Fine Tune Your Performance Review

Re-evaluate your association’s top AE assessment policy and procedures.

Every REALTOR® association executive will receive a performance review in 2017 to comply with the Core Standards. If you’re like many AEs, this will be your first review in a long time and for some it will be your first review ever. It’s natural to feel nervous, but remember that the goal of the review is not to find fault but to more clearly define your role and set expectations for the future.

The Standard stipulates that associations with paid staff not only must adopt policies and procedures for conducting annual performance reviews, but must have conducted that review by the certification deadline, which is Dec. 31, 2017, for the current cycle.

Although the Core Standards do not specify the details, the content, or the procedure for a review, NAR has a wide variety of resources available on to help you and your directors plan for and conduct a professional review.

Who to review?

The annual performance appraisal requirement applies only to the chief executive at associations with paid staff. Although a recent addition to the Core Standards requires associations with no paid staff to have the volunteer leader follow the continuing education requirement that applies to AEs, volunteer leaders are not subject to the performance review obligation. Adding a provision to your financial policies or employee manual clearly establishing the association’s chief staff annual review policy will ensure consistency over time.

Who does the reviewing?

The chief staff performance evaluation process varies from association to association, depending on each association’s organizational goals, size, and distinct character. At some organizations, a volunteer committee conducts the review while at others, it is the job of the board of directors. In any case, consistency is important: some members of the evaluation committee should carry over from year to year. The composition of the evaluation committee should be documented in association policy.

What is considered in the review?

If you do not have a current job description or clearly defined duties within your organization, misconceptions about your role may surface in the review. Will one reviewer evaluate you on your leadership abilities while another measures you on the successful of the annual conference?

Ideally the goals and objectives you’ll be evaluated against were established during last year’s evaluation. But for those new to the process, evaluation criteria could include achievement of results outlined in the strategic plan, adherence to budget, association compliance with the Core Standards, and criteria related to style and operations. Fortunately, there are 16 sample review forms specific to the role of the REALTOR® AE available in Word format at (search for “sample evaluation forms”).

Even if your annual review is planned for later this year, now is the time to establish the content of your review.

How to conduct a fair review?

A review is fair only when you and your leaders agree on what your job is. This is often the hardest part of the review process. If your job isn’t already clearly defined in a written document, refer leaders to the sample AE job descriptions on (search for “custom AE job descriptions”) that are established according to the three kinds of associations: administrative, management, and leadership. Also refer to the checklist-of-duties document that details whether the AE or the president is responsible for certain tasks (

Since many AEs will receive their first performance review this year, and their job descriptions may not have been updated or complete, disputes can arise. Seek out guidance from an employment law attorney or HR professional (such as Kevin Watkins at NAR, before the review if performance issues need to be addressed or documented. Your review policy should include the opportunity for an appeal. Your written rebuttal of your review will become part of the evaluation. All performance reviews are confidential.

Does a review lead to a raise?

Although a review policy or employment contract may include the opportunity for a salary increase or performance bonus, the Core Standards does not require this. NAR’s Strategic Association Management department (312-329-8311) can help you benchmark your salary against trends in the industry and provide resources and tips for asking for a raise. It is recommended that associations conduct benchmarking on all positions every two to three years.

Visit the HR Toolkit at for more performance review resources.

Notice: The information on this page may not be current. The archive is a collection of content previously published on one or more NAR web properties. Archive pages are not updated and may no longer be accurate. Users must independently verify the accuracy and currency of the information found here. The National Association of REALTORS® disclaims all liability for any loss or injury resulting from the use of the information or data found on this page.


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