Management

Everything You Need To Know About Employee Self-Evaluations

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Everything You Need To Know About Employee Self-Evaluations
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Everything You Need To Know About Employee Self-Evaluations

Ah, the performance review. A classic Human Resources pillar that has some of us roll our eyes and others filled with excitement. Possibly the most confronting part of the performance review is the self-evaluation. It’s a task where an employee answers a series of reflection-provoking questions about their strengths, weaknesses, accomplishments, goals, and inspirations at work. It is a balance of showcasing our achievements and owning our blunders.

While employees and managers alike dread this, often awkward, practice, self-evaluations can significantly contribute to both individual and organization success – if done right.

So, how do we get employee self-evaluations right?

We’ve put together the ultimate guide to employee self-evaluations. We will help you understand the benefits and drawbacks of employee self-evaluations, how to get the most out of them, what to do and what to avoid.

Self Evaluation

Five benefits of self-evaluations

Self-evaluations can have some fantastic benefits to both an employee and their organization. Allowing employees to get involved in the performance review process supports self-awareness, accountability, and goal setting. Here are five exciting benefits of self-evaluations to help you see the event differently:

1. Develop Self-Awareness

Self-evaluations are an exercise in self-awareness, depicting your ability to recognize your strengths and weaknesses. Self-aware employees positively affect an organization’s bottom line, so it’s pretty essential to possess and develop this skill.

2. Promote honesty and improvement

Self-evaluations empower employees to evaluate their performance and fix problems in a non-judgemental way, giving a sense of control. The New York Times points out that self-evaluations provide an outlet for employees to identify areas of weakness, allowing a manager to give employees the support they need to improve and, ultimately, further the company’s strategic mission.

3. Encourage goal-setting and long-term achievement.

By understanding an employee’s goals and ambitions, the organization can better help put them on the right track to achieve them. It also records an employee’s accomplishments and efforts over a given period, creating a valuable benchmark for setting goals and implementing improvements.

4. Develops two-way communication that encourages accountability.

Self-evaluations give employees a voice during performance reviews and help them stay accountable for their achievements and missteps. It also allows managers to understand how their employees perceive ‘good performance,’ helping to align their definitions better if there are discrepancies. `

5. Self-evaluations can help employees show their managers they care.

Employees can show their organizations that they take their careers seriously by putting effort and thought into self-evaluations. Proudly showing off their successes and milestones, acknowledging and owning where their performances may have fallen short, and creating a realistic plan for overcoming challenges, shows that you are not thoughtless at work and care about who you are in your organization.

The drawbacks of self-evaluations

Self-evaluations have some prevalent shortcomings. It’s important to be aware of these drawbacks to help overcome them and make self-evaluations work for you. Here are the three most prominent disadvantages and what you can do to mitigate their negative effect:

1. Objectivity is difficult for employees.

According to the Harvard Business Review, individuals can be pretty terrible at assessing their performance, with poor performers more likely to give themselves even more inaccurate appraisals. To overcome this, keep a record of your accomplishments over the period, be honest and utilize proof when writing your self-evaluation. Evidence can include metrics, communication, and appraisal.

Conflict can arise from varying perceptions

2. Conflict can arise from varying perceptions.

It can get a bit awkward when there are discrepancies between the ratings you’ve given yourself and what your manager has given you. Keeping track of your accomplishments will save you here again. As long as you are truthful and speak to your proven actions, this situation can be avoided or disproven.

3. It can be a scapegoat for managers to place the performance review onus on employees.

Managers are responsible for monitoring and recording employee performance. Unfortunately, managers can sometimes neglect their employee evaluation and performance monitoring role with self-evaluations, relying on the employee’s self-perception. To overcome this, regularly ask for feedback on your performance and initiate discussions on your successes when they happen.

Ultimately, the benefits of self-evaluations outweigh the disadvantages. Successful employee self-evaluations can help align you with management and your organization, improving your long-term career success.

Let’s get into how to make your self-evaluation reflect your impressive contributions while realistically speaking to your performance.

Here’s how to make your self-evaluation great:

How to make your self-evaluation great

1. Prepare

To prepare for your self-evaluation, here are some helpful steps you can take:

  • Look back at your job description and any goals that you set out for yourself. Evaluate how your daily tasks and overall performance align with your job description and the goals that you set.
  • If you haven’t yet, begin tracking your accomplishments at work in detail. Gather any proof or records you have that can back up your victories. These can include emails, messages, documents, and insight reports. Consider how your achievements have directly contributed to the organization’s success.
  • Reflect on the feedback you’ve received from people at work, including peers, managers, and direct reports. If you aren’t getting much feedback, try and initiate a feedback loop with your peers.

