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Conducting Great Performance Reviews

For clubs, performance reviews are a cornerstone of effective team member management and development. When conducted well, they can enhance productivity, clarify expectations, and foster professional growth. The key to a successful performance review lies in balancing robust systems, streamlined processes, and empathetic delivery.

1. Building a Strong System

The foundation of an effective performance review is a well-designed system. Your performance review system should include clear, objective criteria that align with the club’s goals and values. Key components of a robust performance review system include:

  • Clear Objectives: Define what success looks like for various roles. Objectives should be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-framed (SMART).

  • Consistent Metrics: Establish standardised metrics to evaluate performance. These should be quantifiable and relevant to the team member’s responsibilities.

  • Regular Feedback: Plan and implement a system for ongoing feedback. This helps team members understand their progress and areas for improvement before the formal review.

  • Training for Reviewers: Equip managers with the skills to conduct fair and effective reviews. Training should cover objective assessment, bias avoidance, and constructive feedback techniques.

A strong system ensures that performance reviews are structured and based on objective data rather than subjective opinions, reducing bias and fostering fairness.

2. Streamlining the Process

Even the best system can falter without an efficient process. A streamlined performance review process ensures that reviews are conducted regularly and efficiently, without becoming a bureaucratic burden. Key steps include:

  • Scheduling and Planning: Set a regular schedule for performance reviews, whether quarterly, biannually, or annually. Ensure that both you, as the manager and your team members have ample time to prepare.

  • Documentation: Maintain comprehensive records of performance metrics, feedback, and goals. This documentation provides a factual basis for the review and tracks progress.

  • Preparation: Encourage team members to self-assess and prepare for the review. Managers should also review documentation and feedback to provide a well-rounded evaluation.

  • Structure: Use a structured format for the review meeting, beginning with an overview of performance, followed by specific feedback, and concluding with goal-setting and action plans.

A streamlined process minimises the administrative load and keeps the focus on meaningful conversations about performance and development.

3. Mastering Delivery

The delivery of a performance review is where the system and process come to life. Effective delivery requires empathy, clarity, and a focus on growth. Here are some best practices:

  • Create a Positive Environment: Choose a comfortable setting and start the review on a positive note. Recognise achievements and express appreciation for the team member’s efforts.

  • Be Specific and Objective: Provide specific examples to support feedback. Avoid vague statements and focus on observable behaviours and outcomes.

  • Listen Actively: Encourage the team member to share their perspective. Listen without interrupting and validate their feelings. This fosters a two-way conversation rather than a one-sided evaluation.

  • Focus on Development: Highlight areas for improvement with a growth mindset. Frame feedback in terms of opportunities for development rather than shortcomings.

  • Set Clear Goals: Collaboratively set realistic and actionable goals. Ensure that these goals are aligned with both the team member’s career aspirations and the club’s objectives.

  • Follow-Up: Establish a follow-up plan to review progress. Regular check-ins help sustain momentum and demonstrate ongoing support.

Effective delivery transforms performance reviews from a dreaded obligation into a constructive dialogue that benefits both the team member and the club.

Balancing Systems, Processes, and Delivery

Achieving the right balance between systems, processes, and delivery is crucial for conducting great performance reviews. A strong system provides the foundation of fairness and consistency. Streamlined processes ensure efficiency and regularity. Empathetic delivery fosters a positive and productive review experience.

Clubs should continuously refine their performance review practices based on feedback from both managers and team members. Regularly reviewing and updating the system, simplifying the process, and training managers in effective delivery are essential steps toward maintaining a high standard of performance reviews.

Performance reviews are an essential tool for a club’s success. By building a robust system, streamlining the process, and mastering the delivery, club managers can ensure that performance reviews are not only effective but also a catalyst for growth and development. The balance between these elements creates a fair, efficient, and empowering review experience that drives both the individual and your club’s organisational progress.


To assist Club Managers develop and/or maintain their leadership and management skills, elevateB, in partnership with the CMAA offers the:-


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