However, this is not a practice that should be taken lightly. In order to properly apply it in your organization, you need to know the ropes of it to make your company develop to its full potential.
What is benchmarking?
In a few words, it consists in assessing the quality of organizational policies, programs, strategies etc., and compare them with similar ones of a company’s competitors. The main goal of this practice is to understand where improvements should be made by analyzing how other organizations (or different departments within the company) achieve high-efficiency levels. That way it’ll be possible to use the collected information to improve performance
Take into account that design thinking is inevitably connected to the concept of benchmarking since both of them are non-linear processes. They need to have specific steps to be successful and achieve your final goal which, in this case, is to make your company more competitive.
Start with data
If you haven’t implemented an analysis of your company’s Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats (SWOT), it’s the right place to start. What are you great at? What are your biggest flaws? What can you improve? A SWOT analysis will show you the big picture that will make your life easier when trying to understand what’s happening inside your business and each one of its departments.
Make sure you pay extra attention to your HR dashboards if you have them in your company; they can be helpful to keep track of the crucial data about your company’s performance.
Take a recon mission
You may think direct competition is the best reference to create your strategy, but following the example of successful entrepreneurs from other fields can bring to the table ideas that you can adapt to your own scenario.
Due diligence is key at this point. If you have the chance, get intel from your competition, research online and take a closer look to their strategies and marketing plans. Take note of your findings: flawed moves and successful gimmicks. This recognition plan is not only about mimicking the best practices, but also about inspiration – look at what others are lacking and become better at it.
There is no “I” in “team”
Your workforce is the soul of your company, so you should keep them informed on the process the organization is going through. If they must achieve new goals or if the organization chart has to be changed, they should be the first to know. At the end of the day, they’re the most affected by any decision made within the corporation.
Feedback is the way to success
Self-criticism is fundamental in benchmarking. Once you’ve implemented all the changes you believed were suitable for your company, make sure you evaluate the result. As you know, feedback is one of the most important elements in an organization. You need to listen to your team before imposing new strategies and rules. Take your time to spot what you’ve done right and where your plan didn’t go so well – practice makes perfect.
There are no fool-proof practices
Benchmarking takes time and money. Be sure to invest right and not rush your way into it. If you have limited resources, take baby steps to the top, it’ll be worth it.
Remember that change is sometimes disruptive and not everybody is open to it. Therefore, it’s important to maintain a good communication with your employees as it’ll allow you to explain your new ideas to achieve success. Which leads to a crucial factor: mentoring. Let all your hard work pay off by investing enough time and money in follow up training.
Benchmarking is one of the most common practices in business. It allows you to learn new ideas and successful strategies from industry leaders, competitors and even from other departments in your own organization. Just keep in mind that not everything works for everyone and you have to test different approaches in order to determine what works best for you. Be creative, sky is the limit!
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