If you want industry-specific benchmarks for your employee survey, you probably already understand that benchmark data are important, but you may not fully appreciate why and how benchmarks are critical.
Believe it or not, the primary purpose of benchmark data is NOT to compare your organization to other organizations. For the most part, benchmarking on an employee engagement survey has relatively little to do with the types of companies that the benchmarks are based on.
Benchmarking works a lot like a handicap in golf. Amateur golfers with different skill levels have different handicaps. When golfers play against one another, each person's final score is adjusted by his or her handicap. This allows players with different skill levels to play against each other on equal terms, and to determine winners and losers not on an absolute basis, but rather, on an adjusted basis that accounts for each person's skill level.
Every item in an employee survey has its own natural "behavior" or "handicap". Some items tend to get higher scores and some items tend to get lower scores. This can be due to the way an item is worded or it can have to do with the topic that the item addresses - or both. Benchmarking eliminates these natural differences between items, which allows you to compare scores across items. Benchmarking also tells you whether those scores are high or low.