Private-Club_Employment_Reviews

Performance management has never been as important as it is now. If you love your job and you want to keep it, or if you have a great CEO/GM or department head that you want to keep, this article is for you.

I’m astounded at how many managers of great clubs haven’t had a review from their board in five years (or more!). I’m shocked when managers are let go and say they had no idea it was coming. I’m always floored when department heads share that they haven’t had any feedback from their supervisor(s) for months on end.

Feedback is the breakfast of champions. It should not be feared; it should be thought of as fuel and here’s why…

I came up in the industry with few reviews and little feedback from my supervisors. In my first year as GM/CEO of The Club at Mediterra, my board initiated my first 360-degree review. Fifty people, including board members, committee members, department heads and line-level employees, shared what they thought were my strengths and areas of growth opportunities.

I vividly remember receiving the report from my club president … all 99 pages of it. At first, I was defensive, but after sitting with the comments for a bit, I was grateful. I was appreciative of the board members, many of whom were successful high-level CEOs, for their insight on my leadership, and I was grateful to my teammates for their honesty.

I grew exponentially from that experience. My confidence was boosted by the positive things people said about me, and I took the initiative to work on and improve what they said were my areas of growth.

Feedback is about alignment and evolution; without it, you will never be at your best. It’s the reason top-performing clubs are constantly analyzing their approach and providing feedback to continually evolve and improve their performance.

I’m often shocked by the lack of reviews and performance-based conversations because they are crucial to a person’s success. If you aren’t giving and receiving feedback regularly, you aren’t doing yourself any favors. You are doing a disservice to yourself, your team and your club by avoiding a tremendous growth opportunity.

If you aren’t giving your direct reports feedback, you aren’t raising their bar or pushing them to grow. If your board and team aren’t giving you feedback, they aren’t helping you develop.

Shirlene Industrious (pictured left), my former HR director at The Club at Mediterra, says, “It’s healthy for you to know where you stand and it’s healthy for you to share your insight with your team. It may be uncomfortable for some of your direct reports to receive your feedback but they need it; some even crave it.

“It’s up to you to show them where their growth opportunities are and assist them in creating roadmaps to achieving their goals. Collaborating with them on defining the necessary benchmarks fosters a healthy, proactive working environment. Create an atmosphere of self-awareness because feedback is critical to everyone throughout the entire chain of your club.”

I get it, reviews are time-consuming and they may be intimidating. If you’re overwhelmed by a 360-degree review, start with an employee satisfaction survey. Like a member survey, it’s important to know where your people stand and what they think of working at the club.

An employee survey pinpoints the gap between what leaders believe and reality. It’s a great way to get a read on the leadership team, culture of the club and the overall happiness of employees. When you receive the scores of the employee survey, you can identify areas of improvement or concern.

“If you have key staff that you can’t imagine operating the club without, then don’t take them for granted,” Industrious says. “It’s not just the complainers you need to pay attention and focus your efforts towards. You have to constantly water ‘the tree’ because it may be green one day and brown the next. Employee engagement can fade at times; continuous feedback is essential for the people you want to keep around.”

Attracting and retaining great employees is a challenge in any industry, but providing guidance and growth opportunities is the way to keep your employees happy. Regular reviews, stay interviews, healthy feedback on performance and insight on your own leadership will help you get people to stay.

It’s the reason I urge club leaders to set a board policy to ensure that reviews of the board, the GM and department heads happen annually at minimum. If it’s not board mandated, there’s no guarantee it will happen.

It’s essential that everyone at the club gives feedback to those they work for and gets feedback from those who work for them. And it should happen no less than once a year. Best-practice clubs are giving and receiving feedback on an ongoing basis and it is evident in their performance.

As a GM, if you fear receiving feedback, you may need a shift in your perception. There is comfort in knowing where you stand with your board and your team. Feedback provides direction and alignment to areas of focus. Positive annual reviews are an excellent documentation of your past performance for future club presidents and even other job opportunities.

Giving and receiving feedback is essential to your career and your growth as a leader; your development is an evolution, not a revolution. Not seeking feedback from your board and your employees puts you at a disadvantage. If you want to be a great leader who is performing at the height of your game, make giving and receiving feedback part of everything that you do.

About the author….

Tom Wallace, is a partner with KOPPLIN KUEBLER & WALLACE, a consulting firm providing executive search, strategic planning and data analysis services to the private club and hospitality industries. Tom can be contacted at tom@kkandw.com.

THE BOARDROOM MAGAZINE – March/April 2022

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