2022 Ultimate Guide to Manager Feedback Surveys [+7 Final Tips]

November 17, 2021
4 Min Read
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What are manager feedback surveys?

If you had all the time in the world, you could take the time to stop and chat with the manager of every team in your company. Over a cup of coffee and multiple slices of dolce panne- or perhaps a mug of beer and a bowl of peanuts, you'd pick their brains and get a whole new perspective of the company. You'd find out how their teams were doing; the challenges, the victories. You'd hear what they thought was most necessary for improved productivity; what resources their teams needed to increase employee engagement, creativity, and job satisfaction.

With 24 hours in every day, there's no way that's happening. That's what manager feedback surveys are for. Under ideal conditions, a manager feedback survey would provide you the same actionable insights your long chats in the office might. But there's one difference: it takes less time.

A manager feedback survey is typically a relatively short questionnaire consisting of between 5 and 10 questions that focus on areas like:

A longer manager feedback survey might also include areas like staff competencies, department budget and team effectiveness.

This questionnaire can be conducted through any means: email, paper survey, or online manager feedback survey software.

Note that a manager feedback survey is different than a manager effectiveness survey. To rate your manager's leadership ability, you will typically want to do a 360 review or employee survey rather than a direct manager survey.

Why manager feedback surveys are important

Having manager feedback in writing is a great way to:

  • Re-connect with your manager and learn more about what they go through and how they work.
  • Get additional insights into the challenges that lie ahead for you, your manager and the company as a whole.
  • Get an understanding of where your manager thinks their team is succeeding and failing.
  • Evaluate employee experience management and identify areas where they struggle to meet your manager's needs.

While a manager survey provides much the same feedback as an employee feedback survey it provides an additional top-down perspective. A manager engagement survey is also typically easier to implement than an employee engagement survey as fewer responses are needed.

How to give manager feedback surveys

When you collect manager feedback, it's important that you give your survey in a way that shows respect for your manager's time. There are two different types of survey approaches:

A manager feedback form, which is a printed questionnaire that your manager fills out and mails or emails back to you.

An online manager feedback survey: this can be conducted through an email link or a manager feedback software program like SurveyMonkey(or any other manager feedback survey tool).

Manager feedback surveys can vary in length, but they ask similar questions about what managers want from their teams and how well they feel they're being met. Some of the most common manager feedback survey questions include:

  • Employee engagement: How happy are your employees? Are they proud to work here?
  • Job satisfaction: Does your manager feel that your employees are receiving the right amount of training and feedback? Are there any areas where they're concerned about your growth opportunities, etc.? What are employee morale and employee satisfaction levels like?
  • Company reputation and company culture: How is morale at this company different from other companies in its industry? What is the company's reputation among its customers?
  • Skills transferability: How innovative, creative and self-motivated are your employees? Do they have skills that could be applied to other departments or job functions?

A manager feedback questionnaire can exist in any form. If you'd rather not send a manager feedback survey through the mail, you can email a manager feedback questionnaire to your manager, or create an online manager feedback form that your manager simply fills out and submits online

Some companies have even incorporated manager feedback surveys into their annual manager reviews or as part of their performance management systems. No matter how long the manager feedback survey is, it's best to give them in a timely manner so your manager doesn't feel swamped.

Manager feedback survey software

Manager feedback survey software is an easy-to-use solution to the practical problems involved with survey implementation. First, check your existing employee experience management software: you may find there is a survey functionality built right in. If not, you want to look for software solutions that include these features:

  • Ability to use both pre-loaded and custom manager feedback survey questions
  • Flexible manager feedback survey editing capabilities so you can reword questions on the fly if necessary.
  • User-friendly manager feedback survey forms that are easy for your respondents to navigate
  • Provide manager feedback report analytics and statistics: manager satisfaction ratings and manager areas of concerns
  • Offer customizable manager feedback reports: ideally, you want a one-page report that summarizes important information and highlights any problem areas.
  • Ability to run both a pulse survey and a more extensive leadership survey. 360 feedback survey capabilities would be an extra bonus.

A few popular software choices are SurveyMonkey, Qualtrics, and Zoho Survey. Keep in mind that manager feedback surveys require a lot of response data, so you need manager feedback software that can process a large amount of information quickly - no one wants to wait all day for manager feedback survey results to load!

7 final tips on manager feedback surveys

Here are some final tips that can help you plan and execute effective manager surveys:

  1. Consider the time of year: manager feedback surveys that get sent around the end-of-year or holiday season don't necessarily elicit very accurate responses. If possible, distribute manager feedback surveys before Thanksgiving and before the manager's schedule gets crazy - this ensures that they have time to give you honest and thoughtful answers.
  2. Keep manager feedback surveys short: While manager feedback is important, there's no need to make managers feel like they're filling out a doctoral thesis every time they answer one of your manager feedback questions. The manager needs to understand that you value their manager and their time, and don't want to take advantage of them.
  3. Make manager feedback surveys manager-friendly: manager feedback survey software can help you create manager feedback surveys that are easy for your manager to fill out. Sometimes, senior leaders get bored or tired of filling out the same old questions on a manager feedback questionnaire, and a nice interface can lighten the load.
  4. Be open with your manager: manager feedback surveys can work as a great relationship builder. Make sure that your manager has all the information they need to give honest and thoughtful feedback by telling them what you're doing, why you're doing it, and what you will do with the manager feedback survey results.
  5. Be open to manager feedback: manager feedback surveys should be a two-way street! Don't expect managers to give you feedback simply because you want it; make sure your manager understands that manager survey participation is important to you, and let them know what their honest feedback will be used for.
  6. Don't focus on manager feedback surveys alone: manager feedback surveys are only one tool to use to manage your manager! Consider offering manager development training, coaching, and performance reviews as well; it's much easier - not to mention less time-consuming - to find problem areas in manager behavior when you get feedback year-round. A good practice is to do a formal manager survey once a quarter, and collect feedback year-round using more formal means like the continuous feedback app Matter (a free Slack app!)
  7. Don't take manager feedback surveys personally. If your manager has negative things to say about you in response to a survey question, remember that the response is not a personal attack; it's simply another tool you can use along with other managerial training and coaching to manage performance.

As manager feedback surveys are an integral part of manager management, giving manager feedback surveys can provide you with valuable insights that leave you better able to serve your company's goals. While manager feedback surveys are not perfect - managers may feel uncomfortable or even intimidated by them - manager survey software and manager-friendly manager feedback surveys make the process more manageable.

Conducting surveys may seem a pretty poor substitute to hanging out in the office, chatting about team happenings, but it certainly is more time-effective! If manager feedback is important to you, manager surveys are a good place to start. Focus on the big picture, let your software do the legwork, and get productive with all the feedback data that comes out of the process.

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