2. Be proud, honest, and critical.

While filling out a self-evaluation feels foreign to most of us, here are some tips to remember to help your evaluation truly reflect your performance:

  • It can feel a bit weird to sing our praises. But this is the perfect time to boast about what you have accomplished at work. Highlight your accomplishments and milestones, try to make them specific, contextual into the broader organization, and honest.
  • Ask yourself some hard questions that assess your skill-set. Be honest about where you may have come up short this year and how you can be better in the future.
  • Culture Amp outlines some models that help describe your performance in a self-evaluation. It states you should structure your feedback around these elements:
    • Situation: Describe the circumstance and be specific.
    • Behavior: Describe the observable behavior.
    • Impact: Explain how the action has affected the team or organization.

3. Ask questions

Be prepared to ask your manager questions about your performance. You can ask which areas in your performance need improvement, their perception of your success and accomplishments, and how you can better contribute to your team. This is also a great time to discuss your career map, where your manager sees you going, and how they help you get there.

Ask questions

4. Consider your goals

While you are reflecting on the time that has passed since your last performance review, it is essential that you also consider the goals that you would like to achieve going forward during the following performance evaluation period.

Research indicates that employees are highly motivated when there is a 50% chance of achieving a goal. Setting goals can help you work towards something, improving your performance at work.

The SMART goals method is a step-by-step process that ensures you set obtainable goals that will motivate you. They can be performance-oriented or in regards to your professional development. Here is how to ensure your goal is SMART:

1. Specific
Your goal should be specific so that they don’t overwhelm you and aren’t too difficult to accomplish.

2. Measurable
Having a measurable goal is evident when you have reached it or are close to achieving it.

3. Attainable
Your goal should have the right level of stretch. It should be realistic and attainable while challenging enough to give you a sense of achievement when you accomplish it.

4. Relevant
The goal should always be relevant to your company’s strategic mission and broader goals. Appropriate goals ensure that the goals are productive and contribute to success. It should also be something that you have complete control over.

5. Time-bound
The goal should have a deadline that is realistic and achievable. In addition to a target date to complete your goal, it’s great to have milestones as well so you can track your progress.

Once you’ve set your SMART goal, it’s a good idea to get feedback on your goals from your manager. Feedback can help ensure that your goals align with theirs and the broader organization’s and give you a different perspective on your ambitions.

5. Give honest feedback

While it can seem quite intimidating to return the feedback to your superiors or your organization, you are qualified to share your thoughts and observations as an employee. And you should! You’re helping to better the organization so go for it. You do want to ensure that any feedback you give is constructive, professional, and realistic.

Here are some things to avoid in your self-evaluation:

Things to avoid in your self-evaluation

Don’t assume

You might assume that your manager is fully aware of all your extraordinary successes – don’t! Be explicit but honest when describing your accomplishments and their significance.

Don’t exaggerate

While this isn’t the time to be modest, you also don’t want to exaggerate your efforts and achievements. Doing so could discredit you, so be realistic and authentic. Use metrics to give proven and trackable measurements of your accomplishments and success where possible.

Don’t leave it until the last minute.

You might think that your self-evaluation is something you can write at the last minute, drawing on whatever comes to mind first. That wouldn’t be wise. Your self-evaluation can help your career development and personal growth, so give it your all.

Don’t blame and shame.

Self-evaluations aren’t the time to bring up concerns or annoyances that you have had with your coworkers. It is about your performance. If something comes up that you feel defensive about, truthfully speak to your experience without throwing others under the bus.

Don’t be afraid to own your shortcomings.

None of us are perfect all the time. It’s okay and beneficial to know and own your weaknesses. Take it a step further and identify how you are going to turn them into strengths. When you get critical feedback, make sure that you acknowledge and embrace it.

Self-evaluations present the opportunity to show our employers that we value our jobs and take our careers seriously. While they can be a bit of a drainer in our already busy schedules, they don’t have to be. They can minimize the stress that accompanies the performance review process by making it a two-way conversation. Ultimately, self-evaluations allow you to take time to appreciate all that you have achieved, how far you have come, and what waits ahead.

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