Bench Marking

To Bench Mark or not to Bench Mark?

The desire to bench mark clouds the primary objective of any employee satisfaction survey, which is to discover the satisfaction and perception levels of your employees.  When using “bench marking” to rate your employee satisfaction it is all too easy to arrive at “finger in the air” best practice averages.  These are not true reflections of satisfaction levels, internal issues, and potential internal risks to productivity and external reputation.

Bench marking can only be an adequate assessment standard if the exact same research has been done for a similar organisation to yours, in the same industry, with a comparable number of employees and offices.  In the world of research, this occurrence would still be rare and how can you be sure that the sample is truly representative of your sector.  The survey would need to ask the same questions and have the same focus as the bench mark research.

In order to bench mark against another organisation or service provider you must be certain that you know how and why that organisation is performing, what practices they are employing, and how they are internally structured.  Only with this knowledge on board are you able to confidently bench mark your service levels against that of others.

The most successful employee satisfaction surveys are those which are repeated and used comparatively, setting their own bench mark and changing according to company focus.  Bench marking is valuable only when you are comparing like for like i.e.; regional offices within the same organisation.

A research organisation that is offering bench marking is likely to be doing so by using data that has been gathered on behalf of past clients.  The MRS states that this may be in breach of client confidentiality.  At Mackman Research we conform to the ethical guidelines set by the MRS, in addition we are loyal to all of our clients and do not breach agreements, as such, we are unable to use research from other confidential employee surveys as a bench mark for new client surveys.  In a worst case scenario one organisation may be benefiting from data collected on behalf of a direct competitor and if it is not a competitor, just how relevant is it to be bench marked against them?

Internal “bench marking”

To bench mark your own internal results is an acceptable and reliable method to increase satisfaction, improve staff retention and reduce absence and sickness, improve external and publicised reputation in the market place as a top employer.

Mackman Research, together with the MRS, recommends that a company bench marks against itself. To that end the employee satisfaction survey should be repeated year on year or even six monthly.  This process will enable trend tracking and risk profiling.