15 June 2011
I have always regarded the EPO as a European success story. Starting with just 7 member states, the Organisation now has 38, with a total of 600 million inhabitants. The Office is processing more than 230 000 patent applications a year (the original long-term estimate was 30 000), and the high quality of its work is widely acknowledged. This positive outcome relies mainly on the EPO’s principal asset: its 7 000 staff.
Since taking up office nearly a year ago, I have made constant and constructive dialogue with the staff and their representatives, based on clear orientations and directions, my top priority. I was therefore particularly interested in the results of the recent biennial staff survey.
The first general finding is a significant improvement in staff satisfaction; the percentage of EPO employees who feel valued and respected is now 74% (+13%). Similarly, the numbers replying positively to the various questions about sense of wellbeing, work-life balance and the EPO employment package are up by between 10 and 22 percentage points. There is also a big increase in the number of staff saying they are proud to work at the Office. That I find particularly gratifying, especially considering the high response rate (72%). Overall levels of trust in line managers have improved as well. So too has trust in the President (the percentage of positive answers has increased by 50% compared to 2008, whilst negative ones are down by 50%).
Of course, there is still progress to be made in certain areas, especially conflict resolution, and a survey only gives a snapshot of the situation at a certain time. Clearly, however, the general social climate is improving, and this trend can only encourage us to continue our efforts and projects already under way.
Categories: The EPO