What is a self-evaluation? It is the process of reflecting on and analyzing your performance at work and building a base to improve your professional skills and future performance. Writing a self-evaluation can be extremely nerve-wracking for employees, irrespective of the position they hold in an organization. Traditionally, self-evaluation is undertaken during annual performance reviews. If done incorrectly, self-evaluation can result in achievements being missed or understated. On the other hand, achievements can sometimes be exaggerated during the process of self-evaluation.
When done with integrity and keeping self-improvement in mind, they are a great opportunity to reflect on your skills and areas of improvement. For managers carrying out performance reviews, self-evaluations are one of the best tools to understand employee motivations. They also work as a great foundation that helps managers build development plans for their teams.
The self-evaluation exercise can be incredibly effective, as it can help set individual and organizational goals. It can definitely help boost employee engagement. Let us delve deeper and understand how everyone can benefit from a self-evaluation exercise.
Why self-evaluations are important
Self-evaluations are a great way to help managers evaluate an employee and understand how to guide them to ensure performance improvement. Also, these assessments are a great way to assure employees that their opinions matter.
Typically, performance appraisals with a self-evaluation component are easy to finish and can have lasting positive impacts on both managers and employees.
How do employees benefit from self-evaluation?
As an employee, any opportunity you get to assess your strengths helps you outline your existing skills and highlight the skills you need to acquire. A self-evaluation exercise should ideally be considered an opportunity to work on yourself and your skills.
Often, the results of a self-evaluation exercise impact more than just a person’s professional outlook. They can also help improve a person’s communication skills and interpersonal relations within and outside the organization. Self-evaluation also allows employees to highlight their successes, which is a great way to gain more confidence.
Why is self-evaluation important during performance reviews?
From a manager’s perspective, self-evaluation could potentially shed light on areas that might have gone unnoticed. Managers get insights into how employees perceive their overall performance and gain more context about why employees perform the way they do.
They also allow managers to see how employees rank themselves alongside team members. A self-evaluation exercise eliminates assumptions and often helps address misunderstandings about an employee’s behavior or performance.
Well-structured performance review questions will allow managers to gather accurate information about what an employee wants. This helps finalize employee engagement and productivity improvement strategies.
When the information collected through self-evaluation activities is cross-referenced with other employee performance data, managers get the information needed to create personalized professional development programs. Such programs effectively address employee-specific issues and overall performance issues. This leads to consistent learning, directly impacting future performance.
Other advantages include:
- Employees become more accountable.
- People feel more valued.
- Improvements can be seen in capacity building.
- There is a boost in productivity.
How to write a strong self-evaluation report
1. Honesty is the best policy
As clichéd as that sounds, it is true. Talk about your successes and achievements. But also ensure you critically evaluate the areas in which you are lacking. Remember, this is an evaluation only of your professional skills. Give yourself the chance to learn from your shortcomings instead of trying to cover them up.
2. It is about how you can grow
You don’t have to be unduly introspective and attack your skills or submit a harsh critique to get the support you need to grow as a professional.
3. Shout out your achievements
This is a great opportunity to let people know what you think you’ve done right. Take the time to consider all the little things and look at how they add to the big picture. Don’t just say you have done well. Back it up with your achievements and explain how you contributed to the company’s goals.
4. Be specific
This is important. Do not gloss over the self-review details. Talk about specific strengths, explain how they helped you achieve results, and do the same with your weaknesses. Take it a step further and talk about how you think you can improve.
5. Align with your company
Often, aligning employees’ growth and performance with a company’s objectives is left to the management. Taking the responsibility of aligning yourself with your company’s objectives helps your managers and peers see you as a person with a solid, well-defined vision. Let your manager know that you know what is expected of you.
6. Orient your self-evaluation around improvement
This is not a document that merely points out your flaws and skills. Use the self-evaluation form as a blueprint for your professional development.
7. Track your progress
Let your manager know that you observe your performance at work. Employees who understand how well they are doing and, more importantly, where they stand are often the ones who receive more autonomy at work. Set goals and OKRs for yourself and track them.
Remember to be professional at all times. The more professional you are, the more everyone treats you with respect.
Examples you can use for your self-evaluation
Performance review templates vary from business to business. However, they generally focus on a few similar aspects of work. Here are a few examples you may consider using for your self-evaluation.
Teamwork and collaboration
- Strength: “I enjoy seeing my efforts contributing to the team’s output. It feels truly amazing when all our work results in something that changes lives. I like that my team knows that I am reliable and always get the job done.”
- Area for improvement: “I need to make more effort to know my team better. I know they are a great bunch, and they have been extremely nice. I just found out that John and I went to the same college, and we’ve been working together for a year! I am going to spend more time getting to know my team.”
- Strength: “The last product launch was slightly stressful. We were running four days behind schedule. Rearranging the batteries diagonally solved two problems, we did not have to add additional housing, which would have cost more time, and we were able to save on weight.”
- Area for improvement: “I wish I had brought up the idea sooner. It solved a problem, and I got a lot of credit. However, I need more confidence in my skills. I am going to take a course on Design Ergonomics to get the knowledge I need to do better.”
- Strength: "I'm great at blending in last-minute changes, be it for internal, company-related work or client-facing presentations. My strength is that I remain calm and quickly deliver what's expected of me, as well as adjust the script or pitch to accompany the work."
- Area for improvement: "I have trouble incorporating last-minute changes in a plan. I like being well-prepared, so when things change, I lose my composure. I'd love to work on this by participating in an improv workshop which might push me to think on-the-go."
- Strength: "One of my biggest assets is that I'm a creative and free-spirited person. Within team brainstorming meetings, I encourage my colleagues to be innovative and push a 'there's no such thing as a bad idea' attitude."
- Area for improvement: "I have a tendency to stick to what I'm familiar with, especially when it comes to a challenging project. To improve on this, I want to be able to discuss my ideas with my peers before sharing them with a client. This might help ensure that I am not limiting myself creatively."
- Strength: "Although I am an introvert, I have begun to work on my people and collaboration skills, especially via Slack. I feel comfortable using the tool to ask for help, or communicate concerns."
- Area for improvement: "I find that I struggle with putting across my thoughts when I am asked for my opinion. Since I tend to think visually, I think it would help me if I started writing down my thoughts before voicing my opinion."
Self-evaluation reports need not be done just once a year. You can conduct them more regularly. You could draw up concise versions of self-evaluation reports that can be conducted monthly. This data can contribute to your continuous feedback strategies.
Self-evaluations are important. They allow employees to share an accurate portrait of their performance. Use a modern performance management tool like Mesh to help your company boost employee development with real-time one-on-one meetings and social recognition. Book a free demo today!