People are constantly comparing themselves with others on the basis of a myriad of factors such as appearance, social status, accomplishments, character traits, and the list goes on. These comparisons probably have their roots in the biological need to establish a “pecking order,” remain “safe within the herd,” and other innate survival-related dynamics. At the very least, people strive to “keep up with the Joneses.” No matter what the origin is, it is what people do. They compare.
The formalized process of drawing comparisons between individuals or entities to identify strengths and opportunities for improvement is known as “benchmarking.” Benchmarking, which taps into this very instinctive need to compare, is an important tool employed in the management of organizations. The purpose of this white paper is to examine benchmarking in behavioral health and human services settings in order to provide the reader with a sound understanding of the rationale, methods, and impact associated with this powerful management tool.