Manager Effectiveness: 4 Ways HR Can Help Improve It

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Manager Effectiveness: 4 Ways HR Can Help Improve It

One of the important responsibilities of HR professionals is to develop leaders and managers and ensure that they’re equipped with all they need to be effective in their jobs. What exactly is manager effectiveness, how do you measure it, and what can HR do to help improve manager effectiveness?

What is manager effectiveness?
Why manager effectiveness matters
How do you measure manager effectiveness?
How HR can help foster manager effectiveness

What is manager effectiveness?

Manager effectiveness refers to a manager’s ability to achieve the organization’s goals and balance employee expectations and development. An effective manager must ensure work is completed efficiently and on time and that both the employee and organization progress.

To be effective in this way, a manager must possess a broad range of competencies, including leadership, communication skills, decision-making, and mentoring. They also have to clearly understand what effectiveness looks like in their role.

HR has a key role to play in helping managers set and track metrics to help them:

  • improve their performance,
  • create a plan,
  • and offer development opportunities.

That way, managers develop into great leaders for their teams, and the organization can achieve its goals.

How HR Can Boost Manager Effectiveness
We discuss how HR can help improve manager effectiveness in more detail below.

Why manager effectiveness matters

Effective managers have a big impact on the organization as a whole. Let’s have a closer look at the benefits of manager effectiveness.

Employee engagementA study by Gallup found that managers account for at least 70% of the difference in employee engagement scores across different departments in a business. This means that ineffective managers can have a detrimental impact on employee engagement and the broader organization.

Conversely, effective management can improve an employee’s experience at work. Unsurprisingly, engaged employees are more productive and perform better than disengaged employees.
Decreased turnover and increased retentionYou’ve likely encountered the statement: employees don’t quit companies; they quit managers. This is backed by another Gallup study that found that 50% of employees cite a bad manager as the number one reason to quit their jobs. Therefore, good managers play a vital role in retaining top talent in the organization and reducing turnover.

Lower churn rates create more stability for the team and boost the entire group’s engagement and morale.
Building resilience and adaptabilityIn a volatile and unpredictable business and labor market, change is inevitable. Great managers are resilient and quick to respond to change. They equip their teams to act in a similar fashion, which ensures business adaptability in an ever-changing landscape.
Balance leadership and employeesEffective managers act as a bridge between senior leaders and the organization’s employees. They play a pivotal role in meeting organizational goals while also developing the employees in their team.

An effective leader is skilled in balancing both of these responsibilities and ensuring both employees and business leaders are happy. In other words, the best managers are able to build trust on both sides.

How do you measure manager effectiveness?

As an HR professional, you can contribute to helping managers determine which metrics to track to measure their effectiveness and provide them with relevant data sets. How you measure managerial effectiveness will depend on the goals of the organization. 

Here are some examples of manager effectiveness metrics:

Turnover and retention per manager

Each manager’s turnover and retention rates are important metrics. They show how many employees are leaving vs. staying in the organization. A manager with a low turnover rate and high retention rate of employees suggests they are effective in leading and nurturing their team. In contrast, a high turnover and low retention rate indicate the opposite.

A sub-metric that you can measure to gauge manager effectiveness is high performer turnover. A manager who can retain high performers is likely effective, while a high turnover of top performers points to an ineffective manager.

Engagement scores per manager

Pulse surveys that measure employee engagement and create scores can also help measure manager effectiveness. Lower levels of employee engagement lead to absenteeism and turnover. Even if an employee remains in the organization, they are unlikely to perform at their peak productivity level if they are not completely engaged.

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Absenteeism per manager

Measuring employee absenteeism—the number of days employees are absent within a particular team compared to the organization’s average—can determine a manager’s effectiveness. It demonstrates their ability to ensure the workload is manageable and that employees are healthy and happy at work.

It’s equally important to explore why employees are absent rather than looking at the figures in isolation.

Team performance metrics

Team performance metrics (including efficiency, quality of work, initiative, and client satisfaction) help managers understand the performance and progress of their team compared to the rest of the organization.

These metrics also help you offer feedback to employees to improve and help you achieve greater levels of output, which ultimately drives more revenue for the business.

Performance review results

Performance reviews (also known as performance appraisals or performance evaluations) are a type of formal assessment where a manager reviews and evaluates an employee’s performance, offers feedback, and sets new goals with the employee. These are carried out annually, quarterly, monthly, or even weekly.

Performance review results provide managers with a solid idea of where their team’s strengths and weaknesses lie, where they need the most development, and how to pivot goals to increase their ability to meet the organization’s wider goals.

How HR can help foster manager effectiveness

HR enables managers to lead their employees effectively, engage them, and empower them to do their best work. How can HR help boost manager effectiveness?

1. Determine what effectiveness looks like together

To be an effective manager, it’s essential to first define what effectiveness means in a specific role. This will vary depending on the industry and department in question.

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What are the most important skills and behaviors required to be an effective manager in your organization and for each specific department? Certain skills will be essential in every organization. However, there will be a unique skill-set required depending on your organization’s mission, culture, and goals.

HR can help managers to define what effectiveness means in their role by identifying key behaviors and skills needed to create a positive work environment in their specific team or department.

You can also define together how you’re going to measure the effectiveness and how you’re going to collect the data.

2. Set a plan, goals, and milestones

Obtaining data through various metrics is only the first step. Following best practices, the next step is to decide what to do with the data. For example, comparing results over time can help managers improve their team’s performance and create a plan for how to get there.

Let’s say the goal is to improve the team’s sales performance by 10% by the end of Q3. The next step would be to create a plan with the manager to help them reach that goal, for example, by providing performance coaching to the entire team.

Regularly setting goals, devising a plan to meet them, and tracking results help managers monitor their teams’ performance and take action accordingly.

3. Provide development opportunities

Research by MDA Training reports that 58% of managers surveyed have not received any leadership training. Without the necessary skills to perform, there is a greater risk of teams becoming demotivated and turnover rates increasing.

HR can provide managers with plenty of opportunities to develop and broaden their managerial skills and increase their effectiveness. This should go beyond singular training sessions and online courses. A manager’s leadership development plan can include micro-learning, external coaching, and mentoring. Short learning activities that are spaced out over time can help integrate learning into ongoing daily practice and facilitate the real-life application of newfound skills.

This, combined with longer, one-off training sessions, can help reinforce learning and ensure it gets put to use. Furthermore, providing coaching to managers helps them become better coaches to their employees and creates a virtuous circle of mentorship.

Together, HR and managers can identify the essential skills to work on in order of priority and create a development plan to follow.  

4. Help cultivate soft skills

Leadership competencies like people management and conflict management are not the only important skills of an effective manager. Soft skills, including communication, active listening, and emotional intelligence, are equally crucial for achieving manager effectiveness.

These skills help managers create and maintain open and considerate lines of communication with team members, ensure expectations are clear, offer and receive constructive feedback, see things from employees’ perspectives, and recognize, appreciate and reward good work. 

HR can work with managers to cultivate and improve these soft skills and make them a daily practice. Again, this can be through targeted training opportunities, coaching, mentoring, and other ways of learning.

A final word

HR’s role in improving manager effectiveness is twofold—helping the managers measure their performance and progress and providing them with ample opportunities to develop skills and competencies that enable them to be more effective in their work.

By boosting manager effectiveness within your organization, you’re ultimately helping improve business performance.

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