Most employees tend to find the performance appraisal process super nerve-racking, and many of them don’t look forward to it. Other than the thought of sitting with your manager to discuss your overall performance, one of the biggest reasons behind their nervousness and anxiety is having to fill out a self-evaluation form.

Self-evaluations bring forward a lot of hesitation among employees because naturally, you don’t want to praise yourself too much nor be too critical about your weaknesses and problem areas.

However, regardless of their bad reputation, self-evaluations form such an integral part of performance review and should be taken seriously by both the manager as well as the employee.

To help employees and managers understand why self-evaluations are a vital part of the annual performance review process, take a look at this comprehensive guide that will explain everything about self-evaluations

What Are Self-Evaluations?

As the name implies, self-evaluations are important tools that help employees identify their strengths and weaknesses. Self-evaluations are also often referred to as self-performance reviews, given how they focus on individual performance and progress.

More than that, they help employees prepare for their performance appraisal meeting to be able to pave the way towards professional development.

When filling out an employee self-evaluation form, employees are required to reflect on the past year in terms of their achievements so that they are able to set both career and work goals.

Purpose of Self-Evaluations

The basic or primary purpose of a self-evaluation is to pave the way to effective and constructive communication between the manager and the employees about the latter’s overall performance at the job.

It is the ideal time or opportunity for both the manager and employee to discuss the following important details:

  • The quality of the work that an employee accomplished during the specified time frame.
  • The amount of work or the number of objectives and goals that an employee managed to finish during the said time period.
  • An employee’s business goals for the evaluation time period.
  • Future goals and objectives to boost performance and growth in the upcoming year.
  • The next essential steps that both managers and employees need to take for not only their personal development but also professional development required in the job.

Importance and Benefits of Self-Evaluations

Self-evaluations aren’t just useful for employees, but they are quite beneficial for managers as well.

It’s not uncommon for employees to consider self-evaluation as a box that they just need to tick during the performance review process that occurs at the end of each year. Some might even consider it to be a waste of time, and the chances are they don’t even fill the form seriously and do it just because they are asked to do so.

However, it is important to understand here that there’s a clear and essential purpose of employee self-evaluations. The document serves multiple benefits not only for the HR department and your manager but most importantly, for you.

For Managers

The self-assessment process offers numerous benefits for managers that include the following:

  • It shows them what and how employees see themselves in terms of the team and the organization as a whole.
  • It provides them useful feedback about an employee’s performance, strengths, weaknesses and motivators.
  • It creates a comparison between what employees think of themselves in contrast with what their managers think about them.
  • It helps managers focus on the little details about an employee’s traits, career-orientation, motivation towards work and factors that demotivate them, among many other things.
  • It serves as a reminder for managers about an employee’s struggles, challenges, accomplishments and success at work.
  • It keeps them updated and well-informed about an employee’s achievements and shortcomings.

For Employees

Similarly, self-evaluation brings many benefits for the employees as well, such as:

  • It allows them to reflect on their past accomplishments and mistakes by looking at the bigger picture.
  • It gives them an opportunity to keep track of all the past work-related activities that took place in the previous year.
  • By reflecting on their past performance, it provides employees with a starting point to decide career goals and objectives for the future.
  • It serves as a foundation for a possible salary raise and even a promotion.
  • It motivates employees to take accountability for their weaknesses and strengths while reflecting on everything that they have achieved during a specific period of time.
  • It highlights potential discrepancies that are likely to occur between a manager’s and an employee’s perceptions about their performance.
  • It has the ability to motivate an employee to perform better and strive harder to accomplish set goals and objectives.

Tips for Writing Solid and Effective Self-Evaluations

As an employee, your approach towards a self-evaluation form can make a massive difference in the performance review process.

You need to ensure that you write a solid and highly effective self-assessment based on honesty and transparency, but in a way that motivates you to do better.

As a manager, you must understand that self-evaluations are only as powerful as the entire process that goes on behind them. What this means is that you need to provide your employees with clear and direct guidelines as to how to fill an employee self-evaluation form so that they know exactly how to about the process and also that they collect all the necessary information for the annual review.

We’ve rounded up some key and effective tips for writing good self-evaluations and different things to keep into consideration when writing one.

Take Pride in Your Accomplishments

It’s not just about identifying your challenges and weaknesses but more about mentioning your accomplishments and taking pride in them.

You want to highlight your successes and achievements and be proud of what you have achieved so far at your work. Note here that there’s a fine line between bragging and taking pride, so it’s essential that you maintain that line of difference.

Make sure to emphasize on particular projects or tasks that are surely worth mentioning based on your contributions and valuable efforts towards them.

The ultimate idea here is to recollect all milestones and achievements that occurred during your professional development, which is also a great way to motivate oneself to perform even better the next year.

Review Your Job Description

In case you aren’t sure of how to go about the employee self-evaluation, it is best to review your job description.

Your job description will be able to help you recollect past information on the basis of your duties, responsibilities and overall tasks, as well as the skills that you’ve enhanced over time.

Be Honest

As mentioned earlier, self-evaluations focus on both your strengths as well as your shortcomings. While you highlight your accomplishments and strengths, you must also be honest and transparent about your weaknesses. As you reflect on your past performance, don’t hesitate at all to mention where you went wrong or what you could have possibly done right.

Point out your mistakes and errors with honesty, and it would be a great plus if you also mention plans and solutions for improvement or correcting the problem areas.

Take a Professional Approach

One of the key requirements of a good self-evaluation is being professional about it. The whole performance appraisal itself is a professional process, so it is best if you take the same approach when filling out or writing an employee evaluation form.

