Benchmarking Cultural Change
Author: Isobel O'Connell
Publication Date: 2003, 2012

This case study provides an opportunity for students/practitioners to review and discuss the development and implementation of a benchmarking employee survey designed and administered in a fictional Canadian crown corporation. The case study gives the reader the opportunity to suggest methods to improve the use of employee surveys and benchmarking such practices. Increasingly, government agencies re-using benchmarking for assessing services against peer organizations to track their progress. It is important that organizations know where they stand relative to both the past and their future goals. To this end, the ultimate purpose of benchmarking within organizations is to help improve service delivery and employee morale.

One of the primary tools that public organizations have adopted in measuring and tracking both performance and organizational culture are surveys. Using the results of these surveys, public organizations can get a picture of how employees view their jobs and how the clients view the services they are providing. However, it is important to note, that the value of such a survey is limited without something to compare the results against. In short, organizations need to benchmark their results against another set of numbers ' expectations, goals, past performance, an industry standard, or the performance of peer (or like) organizations. In addition, there is a need to allow individual programs within organizations to compare their service performance with that of other like-programs and to learn from successful initiatives implemented in other organizations. This approach, known as benchmarking, has been widely used in the private sector, and in the past decade has been adopted by governments in the UK, Europe, USA and to a lesser extent in Australia and Canada. Includes a teaching note.