TestGorilla LogoTestGorilla Logo

The manager evaluation process: A step-by-step guide

Written by Raji Oluwaniyi

Managers have direct influence on the productivity, culture, and engagement of employees in your organization. It’s not difficult to see how you can lose fantastic employees because of terrible managers.

Having the right managers to build trust, motivate, and inspire your staff can make all the difference in your organization. While this benefit is obvious, the real challenge comes when you need to identify such managers and evaluate their leadership and people management skills.

We have created this guide to help you conduct manager evaluations the right way. We’ve also outlined the criteria for assessing your managers and provided the perfect tool to aid you in the process.

What is manager evaluation?

Manager evaluation is an assessment of the performance of your managers at different levels to ensure that they meet your expectations and serve their teams. This process reviews your managers’ ability to carry out their responsibilities in their respective departments. 

You can see it as a little exercise that helps you to understand your managers’ performance, which provides specific insight into areas in which they need to improve. Manager evaluation is critical to bolstering your operations and keeping track of progress.

Why are manager evaluations so important?

Manager evaluations are a win-win for companies and managers alike because both parties can identify vital areas for improvement. 

For companies, manager evaluation is one of the pillars of effective performance management and high employee satisfaction. It can also be an eye-opener for the leadership team and help identify areas within the organization that might need thorough internal restructuring.

With it, you can map out a blueprint to streamline operations, improve customer satisfaction, boost employee engagement, and increase productivity.

Managers benefit from evaluations because they get a chance to work on their leadership skills, which enables them to manage and inspire teams effectively to get the best out of them. 

Your findings from the evaluation process will serve as the foundation to maintaining a capable workforce and fostering a strong company culture.

Criteria for evaluating your managers

Ideally, you should consistently evaluate your managers to ensure they still have what it takes to help their teams thrive and be successful. The evaluating criteria vary among businesses, but generally, you should examine the following skills:

criteria for evaluating your managers

1. Communication

Top managers need excellent workplace communication skills to convey information to staff clearly and follow up to ensure that instructions are understood. 

Zippia reports that effective communication is a key ingredient to teams’ success that enables them to increase productivity by 25%. Further, about 86% of workers in the survey say that poor communication is at the heart of most company failures.

Thus, managers with the right communication skills can help your company succeed. To guarantee maximum efficiency, their communication must be simple, open, accurate, and timely. 

2. Ethics

Management and business ethics are closely connected: Each company has its own principles and rules to define the ideal behavior of its managers and employees in specific situations; in addition to that, every sector has its own prescriptions, best practices, and regulations. 

When evaluating your managers, ensure you focus simultaneously on general ethical principles (such as whether your managers treat employees with respect, whether they mismanage company funds, or whether they treat staff fairly)  and on areas that relate to your sector and specific business activity.

This will enable you to identify those managers who have a strong ethical compass, are able to uphold your company’s values and inspire employees, and are passionate about its success.

3. Performance

The best way to examine a manager’s performance is through measuring it with the help of different performance metrics. Performance metrics are data points you can use to track the activities, processes, and results of your business. 

When evaluating managers, collect data about their individual behaviors, performance, and activities, as well as those of their teams. Evaluate their performance over time and compare it with other teams and managers. 

More specifically, you could use metrics such as the volume of sales, number of active leads (and its progression with time), progress on specific projects, handling time, problem detection and resolution, downtime, absenteeism rates, overall performance, and more. 

The specific metrics you should use depend on the manager’s field. But before choosing them, ensure they fall within your manager’s control.

You can track as many data points as necessary for your business, but make sure you’re tracking the most relevant ones to keep your reports on point and not drown the meaningful data in an ocean of insignificant details. 

4. Lower-level employee satisfaction

While you might have a direct relationship with your managers, the success of your business depends to a large extent on the lower ranks of your workforce, or the employees who are responsible for the daily activities of your company. 

Otherwise said, the relationship between managers and teams goes both ways: Lower-level employees report to managers, but their managers are equally accountable to them. In fact, managers’ role is to serve their teams in a way that enables them to  perform well and deal with obstacles efficiently. 

This all means that team members can provide valuable insight into managers’ performance and capabilities.

Their level of satisfaction will give you a different perspective on your managers and will enable you to better assess their leadership skills. Essentially, employees’ feedback gives you the opportunity to make a holistic analysis of managers and determine if they are up to par.

How to conduct a manager’s evaluation?

Manager evaluations are beneficial if you want to gather detailed information about your managerial workforce, their teams, and their ability to meet objectives and deliver results. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to conduct a manager’s evaluation.

how to conduct a manager's evaluation

1. Identify performance goals

Firstly, you need to identify what you want to evaluate. For example, what are the tasks of your managers? Which ones need evaluation? The answer to this helps you identify your performance goals and what to look out for.

Identifying your performance goals allows you to concentrate on the areas that need evaluation and review, eliminating the stress of having to analyze everything and enabling you to concentrate on what matters most. 

Consequently, you’ll be equipped to make critical decisions on the specific performance goals that matter – and be able to define evaluation objectives that make the most sense for each manager. This ultimately streamlines the manager evaluation process and enables you to focus it on what you really need to evaluate.

2. Set clear objectives

Setting your objectives means stating what you hope to achieve at the end of the evaluation process. It’s similar to the previous step. However, the difference is that defining objectives will enable you to itemize different evaluation areas and make sure they’re aligned with your expectations before the assessment.

