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Benchmarking: How do I compare to others?


If you want to know how you compare, then, you need to compare yourself against your peers.


What is benchmarking and why it matters in your workplace?


Benchmarking is a tool that businesses use to compare their performance against businesses considered to be the best in their industry.

The notion of best practices comes to mind here. Continually keeping a pulse on what other organizations are doing often allows a company to refine its practices and thus increase its overall performance. To remain competitive and relevant it is critical an important part of your company's plans must include benchmarking against what other firms are doing.


Performance measures are generally shared and discussed internally but rarely with peers and colleagues except at meetups, clubs, and associations. Yet, having access to real-time insight can be a defining difference not just in terms of change in process or action but in speed to resolution.

Being in front of the 8-ball is a lot more advantageous than finding yourself behind it.

It is not surprising therefore that many organizations struggle with learning how other firms operate their onsite corporate workplace services, especially in this new world of work. Learning ways to know what other firms are doing can leave you frustrated at the lack of intel available at the level you need. To remain competitive and relevant, an important part of your company plans must include benchmarking against what other firms are doing.

As the Vice President of Amenities at Morgan Stanley, I would often be responsible for preparing for and requesting capital funding for large complex renovations. Inevitably, the first question I was asked: How do we compare to others? Why should we approve these funds?

What are others doing in this space? How do we compare? Have you spoken to industry peers? Do they have this problem?


I would return to my desk and call on peers and colleagues in the industry in hopes they had time to answer me and then return for the capital request meeting the next week with a handful of answers to what competitors were doing. If I was lucky, I heard back from three people. I found getting answers quickly and in time for these executive meetings difficult.


Real estate executives manage billions of dollars in their budget and need to ensure all investments are necessary before granting approval. If they learn other firms and competitors are not offering certain services, they may hold off approving a particular request and instead, invest in more critical or pressing areas.

According to Barbara Boden, Managing Partner at 4xi Global Consulting when she was head of Global Amenities at JPMorgan Chase & Co, she and her team would constantly be asked by the Head of Corporate Services for more detailed information on what other financial firms were doing. Barbara’s comments echo a familiar theme of needing to know and needing to know now.

Understanding benchmarking, being in the know with your peers, and having a pulse on what is working in your field make all the difference and save an extraordinary amount of time trying to get that intelligence.

Why Ongoing Benchmark is Important and what should I Benchmark?


In addition to ensuring your firm is investing wisely, there are other reasons to include benchmarking as one of your business practices, primarily because it is an effective way to identify best practices in your industry. Most importantly it is important to benchmark a variety of workplace experience topics as the complete picture tells a deeper story. Ideally, you need to find a way to continually benchmark and not look at your competition once a year. It is in the ongoing and regular intervals that trend pattern analysis comes into view.


Rob Gordon who held the position of Head of Global Amenities at American Express shared how during his tenure, he always had difficulty benchmarking certain topics outside of what his vendor partners could provide. Rob had to search each local area and try to connect with like clients to investigate and ferret out useful information. Needless to say, it took a lot of his time and there was not, at that time, a meaningful tool to help solve this business challenge.


By way of example, here are some areas you may want to consider benchmarking against and how other firms are handling these topics.


Workplace Topics you should aim to benchmark against regularly include:

  • Return to Work Strategies

  • Post-COVID Best Practices

  • Amenity Strategies

  • Foodservice Insights

  • Breakrooms & Pantries

  • Policies & Procedures

  • Investments & Subsidies

  • Sustainability & ESG (Environmental Social and Governance)

  • Health & Wellness

  • Key Performance Indicators

  • Technology

  • Innovation

The advantages of benchmarking include:

  • Keeping a firm grip on what others are doing in the workplace.

  • Remaining current on peer organizations practices

  • Connecting to industry professionals outside your immediate network

  • Understanding the current trends

  • Learning industry insights

  • Having a continual pulse on how your firm compares to others.

  • Identifying gaps in your service offering.

  • Improving your guest experience.

  • Helping to create a roadmap for future planning.

In closing, the world of work has completely changed. Magnetizing the workplace is a strategy being emphasized across many organizations to do everything they can to offer their employees an exceptional workplace experience, to encourage their employees to want to return to work vs having to return to work.


Making sure you have a pulse of what your industry peers are doing is a critical component of your return-to-workplace strategy.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Ann McNally led global amenities at Bristol Myers Squibb and Morgan Stanley before leading growth with service giant Sodexo. Ann was one of the founding consultants at 4xi Global Consulting and is the practice lead for Criterion Benchmarking delivering data and insights for amenities services leaders.


For more information on CRITERION Benchmarking, you can email Ann McNally directly at annmcnally@4xiconsulting.com

 

If you are having difficulty learning how your organization compares to other organizations' workplace and soft services experience offer overall listen to our podcast.


@Barbara Boden, former global amenities lead at JPMorgan Chase & Co, and @Ann McNally Americas amenities lead at Bristol Myers Squibb, and Morgan Stanley talk about their perspectives on the importance of peer-to-peer learning, benchmarking, and insights.



 

CRITERION Benchmarking is an exclusive online membership for workplace experience leaders - with access to peer-to-peer insights on various site services. CRITERION provides real-time answers to the often asked question – how do we compare to others? CRITERION gives you access to insights both inside and outside your network and eliminates the time and effort devoted to gathering answers through limited calls and emails. CRITERION Members agree to participate in the monthly anonymous survey covering relevant workplace topics. Our reporting methodology ensures confidentiality while providing an in-depth actionable report in aggregated format.

CRITERION also offers a combination of public and private polls only accessible to members in our password protected membership area.


Learn more about CRITERION Benchmarking and how it can help you with data and insights through peer-to-peer learning.



 

4xi Global Consulting & Solutions is a team of talented leaders from both the client-side and service provider side, creating an impact on the Human Experience (HX) for people at work, in education, rest, and at leisure.


We believe in a people-first, experience-led philosophy; whether client, employee, or guest – their experience is the fundamental foundation of success.

We work with corporations, service providers, and innovators:

  • Strategic Advisory & Special Projects (SPx)

  • Headquarters Fractional Support On-Demand

  • Evolving Experiences© - Employee (EX) & Customer Experience (CX)

  • Design4Life©: Environmental, Physical, and Experiential Design

  • Global Amenities Strategy, Design & Operations

  • TRUE NORTH©: Strategic Partnership & Growth

  • Explorers Innovation Directory: Gateway to Innovation

  • Sustainability Simplified©: Supply Chain & Innovation

  • Market Research Reports & Benchmarking

 

4xi is proud to be Chair of WORKTECH Academy for North America and a member of its Leadership Advisory Board. 4xi is a Global Ambassador for WORKTECH Academy.

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