Benchmarking allows an individual, department or organisation to compare their performance against other, similar entities and against the ‘best in class’. In a learning context, benchmarking provides an important opportunity to reflect on performance, not in its absolute sense, but relative to the performance of others. The benchmarking process includes the following stages:
- Identify those aspects of your work that you want to compare.
- Identify other entities (individuals, departments, organisations) which also carry out these tasks.
- Identify those entities that are the leaders in these areas.
- Compare your performance and practices to the entities you have identified, perhaps through a structured questionnaire or interview.
- Make a special effort to investigate, perhaps to visit, the best-in-class entities in order to identify their leading-edge practices.
- Use this information to implement new and improved business practices.
- at its best when all parties have something to gain from the experience, when carefully structured, repeated periodically;
- best avoided when comparing apples and oranges, when one-sided in terms of the advantage gained, when ad-hoc.