Companies and corporations like General Electric, Microsoft, Valero Energy and Southwest Airlines use benchmarking. Benchmarking measures the quality of an organization against similar measurements of its peers.
Benchmarking is used to determine how to improve performance and discover where a company's weaknesses lie. It examines how one company achieves high-performance levels and helps managers set goals to achieve the same kind of performance levels.
Many of the companies that use benchmarking are considered to be benchmark companies. For example, General Electric is the benchmark firm when it comes to prioritizing jobs and hiring talented managers. Microsoft excels in treating its employees right and hiring the right people the first time, which earned the company a spot on Fortune Magazine's '100 Best Companies to Work For' list in 2005.