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6 Min Read

6 Manager Effectiveness Metrics HR Leaders Should Be Tracking

Nicole Klemp

Managers have an outsized impact on the outcomes that matter most to HR leaders, including employee engagement, performance, and retention. The more effective managers you have across the organization, the better your employees—and the company—will perform.

But before you can make targeted investments in manager enablement, you must know how effective your managers are today and understand where they’re succeeding or struggling. You need baseline metrics to build a strategic plan and mechanisms for continuous measurement and improvement. 

Why your organization needs effective managers

Just like your favorite NFL team will win more games with an elite quarterback on the field, work teams perform at a higher level when led by an all-star manager. Effective managers support and empower their team members and drive organizational impact. They oversee performance management, help keep employees engaged, and inspire their people to meet challenging goals.

Conversely, ineffective managers can negatively impact the people who report to them. Those lacking the necessary management skills or emotional IQ to lead effectively will struggle to drive engagement and high performance and are more likely to experience high team turnover.

In most cases, ineffective managers aren’t “bad managers,”; they’re just folks who haven’t been given the right education, training, and coaching to level up. Sixty-five percent of the managers we surveyed for our 2022 Workplace Report said they feel underprepared and struggle to perform in their roles. 

By measuring managerial effectiveness and efficiency and discovering opportunities for your managers to learn and grow, you can create a data-driven plan to improve manager effectiveness.

Manager effectiveness metrics 

Without manager data to confirm the specific areas that need attention, you’ll spend a lot of time guessing and wasting resources on “fixes” that yield little impact. By tracking the following six metrics associated with manager effectiveness, you can approach enablement strategically, with business outcomes in mind. 

1. Engagement scores by team

Team engagement scores are based on employee engagement survey results. For the most reliable metrics, choose an engagement survey that focuses on employees’ psychological state and well-being and includes manager-specific questions. You should be able to slice and dice your data by team so you can tie employee engagement metrics back to specific managers.

2. Team goal completion percentage

Effective managers prioritize work and define measurable objectives that their direct reports or team want to achieve. Team goal completion percentage reflects how effectively a manager has guided and coached their team to meet long-term goals. A low completion percentage can indicate that team members are performing below standards. A continuous low completion percentage can also suggest that the manager sets unrealistic goals or expectations.

3. Check-in completion rate

The check-in completion rate measures the percentage of employees who complete their manager check-ins in a given period. The higher the percentage, the better, as it indicates a manager is making check-ins a priority on their team. These quick touchpoints improve visibility between managers and their direct reports, enabling them to offer continuous support and constructive feedback and remove roadblocks for their people.

4. 1-on-1 frequency

Measuring the frequency of 1-on-1s between managers and their direct reports allows you to see how often managers spend quality time with their team members. While check-ins tend to be more of a tactical sync, 1-on-1 meetings should be focused on an employee’s objectives, career development, and well-being. Managers who prioritize regular 1-on-1s are more effective than those who don’t. Not making time for a direct report (or frequently scheduling but then canceling their 1-on-1) shows an employee that their success isn’t important to their manager.

5. Feedback quality

The quality of the feedback a manager gives their direct reports can tell you a lot about manager effectiveness, though getting a quantitative metric can be a little tricky. One way to measure feedback quality is by sending employees a survey after a performance review cycle asking how helpful the feedback they received from their manager was on a scale of 1 to 10. Managers who score lower may need additional training or coaching on delivering constructive feedback.

6. Turnover rates by team

High turnover on a team can signal a number of problems, including ineffective management. When we surveyed 1,000 managers and 1,000 employees for the 2023 Manager Effectiveness Report, 52% of employees reported leaving a company because of unsupportive management. The survey also found that 56% of employees believe having a good manager is one of the most critical factors for staying at their company. Addressing manager effectiveness is crucial to tackling regrettable turnover.

How to measure manager effectiveness all in one place

The factors that contribute to manager efficiency and effectiveness are numerous and complex. An evaluation process that includes the above metrics can help you get started—and it helps tremendously when you have a holistic performance management platform that captures them for you.

Measuring manager effectiveness at scale requires an ability to continuously pull in real-time data, make sense of it, and come up with the right next steps to move the needle. That’s why 15Five developed the Manager Effectiveness Indicator (MEI).

The MEI uses data from 15Five to examine the skills, behaviors, and outcomes of a manager and their team. You can easily identify great managers in your organization and see which ones need more support—and in what areas—so you can take action. It offers a holistic view of how effective your managers are, how they’re impacting bottom-line metrics, and what you can do to help them improve. 

Learn more about the Manager Effectiveness Indicator >

Get the Manager Enablement Playbook

When it comes to manager effectiveness, where should you focus your time and budget? How can you distinguish between an effective manager and an ineffective one? And how can you replicate the success of good managers at scale?

We created a guide to help you answer those questions and give you tips and tools for measuring key talent metrics, improving manager effectiveness, and creating a continuous learning environment for your managers.

Get the playbook >