In other words, these objectives are the expected result of the process. For example, an objective could be to know the impact of your company’s new working conditions on managers. Another one could be to determine whether you need to adopt a new strategy to upscale production – and how to best achieve that with the help of your leadership team. 

These objectives would help define a clear pathway to follow, prevent you from wasting time, and keep you focused throughout the process.

3. Collect and track performance data

Data from your company records provide insight into how well a manager has performed over the years. It is beneficial in situations where you are seeking to assess managers’ performance objectively and over time. 

Plus, collecting and tracking performance data makes the managerial evaluation process much more transparent than simply relying on “gut feelings” or on others’ feedback. 

Depending on your goals, you can consider a variety of metrics you can use to gather data. Let’s say you want to identify a new business strategy for scaling your business. You can outline metrics like the number of active leads, the number of potential client contacts acquired, and the size of the average customer pool. 

Collating your managers’ track record for  these metrics would help you understand their performance and give you insights on how to help them improve in that specific direction.

4. Prepare for the assessment

At this stage, you should have enough information for an initial screening. With it, you can create respective files for your goals for each manager and their track record data.

Preparing all the data, materials, files, and tools you need to conduct the manager evaluation leaves little room for mistakes in the course of screening. 

At this stage, you can prepare an evaluation questionnaire or even decide to use a skills assessment with multiple tests. 

Skills tests aren’t used only in hiring; in fact, they can be an efficient method to evaluate employees and managers, too. They’re easy to set up and give you objective results, enabling you to fast-track the entire process. 

5. Ask clear and specific questions

Now comes the actual evaluation part. For this, you can:

  • Use a skills assessment

  • Interview the manager

  • Collect feedback from their team and other employees

During interviews, remember to ask clear and straightforward questions – those will make your evaluations much better. Vague questions defeat the purpose and won’t help you make an adequate assessment. 

Depending on the type of goods or services your company provides, you might want to examine the manager’s knowledge of them and use other general questions relevant to their specific role. 

So, for example, if you are looking to evaluate your project manager, you can ask project manager interview questions like, for example, to name three short-term goals they have achieved for the company as a project manager.

The answers they provide will provide new insights, show you how they think, and help you deepen the scope of the data you collect. 

6. Keep the process confidential

Keeping the evaluation process confidential lets you uncover information team members might not want to share publicly. For example, you might need specific information from the manager’s team and the best way to get it would be to guarantee their anonymity.

This way, you can build trust and be sure to get authentic feedback.

Managerial evaluations are highly sensitive and you should treat them as such. You might also want to tread with caution when speaking with lower-rank employees to not disclose critical information to them.

So, keep identities anonymous and make sure you protect sensitive company information.

7. Act on feedback

The entire evaluation would be useless if you don’t act on the results and feedback you get – after all, collecting enough feedback to be able to take specific actions is one of the main goals of the entire process. 

So, once you collect enough information, you need to analyze it, identify trends, and define the next steps.

According to Gallup, conducting regular feedback sessions can help companies reduce their turnover rate by 14.9%; additionally, teams whose managers received feedback on their strengths performed 12.5% better than teams whose managers didn’t get such feedback. 

Therefore, channeling your resources in a way that allows you to act on feedback and discuss it with your managers is key to helping them improve and become better leaders.

Revamp your managers’ performance with TestGorilla

Mid-level managers are the link between your leadership team and lower-level employees. For this reason, they are vital in making sure your business runs smoothly and that you can satisfy customers, and retain employees. But to evaluate them, you need the right tools for the job, such as skills assessments. 

With TestGorilla, you can select multiple tests from our Test Library, which contains over 30 tests for managers in various fields, plus dozens of role-specific tests. It is the perfect tool to upgrade your arsenal and perform effective, in-depth manager evaluations for all skills and areas of expertise.

Register for free today with TestGorilla to build a stress-free, objective, and unbiased manager evaluation process.


Hire the best candidates with TestGorilla

Create pre-employment assessments in minutes to screen candidates, save time, and hire the best talent.

The best advice in pre-employment testing, in your inbox.

No spam. Unsubscribe at any time.

TestGorilla Logo

Hire the best. No bias. No stress.

Our screening tests identify the best candidates and make your hiring decisions faster, easier, and bias-free.

Free resources

Anti-cheating checklist

This checklist covers key features you should look for when choosing a skills testing platform

Onboarding checklist

This resource will help you develop an onboarding checklist for new hires.

How to find candidates with strong attention to detail

How to assess your candidates' attention to detail.

How to get HR certified

Learn how to get human resources certified through HRCI or SHRM.

Improve quality of hire

Learn how you can improve the level of talent at your company.

Case study
Case study: How CapitalT reduces hiring bias

Learn how CapitalT reduced hiring bias with online skills assessments.

Resume screening guide

Learn how to make the resume process more efficient and more effective.

Recruiting metrics
Important recruitment metrics

Improve your hiring strategy with these 7 critical recruitment metrics.

Case study
Case study: How Sukhi reduces shortlisting time

Learn how Sukhi decreased time spent reviewing resumes by 83%!

12 pre-employment testing hacks

Hire more efficiently with these hacks that 99% of recruiters aren't using.

The benefits of diversity

Make a business case for diversity and inclusion initiatives with this data.