Every year Opticom conducts over 60 000 telephone interviews with respondents all over the world. In addition to this Opticom staff travels across the world interviewing our clients’ customers, printers, converters, merchants, advertising agencies, paper mills, doctors, patients, purchasers, retailers, and end-users on behalf of our clients.

Opticom’s competitive edge lies in conducting all fieldwork with our in-house native speaking work force. In 2013 over 60 researchers with about 30 different nationalities were engaged in these projects. All researchers are recruited in Sweden and are stationed at our company headquarters in central Stockholm. As a matter of fact, with such an international workforce, operating from one location, Opticom is one of the most international companies in Sweden. Around 75% of salaries paid by Opticom are to employees who are a foreign national – a truly multi-cultural global village.

In order to facilitate such an ongoing international operation Opticom invests considerable resources into recruiting and training well-educated and professional researchers. Safeguarding quality in the interview process is for obvious reasons one of our main concerns at Opticom. The old wisdom that an analysis is never better than the information it is based on, makes recruiting talents extremely important.

Anette Eng, HR Manager and Head of Research Department, is in charge of this momentous task at Opticom. Anette Eng, born in Sweden but raised in Sweden as well as Greece has a multi-cultural heritage herself. Besides growing up in a bicultural family, she spent extensive periods abroad studying in Italy, Spain and France. Her studies in marketing, human resource management as well as languages provide her with the perfect background for managing Opticom’s international staff. In her daily work, Anette Eng makes it her business to create the perfect team of researchers for every project, regardless of project size, type, industryAnette Engsegment and geographical region.

Working with so many nationalities at one single location sounds very interesting but how does your staff feel about that? It is true that it is very interesting and I feel very privileged to be able to meet with, recruit and work with such talented and well-educated people from all over the world. I think that most of those choosing to work at Opticom feel the same way and often choose to continue to work here because they enjoy being in our international environment.

How do the respondents react when someone, speaking their language perfectly, calls them from Sweden?
Respondents often compliment our interviewers on their excellent language skills. When they realise that the interviewer is actually from their own country, a conversation about this naturally evolves. This works as an ice-breaker and often forms a good starting point for the rest of the conversation.

What kind of personalities are you looking for when hiring researchers?
First and foremost it is important that they have a positive attitude and good communication skills. We are very well aware of the importance of our interviewers sounding professional, but they also need to sound glad, since a smile can even be heard over the telephone. Besides these essential skills in communication, we require our interviewers to be very efficient and accurate. Finally, experience and a background in marketing or sales or within one of our specific fields is of course a merit.

Is it not better to subcontract fieldwork to local research companies throughout the world?
In some cases this might be a good alternative, but we find that managing and conducting all parts of the research from one single location is more cost-effective and provides better quality. With one project team for all local markets, Opticom makes sure that no tasks (e.g. project management) are duplicated. This also minimises the risk of performing the tasks in different ways that would negatively affect the consistency and reliability of the study’s results.

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With the aim of improving our communication regarding the value we provide to our clients and to make the web site visit a more interesting experience, we are now launching a new web site.

With this new web site we want to put an even greater emphasis on presenting our client testimonials and to focus the information on the specific industries we operate in. What is more, we would like to create a more intuitive reading experience through this new structure. The new structure of the web site also facilitates adding new content which will make this web site more up-to-date than its predecessor.

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Chalmers

“We at Chalmers, working in conjunction with Gothenburg University and Opticom, have recently implemented a Future Lab in mini format, and I’ve been absolutely delighted with the results – I didn’t think things would go so well,” says project initiator Ulf Carlson, Head of the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering at Chalmers. Continue reading

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Mr Urban Bäckström, Director General of the Confederation of Swedish Enterprise (Svenskt Näringsliv), and chairman of the organisation’s eight- member Tax Commission, presented the commission’s final report on Wednesday, June 24th, 2009.

Need for a clearer and more transparent tax system
The main conclusions of the report are that Swedish taxes have to be cut, mainly on capital and wages for skilled labour. Taxes also have to be better visualised through a simpler and clearer system and transparent information on the total taxation. There through better conditions for business enterprise can be created.

Thorough work behind the report
Members of the Tax Commission, representing various parts of Swedish commercial and industrial life, have been travelling around the country, arranging meetings and listening to around 1000 entrepreneurs from the very north to the very south. The information gathered at these meetings forms a basic foundation in the commission’s work. In hearings with experts in the field the commission has formed an opinion on how future taxation should be designed in order to improve Swedish competitiveness and standard of living.

In addition, around 10 researchers and experts have written penetrating analyses on strategic and current challenges concerning taxation. In one of these reports, the two economists, Professor Ulf Jakobsson and Jan Herin, specifically looked into taxation in a knowledge society and Sweden’s attractiveness as a goal for foreign investment and for highly skilled foreign workforce.

Opticom conducts vast survey among company top executives
One important source of information for this report was a survey where Opticom interviewed 200 respondents in leading positions, mainly CEO’s, in both foreign as well as Swedish owned companies of various sizes and present in various business areas.

One result of the survey is that the Swedish entrepreneurial climate is generally perceived in a positive way even though the overall result is impaired by negative aspects like high individual taxation and restricting Swedish labour laws.

The individual climate in Sweden, including questions on wage levels, taxation, disposable income, career opportunities and general quality of life, was rated less positively than the entrepreneurial climate. 71% of respondents say it is more difficult to recruit skilled co-workers to Sweden compared to other countries and only 4% said that it is easier.

The respondents were also asked about Sweden’s position as a destination country for recruiting skilled co-workers and according to the results the main weakness is by far the taxation. The authors’ conclusion is therefore that if Sweden wants to be able to develop its knowledge driven economy in a globally competitive environment it is necessary to lower the high and progressive income tax.

For more information, please contact: Mats Nygård at mats (at) opticom (dot) se or +46 850309008.

To access the Tax Committee’s full report please click on the following link:
http://www.svensktnaringsliv.se/…/article80819.ece

To access the underlying reports regarding income tax and knowledge society as well as the Swedish business climate please click on the following link:
http://www.svensktnaringsliv.se/…/article74442.ece

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AkzoNobel

It isn’t possible to improve our own operations unless we have properly identified our strengths and weaknesses as seen by the people that we ultimately answer to – our customers. A Customer Satisfaction Study helps to track and understand the overall satisfaction of the customers and our competitive advantages in the marketplace, and reveals as well areas for improvement. Continue reading

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