"If you're happy and you know it ..."

Above: in an attempt to improve staff morale and working conditions, OHIM's new suite of offices seeks to enrich the experience of working in Alicante

The IPKat has received many peculiar communications in his time ... and here's another. The source is said to be, quite simply, "OHIM", the Office for Harmonisation in the Internal Market which is responsible for administering the Community trade mark and Community design systems. This communique reads as follows (with kittenish embellishments in red):
"The results of the OHIM staff opinion survey, carried out by independent consultants Towers Perrin [who seem to be risk management specialists], have now been presented to OHIM's Enlarged Management Committee [the IPKat hopes it's only the Committee that's enlarged, not the managment] and the Staff Committee, and the report is available for consultation by all staff.

The key findings of the survey show that OHIM staff are in general very satisfied with working conditions, training and the work they perform. Negative perceptions emerged with regard to OHIM's image, communication [always a problem with a multilingual organisation + EU red tape] and top management [we all know we can do better than the bosses ...].

The consultants found that there was a strong "Us" and "Them" divide, with positive opinions about colleagues and departments ("Us") and negative impressions about management at all levels ("Them") [the IPKat suspects that "us" is actually positive. In English we call it cameraderie or esprit de corps].

Staff, particularly those who had been with OHIM for a long time, were concerned that change had occurred at too fast a pace [it's SO disconcerting when the refectory menu changes before you've had a chance to try all those options], with insufficient communication or consultation [the longer you work for an organisation without becoming part of the management structure, the more likely you've been passed over and are cultivating sour grapes]. Views among newer staff tended to be more positive [don't worry -- they'll soon grow out of it].

The Management Committee remains committed to the main policies implemented so far, such as the staff and e-Business policies. Thanks to these policies and the active engagement of staff the Office has obtained significant achievements in service levels and customer satisfaction, as demonstrated, year on year, by the results of the annual User Satisfaction Survey [it's more important to please the customers: there are far more of them and they pay for the privilege of using OHIM. Staff are fewer in number and have to be paid ...]. Nevertheless, the Management Committee acknowledges the concerns expressed and the results of the survey will be carefully analysed [that doesn't actually commit the Management Committee to do anything]".
"If you're happy and you know it ..." "If you're happy and you know it ..." Reviewed by Jeremy on Wednesday, June 03, 2009 Rating: 5


  1. I agree - OHIM in Cape Town will do well!

  2. Just one comment: in the results there is no room for the "we all know", the "esprit de corps", etc, as they are considered in comparison with similar organisations of the public and private sectors, where the "we all know", the "esprit de corps", etc, also exist. Well, when comparing the OHIM with these other organizations, the results of the Office are well below the benchmark in 14 out of 15 fields , the only exception being the field "Salary" (which is the only one that does not depend on Wubbo &Co, but on the European Union). In addition to that, in areas like Management, Supportive Culture, Engagement & Internal Communication, we are always between a 30 and a 50% below all the other organisations. So, if it is true that "we all know we can do better than the bosses ", in the OHIM we know it a 45% better than the average of organizations, which is a very significant percentage no matter how you look at it.

    As for the positive view of the new staff, the explanation is obvious if you are inside: the great majority of the new staff comes from the eastern countries, so we can conclude that the working conditions in the OHIM are better than the ones in Bulgaria, Romania and the rest of the countries of the former soviet block. Great job, uh?

  3. While I appreciate it is important to keep customers happy, I would suggest that any organisation that doesn't keep its staff happy has bigger problems. If the staff are on side, managers can get them to provide proper customer service, whereas if they're not, you can't make them do anything.

  4. It is a pity that the report of this study seems to be protected by confidentiality rule. Maybe IPKAT or OHIM users or any courageous citizen could ask access to this document in accordance with regulation 1049 on access to public to EU documents...
    Anyway, with such (bad) results, "monopoly"(C) players would go to jail without passing through the start box. Hopefully, space is now being freed in Guantanamo. Would it be for this King De Boer and his friends to retire?

