Brussels, 12 April 2019


Note for the attention of Mr Günther OETTINGER

Commissioner in charge of Budget and Human Resources


Subject:    Dissemination of the results from the Staff Survey 2018

Ref.:           Our communication to the staff of 1 April 2019


The “Clearance sale on demand” organized for the publication of the results from the Staff Survey 2018

In our abovementioned communication, we denounced the senseless communication of the results from the Staff Survey 2018.

Indeed, the staff and their representatives are stunned by this absolute mockery of a beauty contest organized in order to “sell” the positive results while showing the greatest “discretion” regarding criticism.

Some of these actions, so laughable, have pushed us to organize the first edition of the European Awards: “Everything is just fine, don’t worry, be happy!”

This award has already met with great success among colleagues who continue to report us the achievements of their Directorate-General, Service or Executive Agency.

Nevertheless, following the dissemination of our information, it is with satisfaction that we have noted that several Directorates-General have confirmed their decision to follow the good examples and will soon be distributing the complete results, not only by DG but also by Directorate. However, others let us know that they are waiting for clear ins­truc­tions from DG HR on the subject.

Commissioner, put an end to these painful gestures!

Many colleagues have expressed their surprise that you are ready to give your imprimatur through a video posted on the intranet without providing the full results at the level of the institution and without guaranteeing that they would be provided at the level of the Directorates-General, thus failing to ensure that the minimum con­ditions were met for this communication.

You do not have to be a specialist in this field to understand that for a quality survey to be useful, it is not enough to engage in empty slogans but that a number of conditions must be fulfilled.

To start with:

· The wording of the questions so as not to influence or suggest the answers;

· Full publication of the detailed results at the level of each unit and not a single overall average that does not give a true picture;

· The comparison of the results with those obtained in the previous years;

· The effective and targeted follow up on the specific problems observed.

In these conditions, we ask you to put the management of this important issue in a credible and clear framework.

R&D repeats its demands

Faced with a misunderstanding by DG HR, probably unintentional, about the scope of our requests, which are nevertheless obvious, we, faithful to the spirit of loyal collabora­tion, allow ourselves to specify them below:

1)     Request for communication of a REPORT with the COMPLETE RESULTS at the level of the institution

We ask you to give clear instructions to DG HR to provide the staff and their representatives with the full report with ALL the results for ALL questions including comparisons with the 2016 Staff Survey report.

It is to be noted, however, that the comparisons become more and more difficult as DG HR attempts to change, even on a small scale, the questions from one Staff Survey to the next, explaining later that the results cannot be compared.

2)     Request for communication of the COMPLETE RESULTS by Directorates-General and by Directorates, including the comments

You will agree with us that it is simply laughable that every Directorate-General is doing its “petty shopping” to choose the best results to show off by surfing the wave…

Therefore, we ask you to give instructions to DG HR to make available to the staff and its representatives the complete report containing ALL the results for ALL the questions at both the Directorate-General and EACH Directorate level, including the comments, and in a standardized format.

Everyone understands that the mere dissemination of “average” results at the Directorate-General level does not allow to have a faithful vision, does not give re­cognition to the good managers and the good functioning of certain services and sometimes masks very serious problems that our institution has the obligation to deal with.

After DG DEVCO, well done also to JRC, EASME1 and DG RTD for disseminating the results also by Directorate

DG DEVCO report (link); JRC report (link); EASME report (link); DG RTD Report (link)

The results by Directorate are sometimes very worrying and it is up to the Director General concerned to analyse them in order to respond effectively to the re­quest for help from colleagues who have so clearly expressed their deep discomfort.

A request for help, which very often transpires not just from the answers given during the Staff Survey exercise but also from the comments, which must also be published and duly taken into account.

Some of these comments mentioning “lack of respect”, “abuse of power“, “intimidation”, “untenable situation within my Directorate”, ” threatening contract agents to end their contract” , “Director’s leadership is catastrophic, which disastrous consequences on workload, work distribution, and mental health, throughout the Direc­torate.“,  “My negative feedback is related to the Director my unit is affected to. This person is systematically harassing all those who dare to challenge the Director decisions and plays games to put people one against the others. It not only disrespectful of staff in the directorate but has a personal agenda which is affecting and damaging the image of the Directorate General and therefore the relationships towards internal and external stakeholders. Despite cases already put forward by the staff and the incredible turnover in the directorate, no action was taken so far to sanction and remove this person from the position.”… are so serious that they cannot remain unanswered.

It is not a question of embarking on a witch-hunt solely on this basis. Indeed, experts agree that such alarm signals cannot be ignored and experience shows that very often the negative results concerning a service and the critical comments are preceded and accompanied by a high rate of mobility, absenteeism, com­plaints to the administration, staff representation…


In view of the foregoing, we ask you to finally coordinate the publication of the Staff Survey results, i.e. the complete results at the institution level in a standardized format identical for the Directorates General and Services, as well as the results by Directorates including comments.

This is vital for the credibility of this exercise, or for what is left of it.

We would like to avoid having to rely on Regulation 1049/2001 to access these documents.


Cristiano Sebastiani,




Ms. C. Martinez Alberola, Head of the President’s Cabinet

Mr M. Selmayr, Secretary General

Directors-General and Heads of Service

Directors of Executive Agencies

Messrs. C. Roques, N. Jardine, L. Duluc, DG HR



1 EASME adopted the most detailed format for presenting the results