Internal and External Benchmarks

Comparing results across time, departments, industries, and borders

So, how did it go? That's often the first question our clients ask after a workplace assessment or other well-being surveys are completed. 

And it's only natural. 

The purpose of these surveys is primarily to gather information about how things are going — what's working well and where improvements are needed. 

This is where benchmarks become essential. Benchmarks allow you to: 

  • Measure internal progress or regression since the last survey 
  • Compare results with similar organizations domestically and internationally 
  • Establish the difference between a good and a less favorable result 

In short, benchmarks provide a reliable yardstick to evaluate what might be considered a good result. 

Because that’s not always clear-cut. 

A score of 80/100 may be excellent in some cases, while it might be less favorable in others. 

Therefore, benchmarks are an indispensable tool for working with survey findings and, most importantly, prioritizing focus areas. 

Benchmarks provide valuable insight into survey results

The question of what constitutes a good result varies not only across industries but also across the different survey questions and themes. 

It's no secret that people tend to score higher on questions that require self-assessment or evaluate their own efforts compared to others. 

For example, the question ‘I am willing to go the extra mile when necessary’ often receives higher ratings compared to questions about colleagues in other departments. 

And let's be honest, we've all experienced it ourselves. It's usually those people in the other department who are responsible for the lack of cross-departmental collaboration. 


There is also a tendency for certain themes to consistently receive higher or lower scores than others. For instance, questions related to work-life balance often receive lower scores compared to other survey questions. 

Employees will inevitably face challenges with time pressure and balancing work and personal life. Additionally, there is a natural bias in responses, as employees rarely have an interest in indicating that they have plenty of time. 

Cultural differences across countries and industries also influence which drivers tend to score high or low. 

As a result, understanding survey results often requires special insight before embarking on the follow-up work. 

This is where trend analysis, internal benchmarks, and external benchmarks often serve as the first step towards gaining that insight. 

However, it's essential to bear in mind that benchmarks should never stand alone. They can never replace constructive and inclusive dialogue with employees about which areas to prioritize in creating a positive work environment. 

Two types of benchmarks — internal and external

The purpose of benchmarks is to provide nuance and perspective to survey results by comparing them to previous results, the organization as a whole, and other organizations. 


In our systems, we offer access to several different benchmarks. The two most common types are: 

  • Ramboll benchmark, which compares with industry and country data 
  • Internal benchmark, which compares with the organization as a whole 

Additionally, results are always compared with the previous survey's findings. In fact, this benchmark is often the most crucial one as it provides insights into progress since the last survey. It indicates whether the organization or department is moving in the right direction and achieving the desired outcomes of implemented initiatives. 

Furthermore, if progress is observed but the department still scores lower than other benchmarks, it suggests that there is room for improvement even though positive changes are taking place. 

Rambøll benchmark compares industry and country data

What constitutes a good or less favorable result on a workplace assessment, well-being survey, or employee pulse survey varies across different factors, including industries and country borders. 

That's why the ramboll benchmark is calculated based on the country and industry in which your organization operates. 


The Ramboll benchmark provides insights into how your results compare to general tendencies within your industry and country. Specifically, it indicates whether your organization performs at, above, or below what can be expected based on Ramboll's analyses. 

The Ramboll benchmark also highlights areas with the greatest potential for improvement. As Søren Wæhrens, Product Manager and Senior Consultant at Peoplexact, formulates it: 

"It is easier to improve results in an area that is already performing below or well below the expected level compared to an area that scores high according to the Ramboll benchmark."

Søren Wæhrens

Productmanager og Seniorconsultant, PeopleXact

Rambøll benchmark allows you to compare your organization with a wide range of industries as well as the national average. 

Need more information about benchmarks?

If you would like to learn more about the specific industries, feel free to reach out to us.

Ramboll benchmark – up to-date data from hundreds of organizations

The Ramboll benchmark is updated annually and only includes data from the past three years. It is based on data from hundreds of organizations across European countries. 

When the benchmark is updated, there may be minor changes to the benchmark figures that survey results are compared against. This can affect how certain drivers are categorized as above or below the Ramboll benchmark. Switching to a completely different benchmark can have a more significant impact. 

Internal benchmark compares with the organization as a whole

Every department's survey results are compared with the overall results of the entire organization. This provides insights into whether drivers are at the same level, higher, or lower than the rest of the organization. 

This comparison helps determine whether a driver is a strength or an area for improvement for the specific department or the organization as a whole. It also enhances understanding of what characterizes good performance within the organization's culture and everyday work. 

However, be cautious about overinterpreting a high score compared to the organization if the result is still low compared to the Ramboll benchmark. It may not be challenging to score relatively high on a driver compared to the organization if the organization's overall performance is low. 

The internal comparison helps qualify focus areas. If a topic scores below both the Ramboll benchmark and the internal comparison, it is most likely a driver that should be prioritized. 


Benchmarks are valuable tools but should never stand alone

It is important to remember that while benchmarks help qualify survey results, the results should always be interpreted in the context in which they exist. 

Benchmarks are invaluable indicators, but they can never replace constructive dialogue with employees about which areas to prioritize and which initiatives are relevant to work on. 

Important focus areas for one department or job type may be commonplace conditions that are challenging to change for others. For example, certain job types may consistently score lower on questions about influence when workflows are highly structured and predetermined with little autonomy. In such cases, it is often best to focus on trend analysis and evaluate improvement relative to the organization's plans. 

Overall, it is crucial to evaluate benchmarks within the context they belong to and align them with the purpose of the survey. 

Andreas Barfoed-Høj

Business Psychologist (cand.psych)


Xact By Rambøll

M +45 51 61 20 41




Erhvervpsykolog Andreas Barfoed Høj