Self-Assessment: 5 Tips for Writing Your Performance Evaluation


    Communication is important for any team, and performance evaluations serve as a critical component to a well-functioning team. Performance evaluations make clear what is expected from both managers and employees in terms of productivity and workplace culture. One major aspect of the performance review is the self-assessment, which allows employees the opportunity to review themselves, their managers and their companies.

    Self-assessments offer several benefits. They show managers how an employee sees themselves within the overall organization as well as how they understand what is expected of them. It also shows how well the team has been communicating, because if an employee’s self-assessment differs wildly from a manager’s perspective, it becomes clear there is a misunderstanding. Finally, self-assessments grant employees the chance to offer feedback to their managers about what is working and what isn’t.

    “Modern employees are intrinsically motivated to work autonomously and by opportunities to learn and grow. So, from a management perspective, self-assessments  – which contribute to autonomy and development – are incredibly valuable,” said David Hassell, founder and CEO of 15Five. “Work product from employees who are intrinsically motivated tends to be more impactful and sustainable than work derived from extrinsic motivators, such as bonuses or fear tactics.”

    Looking in the mirror and offering an accurate evaluation is difficult, though. Employees often have a difficult time summarizing their work in an objective way; some are their own biggest critics, while others don’t scrutinize themselves enough.

    Here are five tips to make your self-evaluation a success during your next performance review.

    The main goal of the self-evaluation is to highlight your accomplishments. Employees need to point to specific tasks and projects that highlight their best work. When describing those accomplishments, employees should emphasize the impact those achievements had on the business as a whole to emphasize their value to the company.

    Julie Rieken, CEO of Applied Training Systems Inc., noted that employees should connect their actions with a manager’s goals. This type of alignment is encouraging to any manager and will result in recognition of an employee’s critical role within the company.

    “If your manager needs to hit a certain number, share how you played a role in hitting the number,” said Rieken. “Accomplishments you list should connect with business objectives.”

    Self-assessments aren’t just about pointing out triumphs. Employees should also critically assess the times they came up short. Being honest means pointing out areas that could be improved.

    Still, it’s important to not become self-deprecating in your assessment. Timothy Butler, a senior fellow and director of career development programs at Harvard Business School, advised employees to use developmental language when critiquing the areas in which they need to improve.

    “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.'”

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