A self-assessment by an employee is an integral part of most performance reviews. While the employers’ portion of the review usually carries more weight, it is important that they get a feeling for how the employee thinks he or she is performing in the job. Self-assessments, also known as self-appraisals or self-evaluations, give employees the opportunity to share with their bosses the work they have done since their last review, how they have performed on those tasks, areas they feel they can improve on and what their supervisors can do to help them do their job better.
The goal of a self-evaluation for employees is to help remind employers of all the great work they have done over the last six months or year and how hard they have been working. Most managers usually have several people reporting to them, which can make it hard for them to remember exactly all the work each one has done. While they might have a general grasp of the work their employees are accomplishing, the self-assessment provides employees the chance to make sure their hard work does not go unnoticed.
It is also the perfect opportunity for employees to show their managers that they understand where their shortcomings are and what tasks they need to improve. While no one likes to point out their areas of weakness, some employers actually have more respect for their staff members who do because it shows they are cognizant of the work they are doing and know they have room to improve. Employees who think they are doing great in all areas of their job are often too shortsighted to understand that, in reality, they aren’t living up to expectations, which is a trait most businesses could do without.
Writing a self-assessment
Writing a self-evaluation can be a difficult process for many employees. Despite knowing themselves and the work they have done better than anyone, employees can struggle to put it all down on a paper in a way that comes off as objective.
Be proud. The main aspect of the appraisal is to highlight accomplishments. Employees need to ensure that the work they are most proud of is highlighted in their self-evaluation. Employees need to point to specific tasks and projects that they did their best work on. When talking up those accomplishments, employees should be sure to emphasize the impact each of those had on the business as a whole as a way to show how valuable their work is to the company.
Be concise. While employees might be inclined to write about each step of the successful project or task, their best bet is to be concise. The work should stand on its own. This just a time to make sure the boss remembers that they did it.
Be honest. Honesty is another critical aspect of writing a self-review. More than likely, the boss knows better than anyone when a good job was done, so trying to highlight a project or task that was just okay, rather than great, won’t have much impact. In fact, it likely will show those in charge that the employee doesn’t truly have a grasp on his or her own performance and what type of work qualifies as just okay and what is consider good or great.
Part of being honest also means pointing out some areas that could be improved. Timothy Butler, a senior fellow and the director of Career Development Programs at Harvard Business School, advises employees to use developmental language when critiquing the areas they need to improve on.
“You don’t want to say, ‘Here’s where I really fall down,'” Butler told the Harvard Business Review. “Instead, say ‘Here’s an area I want to work on. This is what I’ve learned. This is what we should do going forward.'”
Butler also encourages employees to use their self-evaluations as a time to ask their boss for career development opportunities, even if the employer isn’t asking the employee for it.
“Because if you don’t ask, it’s not going to happen,” Butler said.
Be professional. Finally, employees need to remember to always be professional when writing a self-assessment. This means not using it as an opportunity to bash the boss for poor leadership skills or co-workers for making their life more difficult.
Patricia Lotich, founder of The Thriving Small Business, wrote on Technorati that manager who are honest with themselves are the first to recognize that there are times when they make mistakes, and they don’t appreciate when a subordinate shines a light on their weakness.
“Being diplomatic is your best course of defense,” Lotich wrote. “Keep your personal opinions to yourself – you’ll probably be glad you did.”