According to Wireman (2004), benchmarking is “an ongoing process of measuring and improving business practices against the companies that can be identified as the best worldwide.” Although many studies focus on benchmarking in the business context, its application out of it, for instance, at home, has continued to gain prominence and recognition. Consequently, benchmarking has evolved to encompass both business and personal aspects of our lives. In a bid to achieve my best both at work and at home, I have often systematically identified the best activities and practices to ensure that I gain a competitive edge.
The business environment is highly competitive. Since the success of any business is dependent on the effectiveness of its employees, employers more often than not pile a lot of pressure on their employees to increase their productivity. This requires employees to give their best performance. The challenge, however, lies in establishing whether employees give their best in reality. As for an employee, the only certain and credible way of assessing performance effectiveness is by setting benchmarks.
Achievement of high performance at work demands that we constantly compare our methods, behaviors, and practices with those of other employees who achieve higher results. This helps to ensure that we discard complex and time-consuming methods and replace them with effective ones. This process may include talking to coworkers and sharing work experiences, consulting supervisors, and networking with other representatives of the same industry. According to Codling (1995), most employees are involved in benchmarking activities subconsciously. Therefore, it cannot be argued that its applicability is not widespread.
The scenario is almost the same at home. Whether it is learning how to use a new kitchen appliance or learning how to prepare a dish, consultation and comparison are essential. We always want to prepare the best dishes, clean all the hidden corners no one else can reach in the house, and to keep utensils sparkling clean. Doing this requires us to observe those considered to be the best at the tasks and to learn new tricks to beat them.
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Benchmarking sets standards for individuals, thereby ensuring that goals are measurable and attainable. It is, therefore, prudent for people to set benchmarks to help track their performance. Learning from the best makes us other people’s “benchmark.”