Being professional means taking the evaluation seriously, not criticizing your manager, your colleagues, not being personal about anything or anyone and being more positive overall.

Also, it includes giving examples to support your statements and assertions and taking the process seriously.

Take Your Time

There’s absolutely no need to rush through the self-evaluation, and it’s essential that you take your time while writing it.

Review all your work and collect data and information required for the performance review, or even track down information in case you aren’t able to remember particular details.

Once you are done writing it, go through it properly in order to see if you’ve managed to cover everything or if there are some details missing from it. The chances are that if you come back to it after a few days, you might be able to spot any changes or issues that need to be fixed.

Mention Your Challenges and Your Growth

A solid self-evaluation consists of many things, one of which is the challenges that you faced in your job and how you overcame or solved them. This particular bit will paint you as a great problem-solver and will put you in a positive light.

Another important thing that deserves a mention in the self-evaluation is your overall growth and everything that you’ve learned during the course of your job.

After all, learning is such a core component of your professional career, given how it is directly related to improvement and progress. So, it’s a great idea to share everything that you have learned that has served as an aid in your performance.

Look Forward to Growth Opportunities

A self-assessment forms the foundation of professional development and growth opportunities, so when you are writing your self-evaluation, make sure to look forward to and ask for growth opportunities. It could include several things such as registering for a conference, attending a training session or taking up a course that’s relevant to your job, for instance.

The idea here is to let your manager or supervisor know that you are always willing to learn more and go the extra mile when it comes to your job. The chances are that they will really appreciate your enthusiasm and will be interested to expand your skillset or add bigger and better goals for you in the performance review.

Ask for Guidance and Feedback

There are many organizations and companies where employers don’t necessarily provide direction or guidance to their employees. In such instances, it is important that you ask for feedback and guidance from your manager to ensure that you are on the right track.

During the performance appraisal, try to open a dialogue with your manager where you ask them to set up a system in which they provide you continuous feedback and assessment to help you become better in your job. You can mention the very same in your self-evaluation, which will not only show that you are eager to learn but will also make your manager feel important.

Set SMART Goals for the Future

Apart from reviewing past goal achievements and accomplishments in your self-evaluation, you must also set goals for the future. Make sure to draft SMART goals, which is an acronym for Smart, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-Bound.

Defining future goals is one of the most vital aspects of self-evaluations because it will help you figure out what you want to achieve in your job, and more than that, it will allow you to set certain milestones for the future as well.

Do’s and Don’ts of Self-Evaluations

There’s no denying the fact that self-evaluations lead to effective communication, engagement, and self-reflection, which are three key factors that help employees learn more about themselves and how well they are doing at their job.

Having an excellent performance review and being able to write a strong self-evaluation ultimately comes down to your ability to be organized, critical, and honest.

Take a look at the dos and don’ts of self-evaluations that you must bear in mind when writing one.

The Dos

  • Document literally everything, including your challenges, failures, shortcomings, weaknesses, strengths, successes, accomplishments and achievements.
  • Make sure to incorporate feedback that you receive from others, be it meaningful quotes or testimonials, to let the manager know what other people at work think of you.
  • Focus on the highlights of the past year in terms of your achievements and identify the major concerns when it comes to the challenges that you faced in your job.
  • It’s okay to get a second opinion on your self-evaluation either from a family member, friend, or colleague at work. They can help you identify potential mistakes or errors and also make sure that your overall tone is constructive and depicts positivity.
  • Ask for help and guidance from your manager, especially if you are someone who experiences nervousness and anxiety about doing it face-to-face during the annual review. Use it as an opportunity to ask for help without any hesitation.
  • Give feedback where needed because self-evaluations aren’t only about discussing your work but also offering your opinion to your company. It could possibly be about how the company operates or if you and the other team members feel that the organization should change something about how it works. The chances are that if multiple employees come forward with the same feedback, your manager will have to take notice and make necessary changes.

The Don’ts

  • Don’t simply make a bulleted list about your strengths and achievements because not only does that look unprofessional, but it goes to show that you don’t take self-evaluations very seriously.
  • Don’t make typing mistakes or ‘typos’ and grammatical mistakes in your self-evaluation because, again, it comes off as highly unprofessional. Always proofread before turning in the self-evaluation form.
  • Don’t resort to blame games no matter how tempted you are to defend yourself when questioned by your supervisor or manager. Offer practical explanations and let them know that you are willing to become better and work harder instead of blaming others for mistakes or shortcomings.
  • Don’t attend the performance appraisal meeting unprepared because chances are your manager might pinpoint certain details during the annual review, which you will have to answer accordingly. So, it is best to be prepared since self-evaluation is primarily about self-reflection.

Three Major Focus Areas of a Self-Evaluation

When you begin writing your self-evaluation and jotting down essential details and information, there are three major focus areas that you must pay attention to.

These include the following:

Things that you should keep doing this includes all those things that have helped you in your journey of professional development and growth and have fostered better working relationships. It could be your work ethic, the extra working hours that you put in, or your positive approach towards situations, for instance.

Things that you need to stop doing are there certain things that have negatively affected your performance? If yes, you need to stop doing them because they aren’t doing you any good. For instance, coming late to work, resorting to blame games in teamwork, being too careless about work and many others.

Things that you need to start doing  do you think there are some things you should do that you aren’t doing? Identify things that you think can possibly better your performance and enhance your overall achievements so that you can start doing them right away.

Key Takeaway

Self-evaluation is imperative when it comes to annual performance reviews and the overall performance management system of an organization. It not only helps establish vital career goals but paves the way to professional development and engages both employees and managers in positive and constructive communication.