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Benchmarking FAQs

If you haven't taken part in a TM benchmark before, here are 10 FAQs you might want to read:

  • What is benchmarking?
  • Why the Towards Maturity Benchmark?
  • How does it work?
  • Who should take part in the 2012 Benchmark?
  • What are the benefits of benchmarking?
  • What are the practicalities of getting involved?
  • What will I find out in my personalised benchmark report?
  • How much does it cost?
  • What about confidentiality?
  • Who can I contact to find out more?

What is benchmarking?

Definition: Benchmarking is the process of comparing business processes and performance metrics to industry bests and/or best practices from other industries.


Benchmarking is a performance improvement tool as it provides an opportunity to:
  • Review your progress and approach
  • Compare your results and approach with others – both your peers and the top performers in the field
  • Act on the findings to improve your performance

Benchmarking can be done either formally or informally. Formal benchmarking is a systematic approach used to compare an organisation's performance with the top performers in their field. The Towards Maturity Benchmark is the only free, independent and confidential formal benchmark available to learning and development professionals.

Why the Towards Maturity Benchmark?

Since 2003, the Towards Maturity Benchmark Study has been investigating how organisations are embedding innovative learning practices and the impact they are having. Historically, we have tracked how organisations use technology to support both formal and informal learning, and have now identified a range L&D approaches that influence success that go far beyond the technologies involved.


The Towards Maturity Benchmark Study is a result of a unique industry collaboration. The Study would not be possible without the contributions of Towards Maturity Supporters, independent experts and membership groups who ensure that the study remains current and vendor neutral. Towards Maturity Ambassadors (below) make this study possible as they share a passion for ensuring that independent advice is freely available to all.

How does it work?

To date, over 3,500 organisations and 15,000 learners have participated - the Towards Maturity’s Benchmark study is the largest benchmark of its type in Europe. The ongoing study has distilled the effective practices of top performers into a framework of 6 implementation workstreams - the Toward Maturity Model. The Towards Maturity Index provides a single index of implementation maturity against this model.

Companies within the top quartile of the Towards Maturity Index engage twice the audience, save 33% of cost and 50% in reduced study time. Their staff also reach proven competency 6 times faster as a result of their approach. By taking part in the Benchmark, you review your approach against the Towards Maturity Model and reflect on your current benefits via an online survey.

We use this information to create a baseline Towards Maturity Index, which you will receive as part of your personalised report.

Who should take part in the Towards Maturity Benchmark?

This study is aimed at learning and development professionals responsible for implementing innovative learning and performance solutions in their workplace.  

Organisations across the private, public and not-for-profit are all welcome to take part. Examples of participants from previous years include: AXA UK, Barclaycard, Barnados, Boots UK, BT plc, Christian Aid, E.ON AG, Eversheds LLP, IKEA of Sweden, Lloyds Banking Group, Nestlé, NSPCC, Pearson International, Shell, The Rugby Football League, Tesco Stores Ltd, Toyota Motor Europe NV SA, Vodafone, 33 councils and over 20 hospitals and NHS trusts. 

Whilst aimed at those implementing innovation in the workplace, educational institutions and providers are welcome to take part to either review their own learning approaches with their own staff or to review a particular implementation with one of their customers. 

What are the benefits of benchmarking?


In addition to providing a time to reflect on, benchmarking also provides you with independent evidence that can help you:
  • Set a personal baseline today to help demonstrate progress tomorrow
  • Increase staff engagement and results
  • Learn from common mistakes rather than making them
  • Justify an investment or proposal for change
  • Quickly apply industry good practice in a way that is relevant to your own organisation
  • Set ‘SMART’ targets in your business plan, based on trusted industry metrics
  • Motivate your team to become industry leaders not followers
  • Provide an external perspective to help engage stakeholders with new ways of learning

What are the practicalities of getting involved?


Taking part in the confidential Benchmark Study is easy; it takes approximately an hour to complete the online survey. The study can be completed by individuals or as part of a team exercise. Once completed, participants immediately receive complimentary resources and your Towards Maturity Personalised Benchmark Report on completion of analysis.

All participants will also receive a copy of the annual Industry Benchmark Report when it is released in November each year.

What will I find out in my Towards Maturity Personalised Benchmark Report?

Your confidential personalised report provides you with the following information:

  • Your Towards Maturity Index (TMI)
  • Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
  • Your individual scores across 19 activity areas, highlighting strengths and weaknesses.

In each section you will be able to compare your responses with average scores and the TM Benchmark. If your score is greater than the TM Benchmark then you are in the top quartile for performance or implementation practice.

If you complete your benchmark by 31st July you will receive your personalised report by mid-September.

How much does it cost?

Once a year during June and July we collect data to establish new baselines, and during this time, an organisation can participate for free , thanks to Towards Maturity’s Ambassadors: made up of over 20 leading learning organisations. They work together as Ambassadors for change, identifying and improving best practice, raising awareness and driving the whole learning industry forward.

We also support organisations who want to use the benchmark outside of this period or who would like to use it to establish a tailored benchmark across a number of participants within their own business. Please contact us for more information about process and fees.

What about confidentiality?

We appreciate that you are sharing confidential data about your organisation in order to benchmark your progress with others. Towards Maturity operates a strict confidentiality policy to protect participants in our Benchmark research. We do not share any individual’s data with any third parties, including our trusted partners.

Our research readers like to know about the organisations who have participated in a report, but we only list the names of organisations who have explicitly given us permission to name them. The participant list is included in the appendix so that data in the report cannot be traced back to individual participants.

Find out more about our confidentiality policy here.

Who can I contact to find out more?

If you want to discuss benchmarking with your peers, you can join the LinkedIn group, New Learning Benchmarks. Alternatively, contact us at elearning@towardsmaturity.org if you have more specific questions.




The independent Towards Maturity Benchmark Report is made possible thanks to the support of our Ambassadors.

Become a member of our Research Community to download reports and be the first to get the latest resources. Or subscribe to our newsletter for monthly email updates.

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