Benchmarking is quite simply the only means by which one is able to judge whether a score is high or low, good or bad. The diagram to the right illustrates this fact.
Although the mean score of the responses to the two questions, ‘I am satisfied with my compensation’ and ‘My supervisor keeps me informed’ are identical at 3.99, when compared with scores from other people, it is clear that one is a high score, and one is a low score.
Whatever the issue being investigated, the way in which people ‘normally’ respond is always represented by the mean score at the 50th percentile. This is true of survey research, and this is true in all scientific research. For instance, the mean or average score of female heights in the U.S. is 5’5” tall. From the benchmark of Average at 5’5” at the 50th percentile, we can then determine if someone is tall or short, and to what degree, as we determine the percentile to which their height corresponds, such as the 90th or the 20th percentile. So whether someone is at the 78th percentile, or the 33rd percentile, you know if their score is high or low, and to what degree.
Likewise, no matter what the survey question, benchmarking data provides users with hard, objective scores that are not subject to interpretation. Benchmarking scores provide Management with definitive information about differences between departments, demographics, organizations, industries, or any other grouping of survey data, and remains the only way to truly understand the meaning of survey scores. The National Business Research Institute (NBRI) houses the largest and highest quality Employee, Customer, Guest, Patient, and Physician Benchmarking Databases in the world!