In last week’s article, we talked about the limitations of benchmarking within your organization. We talked about how innovation and new ideas are difficult to create in a closed system. This week, we’ll talk about how you can open that system up and increase your benchmarking capabilities by benchmarking against peer colleges or universities. As an in-house custodial organization at a college or university, you are not alone. There are plenty of peers out there among other colleges and universities, and it’s important to start building relationships with them.
How do you do that?
Start by comparing certain metrics – your square footage, space types, and square feet per FTE (full time equivalent.) This will provide a good baseline for how the two organizations stack up against each other. Then move into personnel concerns, like span of control – the amount of supervisors per employee. Finally, take a look at organizational structure and observe how problems are addressed within each. If your peer is excelling where your team is struggling, find out what they’re doing differently and how you can implement some of those practices.
Benchmarking against peer colleges has other, less tangible, benefits too. Over time you’ll develop a network of relationships between peers that can provide helpful counsel and feedback. Having a peer in a similar organization who knows the cleaning industry and speaks its language can be an invaluable resource. It may also provide you the opportunity to develop reciprocal site visits. You can visit their facilities and provide an assessment and they can reciprocate with a similar visit and their own assessment. It’s a win-win situation.
Of course, benchmarking between peer colleges and universities has its own set of limitations. In our next installment we’ll discuss what some of those challenges might be.