Why benchmarking can be dangerous for your business
You often hear about the benefits of benchmarking, but there is should also be a word of caution as to why benchmarking can be dangerous…
“At least we’re lucky that we have it better than them.”
I’ve heard that phrase a few times over the past few months.
Recently, it’s been used to justify why people should be thankful for the workplace they’re in because one of their competitors or peers has it worse off, either from a cultural, performance or benefits perspective.
The problem with benchmarking, however, is that it can hold you back from doing better.
There is a high chance that when you know you’re ahead or better off, it’s easier to justify why you shouldn’t push as hard to change and improve things because its either (1) too hard in the face of all of the ongoing resistance you’re experiencing and/or (2) you can afford to ease your foot off the pedal a little bit.
Why that’s so wrong
From a cultural standpoint, it can be very dangerous as a manager not to change things just because you have it better than other companies.
While you are lucky that your company is better off, why should that mean that you can, therefore, leave your current culture (which could be trending the wrong way) to fall by the wayside?
Should you use that rationale in your team meeting and tell them they’re all lucky?
How will you rationalise it to yourself when employees start to leave?
Now, while we should always be thankful for what we have (especially when there are many living in far harder conditions throughout the world) it’s important to know the difference.
Because the issue here is that if you are actually unhappy where you work because of the culture, then that is a very real concern and something you shouldn’t ignore.
For example, let me ask you this. If you were desperately unhappy with your current workplace culture but were handed a report that showed that your workplace is regarded as one of the better ones in the industry, does that suddenly make you feel happy?
The moment we stop challenging ourselves to change a situation like this because it’s too hard is the moment we lose sight of what’s actually important.
Where the fear of reprisal for raising something or pushing for change stops us from doing just that; where our aspirations to seek out something better are overshadowed by the grip of the paycheck we so enjoy every month.
“They’re definitely the benchmark.” Are they? Or is the real benchmark far beyond that and something you have the power to change through your own work?
A benchmark is a loose guide.
While it can help you improve it’s still just a starting point. If you don’t break through that benchmark then it’s just a ceiling you’ll always have over your head.
And who wants a ceiling over their head for the rest of their career?
Recommended further reading: 10 Expert tips on managing change in the contact centre
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