Benchmark Data Are A Complete Waste of Time
Okay, not ALL benchmark data are useless, but they are when it comes to culture and employee engagement. In our recent book on engagement, we have a whole chapter dedicated to gathering the right data, and we make the case for basically ignoring culture and engagement benchmarking data.
And let’s be honest—you know you want to see it. Doesn’t it feel like it would be helpful to know how you compare to other organizations when it comes to your levels of engagement? Well, let’s play it out. Let’s say I just delivered your engagement data, and you scored 10% below the average for your industry. There are only three possible reactions:
- Yeah, that’s where I thought we were.
- Hmmm, I thought we’d be higher than that.
- Hmmm, I thought we’d be lower than that.
You can argue that seeing your low score will now motivate you to take steps to improve engagement, but what if it were 10% above average—would that cause you to stop your engagement efforts so you can let your competitors catch up? I hope not! Seeing your benchmark data will make you feel either good or bad, but that’s about it. It rarely generates any new action. I don’t care for data that make you feel a certain way—I want data that lead to action.
And that is why you can ignore the benchmarking data when it comes to employee engagement and culture. In our book we map out how to collect data that leads to action that will make your organization more successful. The sooner you start gathering the right data, the sooner you will start to beat the competition (regardless of your data compare to theirs!).