Human Resources Benchmarking & Best Practices

According to Merriam-Webster’s dictionary, a benchmark is “a : a point of reference from which measurements may be made b : something that serves as a standard by which others may be measured or judged c : a standardized problem or test that serves as a basis for evaluation or comparison (as of computer system performance).”

More specifically, benchmarking is a systematic process used to identify, understand and adapt practices to improve performance and efficiency.

To aid benchmarking efforts, Human Resources Learning Center has compiled the following list from a variety of sources. Know of a resource that isn’t listed here? Tell us about it.

Benchmarking and Learning from Others

You can find out what other companies are doing by any one of the methods listed below. If you engage in a technical exchange with other companies, be sure to follow the benchmarking code of conduct. The primary sources of information about other companies are:

Benchmarking Reports – Research reports specifically focusing on HR areas are available for purchase. These reports can greatly reduce the learning time for HR managers and new project teams.

Literature review – You can access many articles through periodical searches at the library; recently published books can also provide case studies on other companies. Visit the Best Practices Series, with monthly updates on changes happening in HR departments. An online library with links to free articles is also available at the HR Library.

Technical exchanges with companies that are recognized for their work in your area of interest are a more traditional benchmarking method. Candidate companies can be found by posing the question on an HR mailing list, reviewing Baldrige award winners, or by participating in benchmarking forums like TBE (The Benchmarking Exchange).

new-bubb.gif (275 bytes) IT Benchmarking Study examines working relationships between IT and operations during organizational changes. Read what 205 companies have learned about establishing successful partnerships between IT and others in the organization. Click here for more information.

Participate in current benchmarking studies for best practices in HR and receive a free copy of results. Or, review free online benchmarking results from ASTD, MIT, and the University of Colorado. (See below for current HR benchmarking studies in progress.)

Mailing lists – You can subscribe to a mailing list and ask specific questions; you may not get an immediate answer, but someone can usually point you in the right direction.

Consultants – HR experts who work with many firms are available for hire. They may not be able to provide names of companies, but they can provide “blind” information about what other companies are doing.

Internet sites – You can review the information provided at HR-specific websites.

Associations – you can participate with HR associations and review available literature that they provide members. Links to major HR associations are provided in our Yellow Pages.