Our Original Manager Effectiveness Survey

An overview of the design methodology behind our Manager Effectiveness survey

Jared Ellis avatar
Written by Jared Ellis
Updated over a week ago

What can I learn from this page?

An overview of the design methodology behind our Manager Effectiveness survey

Who is this guide for?

Account Admins, Survey Admins, Survey Creators

We are frequently updating our survey templates based on research. Below is some detail about the original assessment. You can learn more about our latest template revisions here.

While an engagement survey allows employees to provide feedback on their overall experience at an organization, the purpose of the Manager Effectiveness assessment is two-fold:

  1. It will provide actionable feedback to individual people leaders with the goal of helping them develop core managerial skills.

  2. It enables aggregate reporting so that leaders in the business can look across the organization to identify broader manager training and development opportunities (and compare using our Manager Effectiveness Benchmark).

Manager Effectiveness Design Methodology

A good upward feedback survey for managers is designed to provide actionable feedback across a wide range of management behaviors. The Culture Amp Manager Effectiveness survey was designed by leveraging insights from three complementary perspectives.

  1. The manager behaviors our customers expect and want to encourage

  2. The eight rules to effective management that Google identified in its Project Oxygen work

  3. The critical factors impacting perceptions of manager effectiveness identified in our own data (from thousands of managers we've already helped)

Our research and survey design started with a simple question “How would we describe an effective manager?”

We define effective management as the ability to inspire, motivate and support direct reports to do their best work, demonstrate deep personal care and connection with employees, while also consistently achieving desired business outcomes.

To provide managers with useful, actionable feedback, we started with Google's Project Oxygen research leveraging its thousands of hours of study, and deep analysis of what makes managers most effective at Google. Based on their Project Oxygen work, they identified eight rules of effective management at Google:

  • Be a good coach

  • Empower your team and don’t micromanage

  • Create an inclusive team environment, showing concern for success and well-being

  • Be productive and results-oriented

  • Be a good communicator and listen to your team

  • Help employees with career development and discuss performance

  • Have a clear vision and strategy for the team

  • Have key technical skills so you can help advise the team

  • Collaborate across the company

  • Be a strong decision maker

Reading through this list of behaviors it's likely that you won't see them as revolutionary. Many of these factors have been identified by academics and practitioners as fundamental to great management. As Josh Bersin notes, "the eight habits which Google identified are the same very principles which make up good management at every organization on earth."

While Project Oxygen clarified some of the core behaviors expected of good managers, based on work with our customers and a review of recent academic and practitioner research, we have identified additional core behaviors to measure. Those behaviors include a manager's ability to lead through change (emotional resilience), treat employees fairly and encourage diversity, as well as focus on progress, not just results.

Below is the complete list of the factors covered by the manager effectiveness survey template in the Culture Amp platform. You will see there is significant alignment to the Google Project Oxygen work while also incorporating other key measures noted above. We believe these factors encompass the breadth of key manager behaviors while still remaining broadly applicable across organization and industry.

  • Caring

  • Coaching

  • Communicating

  • Developing

  • Emotionally Resilient

  • Fair Treatment

  • Fostering Innovation

  • Results-oriented

  • Technical Capability

  • Vision and Goal Setting

Learn More About Project Oxygen

If you want to learn more about Google's Project Oxygen, this Google Video may be useful. Additionally, this brief NYTimes provides a good brief summary. If you are looking for a more detailed review of the research, this HBR case study may be helpful.

Sharing Manager Effectiveness Results

Sharing your Manager Effectiveness results is just like report sharing for an engagement survey. In this case you will most likely create a report for each team, and then give the appropriate manager access to that report.

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