Billy Sexton, Project Manager at AllAboutGroup, explains how your company can benefit from its Benchmarking services.
Benchmarking is the means by which an organisation can assess the success of its apprenticeship or graduate programmes. There are three main ways to Benchmark:
An internal audit of your programme
Often taking the form of questionnaires or sit-downs with the apprentices themselves, an internal audit provides direct feedback on what you’re doing well at and what you’re not. Problems are usually easy to fix, such as motivation or a lack of understanding regarding career progression.
However, if you are asking questions directly, there’s sometimes the tendency not to answer truthfully, for fear of reprisal. So it’s best to combine an internal audit with some form of anonymous data-gathering in order to obtain a more reliable picture.
This mainly takes the form of award ceremonies and national competitions. Winning an award and performing well is great from a PR perspective, as well as sharing success within the organisation.
However, it’s important to assess the criteria for these award ceremonies. What are they actually awarding you for? If it’s the popularity of your programmes, then these awards are great for recognising your marketing and branding efforts. If the awards are recognising aspects of the programmes themselves, such as training or career progression, success in these is a great reward for your learning and development teams.
External and independent benchmarking
If you don’t quite get the results you want, this can be a good point from which to start examining your programme from a more critical perspective. What are your competitors doing differently? Is it a budget issue or something that’s fairly fixable, such as training and support?
External and independent Benchmarking allows companies to work with an independent organisation, such as AllAboutGroup, to get a robust assessment of their apprenticeship or graduate programmes. We may also work with your competitors or other industries, resulting in a wealth of data that provides a point of comparison.
AllAboutGroup has been helping organisations Benchmark their apprenticeship programmes for seven years. We have a wealth of data that can be broken down by aspect of programme, industry and intake size.
On top of this, AllAboutGroup’s Benchmarking process doesn’t just stop at the results of the internal survey we send to apprentices and graduates. We produce a Benchmarking Report that can:
- Show you where excellence lies within your business, and show how you can utilise that for better development and guidance of future talent.
- Identify areas of weakness within your business, help diagnose the problems and support you to find solutions.
- Illuminate the broader issues across your industry, so you can work with competitors to find industry-wide solutions or business-specific solutions that will make you stand out in the field.
- Provide you with market intelligence, so you can Benchmark your business against your competitors and measure yourselves against the market.
- Gain perspective and depth of analysis over time, so you can see how the experience of your apprentices has changed and developed with longitudinal reporting.
Once we have taken these two steps to identify areas of both excellence and improvement in your programmes, AllAboutGroup can work with you to make improvements to your programmes by facilitating programme consultations with industry experts and work with your team and organisation to make changes.
Could you explain the process behind machine learning?
Apprentices and graduates are asked to provide any additional written comments at the end of the survey. We utilise the Google Natural Language API to provide us with an overall sentiment for individual feedback, ranging from very negative to very positive.
How can a company benefit from Benchmarking?
Organisations gain two data sets from the Benchmarking process. Quantitative data, i.e. your average scores in each aspect of your programme (e.g. training), lets you see broadly where you are performing well and where you can improve. If every aspect of your programme receives a score of 90% but your career progression receives a score of 80%, it’s clear to see that you need to work on the opportunities for apprentices after they complete their programme. It gives you broad area to work on, as opposed to minute fixes.
Qualitative data, such as written feedback, may allow you to identify smaller, perhaps more personal issues, which provide you with valuable insights. These issues may also be easier to address and resolve.