Benchmarking is often a great way to compare how you are doing against your competition. Fall behind the industry standard and you’ve got work to do; exceed the standard, and you can rest—or can you?
When I spoke recently to an executive of a long-term care facility about the turnover of his nursing staff, he proudly informed me that his turnover rate was a mere 30%–better than the industry average of 35% to 60%. Yet, while he may be performing better than his competition, he was still losing 3 out of 10 employees each year, creating havoc for his scheduler, suffering the increased cost of overtime to compensate for the loss of staff, and worst of all, straining to provide quality service to his residents.
Yes, he was doing better than then the industry standard and knowing this, he became satisfied and complacent. On the other hand, what if his turnover rate was 25% or even 20%? Wouldn’t that make a significant difference for the organization? Think about the improved service; the savings in overtime and recruitment costs of replacements; the reduced pressure on managers who were no longer operating short staffed; and the peace of mind of his residents who could depend on receiving care from the same person every day.
If you want to benchmark, benchmark against yourself. You can establish baseline metrics to measure and control all variables, guaranteeing yourself a true measurement. Then with regular monitoring, you can accurately measure your progress as you take the necessary steps to improve your position. Your focus is on improving your performance, keeping your eye on your operation and not on someone else.
It may be nice to beat the industry standard. But if you’re doing slightly better than those who are not doing well, how can that make you feel good? And frankly, it is a lousy way to do business. Benchmark against yourself, focus on improving your previous benchmark, and then watch how the performance within your organization quickly improves.