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Understanding Manager Performance Through Engagement Surveys

November 28, 2017 by Christina Wainwright

Understanding Manager Performance Through Engagement Surveys

Employee engagement is a concept that has every bit of impact on an organization as revenue streams and customer growth, perhaps even more so. In essence, Employee engagement (EE) describes the relationship between employers and their staff, assessing levels of individual commitment and emotional bonds an employee feels towards the company.

All employees, from the bottom rung to top executives, perform better with higher levels of employee engagement. While EE doesn't have a standard and ubiquitous set of measuring tools like income statements or balance sheets, that doesn't mean gauging EE levels is hopelessly nebulous or esoteric.

EE surveys have become an invaluable tool in analyzing those all-important levels. Although surveys should be constructed according to specific criteria and as part of a more broad-based, consistent system, they can be transformative for a company with their specific and unique insights when leveraged properly.

Engagement surveys can be especially insightful in diagnosing the roles and performances of managers tasked with leading a team. Those roles are a crucial component of overall team performance, as evidenced by a recent Gallup poll that estimated managerial performance to be responsible for 70 percent of variance in employee engagement levels. In other words, it's difficult to overstate the importance of managerial performance to an organization.

Download Engagement Survey Template


The Unique Roles of Managers

Effective managers are those that can wear several different hats at any given moment. To put it more precisely, the best managers excel at simultaneously handling multiple responsibilities at all times, including some very specific tasks:

  • Performing their individual functions
  • Setting team expectations
  • Strengthening connections between their team and organization
  • Giving feedback when requested
  • Asking for feedback when necessary
  • Being a consistent and communicative coach
  • Recognizing strengths and weaknesses
  • Rewarding performance
  • Providing development opportunities
  • Encouraging innovation

As that list attests, the best means of gauging individual manager performance isn't so much about static, high-performance measurements but being an impactful leader. When that is accomplished, those high-performance metrics will follow suit.
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EE Survey Tools Can Help Analyze Managerial Performance

Not all EE survey tools are created equally. To that point, innovative platforms are now available to transform EE survey data in living, breathing insight to provide direction for an organization’s proactive actions, Hyphen’s Smart Analytics a perfect example. These solutions allow leaders to dissect their people data based on managerial dimensions. The insights provided allow organizations to understand manager performance based on various categories that can be both predefined and set according to a company's configuration.

This flexibility in managerial dimensions can be defined by a company to adhere to its own specific criteria in describing managerial performance, including everything from communicative coaching and establishment of team goals to rewarding performance and recognizing strengths and weaknesses. An ideal engagement survey tool employs different views like heat maps, trends, and segmentation to help analyze EE survey data. Segmentation is especially useful in isolating specific departments, offices, or geographical locations to analyze data involving individual managers and teams.

Transparency and context are also critical components of the most effective EE survey tools. Data does not live in a vacuum and is only as revealing and insightful as it is accessible. Therefore, EE survey tools should also possess additional qualities to maximize their utility for an organization:

  • The strengths and weaknesses of every team should be identifiable by drilling further down based on conversations/questions involving their team in order to get a fuller picture of manager/team performance.
  • Managers should be scored on a relative basis based on department, office or other relevant segments to understand the true nature of their performance within the context of other managers.
  • Manager scorecard surveys, a variation of the typical engagement surveys, should be given to employees to get feedback on individual managers.
  • Personalized manager reports should be used to assess individual manager performance by collating all of the data collected from their members through surveys, polls and employee voices. This will provide both a quantitative and qualitative analysis for manager performance.
  • Managers should also be encouraged to work with their peers to learn from strengths and weaknesses based on the data in their reports

Acting on the Data

Data from EE survey tools will only have a positive effect on your organization if it is acted upon. The best way to transform data points collected from these surveys to constructive action is to get the managers to collaborate amongst themselves and learn from each other. Set up monthly workshops where managers with particular strengths can discuss reliable strategies that can be used to turbocharge how your other managers adopt best practices.