Using Benchmarks to See Around the Corners

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It's not easy to plan and make confident business decisions about the future these days. Start by understanding your company's metrics and use data as a yardstick to see how your company compares to their peers.

Things can change fast and have. Organizations are looking hard at the way they've always done things and reimagining what they want to look like moving forward. With so many pieces in motion, a clear picture is essential.

This means thinking ahead while things are still changing, and everyone is adjusting to what just happened. It's not an easy environment in which to plan and make confident business decisions.

A great place to start is with data and benchmarks.

What you want to know is:

  • Where you are
  • How that compares to others in your industry, region, and the places you do business
  • Where you want to be, and what that looks like

But there are new tools that can help, including emerging data tools that can translate jobs and functional skills across companies — even when the titles and organizational taxonomy are different.

"This is a game changer because now we can see how organizations compare in structure, headcount, distribution of people and skills by role and business function, labor costs by department, and how resources are allocated," says Jack Berkowitz, SVP Product Development at ADP DataCloud.

Having this data means you can start to answer questions like:

  • How does my headcount and labor costs by business function compare to the rest of the companies in my industry?
  • How do my labor costs by function compare to similar-sized organizations locally, regionally, and nationally?
  • How are other organizations structured by function, headcounts in roles, and labor costs?

When you compare size, headcount by role, distribution of skills, and allocation of spend, you can see how other companies in your industry work, where they prioritize budget, and where they have people with skills you don't.

This allows you to explore the roles and structures of other organizations so you can evaluate whether those may work for you. It helps you move past "this is how we've always done it" to see new possibilities. The benchmarks won't tell you whether other organizations are successful or not, but the tools can open possibilities. You can start to imagine alternate strategies to help you determine where you want to be.

Then you can try it on!

If you have plans to grow substantially, you can look at the data about bigger organizations and see what they look like and how they compare. You can see where they have people, where they don't, what skills are prevalent, and what all that costs.

If you plan to reduce your staff, you can see how organizations that are smaller are structured and the skills they need at that size. You can use the data to more accurately estimate labor savings to see whether eliminating those jobs will help, what roles you may need, and develop an overall strategy that will have the most benefit.

If you are thinking about relocating your company or opening a new location, you can compare labor costs by region and roles and see where certain skills are concentrated by region and industry.

We are just beginning to imagine what these insights will bring. Expect to see skills overlaps in different industries, which could change who and where you recruit. It's likely to affect training and learning as you figure out how to hire from other industries and help people adapt to different applications of their abilities. And you will also see shifts in career paths and talent mobility as new possibilities are realized.

Berkowitz explains, "Although these tools won't tell you who the organizations are or how what they're doing is working, you will have the data and insights you need to explore and decide what works for you. Being able to dig into more detailed information and benchmark against other organizations at that level of role and skills will allow organizations to see around the corner and start their future now."

Understand your workforce and how you compare to peers with the industry's largest dataset. Learn more about ADP® DataCloud.

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