Yes, with benchmarking. Benchmarking is critical to survey research and is the only objective means to judge whether a survey score is high or low, good or bad. The diagram below illustrates this fact.
Although the mean score of the responses to the two questions, ‘I am satisfied with my compensation’ and ‘My supervisor is a good coach’ 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 as compared to Average or Normal at the 50th.
Likewise, no matter what the survey question, benchmarking data provides stakeholders 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 groupings of survey data, and remains the only way to truly understand the meaning of survey scores.