are presented in green (slide 10). Finally, another shade of green highlights the teleworkers subgroup (slide 17) to prove that these results surpass the overall staff average in certain areas: green all over!

In our view, one of the few very positive results is the confirmation of the important role of line managers (slide 12). Which is in stark contrast to the poor result of senior management. One would be tempted to ask whether this is the reason of a significant reduction of line manager posts in DG1 and a high fluctuation throughout the Office for those positions.

Categories which should have been emphasized for their poor results compared to the European norm (slide 13) are:

- Sustainable Engagement - 9, total value 72%
- Communication & Management - 36
- Working Effectiveness & Service Focus -11
- Empowerment -10
- Reputation - 21

Especially for the categories Communication & Management and Reputation the Office will need to react and analyse the underlying reasons to improve the situation until the next survey takes place. Despite a large and ever-growing communication department, and constant efforts to communicate positive narratives to EPO staff, the gap between staff and higher management continues to widen.

Comments provided in the 2022, such as: “I don’t feel honestly informed by management (too much ‘spin’, reframing and message control).”, “Le niveau de propagande émise par la communication institutionnelle est devenu insupportable.”, “The intranet [...] paints a detached picture of the organisation as if it were a product to sell. It [...] lacks authentic or genuine opportunity to identify with an organisation, as opposed to a commercial enterprise.” could have served as an indication of how staff perceive the senior management communication.

The results of the latest survey show that most staff see the reputation of the Office at risk, the focus should be on quality and they are ready to contribute to it. This result is in line with the outcome of the resolution from earlier this year and is also reflected in a CSC publication on “Patent Quality” of February 2023.

The results for the category Sustainable Engagement and Empowerment (slide 27) can unfortunately not be compared with results of previous surveys as questions were added referring to the New Ways of Working (NWoW). There are however a few aspects which are particularly worrying, mainly the statement of “Wellbeing is still a challenge” (slide 3) which, according to WTW shows “Evidence of a change fatigue”. The data and analysis leading to these statements were not shared with staff. These statements, however, should be put into perspective with the office's plans outlined in SP2028, to accelerating change management (goal 1.3) and achieving a 2.1% annual increase in production (KPIs).

Conclusion

The staff survey is perceived rather as a communication exercise than showing a real interest in staff wellbeing. From the little tangible results of the survey, we would hope that the Office focusses on the areas for improvement, i.e. a meaningful communication of their decisions to staff, focus on the core business in view of quality and reputation, whilst respecting the needs of staff for a consolidation phase. To this end, an occupational safety and health risk assessment (OSHRA) should be envisaged as soon as possible alongside a proper involvement of staff representation.

The Central Staff Committee

Over the years the EPO's management wasted money on all sorts of lying firms whose business services basically boil down to "lies with gloss" (e.g. Gartner). One of those firms occupied and employed Sheela Zemlin, the wife of the Linux Foundation's Jim Zemlin, who escaped justice after she had committed securities fraud at Bakkt [1, 2, 3]. These are extremely toxic people who know how to commit crimes and then get away with it. Sociopaths like these destroy society. Benoît Battistelli and António Campinos destroyed the EPO, Europe, and the justice system. They've infected EU institutions too.

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