Brussels, 16 April 2024

Note for the attention of Mr Johannes HAHN,

Commissioner for Budget and Administration

Subject: Follow-up to the results of the 2023 staff survey

The results of the 2023 Staff Survey have been published and the staff representation is analysing them with the utmost attention.

In particular, we would like to thank DG HR for confirming very clearly this time that the satisfaction survey itself is not the final objective, rather that the results should be used to identify and address the problems detected so that action can be taken on the basis of reliable data.

The added value of a Staff Survey does not come from collecting information. It depends entirely on the concrete actions that will be put in place as a result of these results.

Once all the data, including comments on open-ended questions, has been collected and the results analysed, it will indeed be time to take action.

It is essential to demonstrate that staff participation and voice are taken seriously and that the necessary actions will be prioritised in order, above all, to address any issues of concern, while keeping staff informed of the progress made.

To this end, it should be borne in mind that in the past, all too often, only positive results have been duly valued in the Directorates-General, Services and Executive Agencies.

On the contrary, in the event of negative results, staff have witnessed a real denial of reality and truth, malicious attempts at camouflage, bold extrapolations… all  with the obvious aim of avoiding drawing all the consequences of the critical results recorded.

In this respect, it seems important to analyse the answers to question 87. I think effective action has been taken on the results of the previous survey in 2021”very carefully at the level of each DG, Service and Executive Agency  and 88.I think effective action will be taken on the results of this survey”, concerning respectively colleagues’ assessment of the consequences that have been drawn from the results of the 2021 staff survey and of their trust in the seriousness and effectiveness of the steps to be taken following the 2023 staff survey.

1) Full transparency must be ensured by publishing all the results

Moreover, in order to have a reliable and detailed analysis of the situation within each entity within a DG, Service or Executive Agency, enabling targeted interventions, it is necessary first of all to ensure full transparency with regard to the publication of all results, and not just the publication of aggregated results at central level.

Clearly, the need to ensure the protection of personal data of colleagues who responded to the Staff Survey is a requirement that we absolutely share, but it is only relevant for very small entities.

In view of the above, it is essential to also publish :

– detailed results for Departments within Directorates-General, Executive Agencies, Directorates and large Units,

– details of replies by staff category

– answers to open questions

While we have appreciated in the past the decision of some Directors-General to publish this information on a voluntary basis, it is important that this increased transparency is ensured by DG HR, as this is also a key requirement if staff are to support the steps that will be taken.

2) The positive results must be duly valued and the efforts made by the DGs, Services and Executive Agencies that have achieved them must be recognised

One of the objectives of an institution-wide staff survey is also to enable a comparison of the results achieved by the various services. This comparison enables the efforts made to be recognised and valued in the event of positive results, and also to establish best practices in order to take them into account where results have been unsatisfactory.

3) A follow-up must also be carried out at central level in the event of very negative results from staff survey

In the event of particularly negative results, it is neither reasonable nor useful to leave it to the heads of service to manage and decide on the consequences to be drawn from the consultation of staff under their authority. Such an approach inevitably risks depriving the measures put in place of the necessary credibility, making it impossible to overcome the difficulties identified, thereby exacerbating both the problems and the demotivation of colleagues. 

For these reasons, close assistance at central level from DG HR services is clearly necessary in order to ensure effective management of the problems identified and to help the services overcome them by preventing colleagues from continuing to suffer.

4) Such assistance at central level is all the more necessary when the results of the staff survey are particularly worrying, as is the case for EISMEA

It should be borne in mind in this regard that, both by our notes to Commissioner Hahn and at the meeting of 6 November concerning the situation at EISMEA, chaired by DG HR and with the participation of DG RTD as parent DG, staff representation had already drawn attention to the seriousness of the situation and the social climate at EISMEA and to the disarray into which its staff had been plunged for too long.

Given the extremely disastrous results of the EISMEA staff survey, probably the worst ever recorded, and confirming in every respect the analyses and alerts of staff representation, it is clear that it will no longer be possible to confine ourselves to reassuring messages, to celebrating alleged successes, to the painful search for a scapegoat to lay the blame on, to the proposal of a completely trivial and therefore manifestly inadequate action plan…

Indeed, EISMEA is experiencing an unprecedented and worrying wave of dissatisfaction, with an 11-point decrease in staff engagement performance, a 21-point decrease for the Commission as a workplace, a 13-point decrease in well-being and work-life balance, a 15-point decrease in the working environment and a 20 point decrease in Senior Management and above all… we note that EISMEA employees does not feel listened to within their agency, i.e. a decrease of 31 points with 55 % dissatisfaction!

And only 26% of EISMEA staff believe that action will be taken on the basis of the results of this Staff Survey, a decrease of 18 points ! (Question 88. I think effective action will be taken on the results of this survey).

In these circumstances, it would be irresponsible to leave the management of this agency alone to manage the scale of the problems reported by colleagues, without any visible assistance or intervention at central level.

In order to alleviate staff concerns, it is necessary to continue the social dialogue initiated under the aegis of DG HR at the above-mentioned meeting and to visibly reassure EISMEA colleagues that our institution has understood at all levels their cry of alarm and intends to tackle it effectively.

This requires clear and visible political impetus from Ms Ivanova as the Commissioner responsible, enhanced and specialised assistance from DG HR and effective and visible monitoring of each stage of the process by DG RTD as the parent DG.   


It is essential to closely involve staff representation in the analysis of the results of the staff survey and, in particular, in the implementation of the necessary measures at central level in the event of particularly negative results.

In view of the above, we ask that a social dialogue meeting be convened without delay to address all aspects of this file, which is so essential to ensure the well-being of our colleagues and the proper functioning of the services.

C. Sebastiani / R.TrujilloT. WeberN. MavraganisG. Vlandas / H. Conefrey
AllianceGeneration 2004 USFRS- U4U/USHU 


Ms. I. Ivanova, Commissioner in charge of Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth

Mr. D. Müller, Head of cabinet Hahn

Ms. S. Bilkar, Deputy Head of Cabinet Hahn

Mr. M. Schulte, Head of cabinet Ivanova

Ms. S. Alexandrova, Deputy Head of Cabinet Ivanova

Directors-General and Heads of Service

Directors of executive agencies

Mr. C. Roques, Director-General (acting)  DG HR

Commission and Executive Agencies Staff