What is Benchmarking?
Benchmarking is a practice that attempts to answer one of life's most ubiquitous questions: what does success look like? As individuals, we benchmark every day. We look around at our friends and colleagues and say things like this to ourselves:
- I should be making more money because my coworker is making more money and we are the same age.
- I should own a house by now, because all my friends own houses already.
As individuals, this isn't a very healthy practice. But as a government organization, benchmarking can prove very constructive because there are certain goals that are universally accepted as in the public's best interest. For example, governments want to:
- help individuals, communities and businesses to thrive and prosper
- ensure people are healthy, safe and secure
- educate children with knowledge and skills that will help them contribute and succeed
- be good stewards of limited shared resources
- ensure people with access and functional needs are safe, included and empowered
These are just a few examples of some universally accepted government interests, and it is okay for governments to compare themselves to one another to assess how they are performing, relative to everyone else. This is called External Benchmarking. But comparing one organization to another is not the only way to benchmark. Simply comparing current performance to past performance is a good place to start. This is called Internal Benchmarking.