Normative Data for Employee Surveys – Worth the Spend?

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As a child, whenever I would screw up, my mother always said, “Why can’t you be more like Billy?”  Billy was a straight-A student who excelled in every sport with which he was involved – an all-around “wunderkind” who could do no wrong.  Needless to say, I didn’t like being compared to Billy all that much.

Those of you who have had experience with employee surveys – satisfaction or engagement – may be familiar with the concept of “benchmarking.”  Benchmarking involves comparing a company’s survey scores – on a range of topics such as communication, supervision, engagement, and efficiency – with scores from a group of companies on comparable survey questions.  Most commonly utilized benchmarks are scores from companies that fall into the same or similar industry sector, or scores from companies deemed “high performers.”  This idea of gauging our company’s performance in reference to other companies can be tremendously appealing – it’s simple, intuitive, and sexy.

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