  5. They (the Management) do not respect anything. I will not respect any confidentiality rule. They always talk about transparency, so let's be transparent. The results will be sent by mail to any IPKat blogger... and more than that, to all Press agencies all over Europe. Just a question of time... so please bloggers, let me your address or even email address, and you will receive the pdf file with all the details of the Good Management of the OHIM... Well, we are talking about very top management... they are really really poor managers and have nothing to do in such Institution.

  6. The only reason I can see for your decaffeinated comments, Jeremy, is that you have been grossly deceived. Am I wrong if I say that the OHIM has sent you its Brave New World opinion on the results of the survey but not the survey itself? I wouldn’t believe you could write those comments after reading the study. As I know you, Jeremy, if you had read the part about “the active engagement of staff” after reading in the survey that the OHIM employees engagement is 30% below the benchmark of the rest of the EU staff, and that only 14% have confidence in the decisions made by the Management Committee (14% don’t answer and an amazing 72% DON’T HAVE ANY CONFIDENCE), you couldn’t have helped to make some kind of comment about this so very peculiar interpretation of the word “engagement”. It’s just stronger than you, admit it.

    But we all know (even the OHIM management) that, as long as the users receive a good service, they couldn’t care less about the well-being of the OHIM employees or, for that matter, about the well-being any other employees. But... what would the users think if they knew, for example, that 83% of the employees think that the OHIM is not encouraging staff to give their best? They would think, Wow, can you imagine the improvements in levels of service we would see if these people were encouraged to give their best? 82% of the staff think that the Office does nothing to retain its best people, and 77% that the Office is not recruiting the right people for its needs. “Wow, can you imagine the kind of service we could get if the Office would recruit the right people and then would retain the best of these best?” And so on. This is what the Management Committee really doesn’t want you to know, dear users: what the Office could be if it was well managed.

    And this is why - as you would know if you had been sent a copy - the first page of the survey is exclusively devoted to warn the staff that the results of the study are restricted to internal use, and to threaten the possible disclosers with the legal consequences of breaking its confidentiality. They don’t want the rest of the world to know how incompetent they are.

  7. Peter Lawrence in the presentation of the results of the Opinion Survey: "Underachievers - and proud of it, Man".

  8. En lo esencial, la Oami es un fracaso de gestión. Cuando todo iba sobre ruedas gracias a la bonanza económica, el Duro de Roer se hizo pasar por un genio de la gestión. Ahora que hay crisis, él no tiene culpa alguna y lo soluciona cepillándose al personal. Ha conseguido un nivel de descontento entre sus empleados jamás visto en las instituciones. Ha trincado el sistema informático hasta tal punto, que incluso recibir una llamada telefónica se ha convertido en una proeza tecnológica (luego le darán un premio de estos baratitos que se dan por la Generalitat o por la gran capital del mundo mundial de la finanzas). Imprimir una hoja sin errores es algo imposible en nuestra oficina. Para solucionarlo, el "holandés" anuncia que suprime el papel por razones ecológicas... Un genio. La verdad, es un pobre gestor, pero un gran comunicador. A pesar de no amar el flamenco, se ha toreado a media Europa; y se ha cargado el futuro de la oficina española de Alicante tachando de una sóla vez todo proyecto de ampliación de la sede (se gastará 20 millones de euros para mover las sillas contratando empresas de Dios sabe donde, en vez de dar trabajo a empresas locales de construcción). El luego dirá que la culpa la tienen las licitaciones. Que listillo.

    La Oami no es más que una institución fantasma. Nada funciona, nadie cree en los objetivos del Management. ¿Cuales son los objetivos por cierto? Mi gran experiencia como manager me inclina a pensar que mejor tener a los De Boer en actividades tan insignificantes como la PI, ya que las consecuencias son menores. Al fin y al cabo, la propiedad industrial no es más que un cúmulo de pequeñas tareas que los ordenadores del gran Guru De Boer podrán hacer solitos. Gracias a Dios y por Dios, que estos malos gestores no se muden a verdaderas actividades económicas! Aunque me temo que estos fulanos ya hayan colonizado las maltrechas instituciones europeas... ¿Para cuando está previsto el cierre de la Oami?


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