What is self-evaluation?
Self-evaluations, sometimes referred to as self-assessments or appraisals, are questionnaires that help employees rate their own work performance. They are highly effective because they encourage the evaluation of one’s skills, strengths, challenges and goals. This method is often used before performance reviews to motivate employees to take ownership of their professional development. Self-evaluations are a positive tool for increasing job satisfaction because they provide a useful framework for articulating, assessing and improving performance.
Read: Employee Evaluation Form
How to create and use a self-evaluation template
Here is a list of steps to follow when developing and implementing an employee self-evaluation:
- Choose a format
- Include relevant questions
- Distribute regularly
- Review answers with employees
1. Choose a format
Employee self-evaluations are generally structured in two formats:
- Open-ended: Employees are given space for detailed, write-in responses. This format is more engaging and can open dialogue, but is also more time-consuming for employees and reviewers. If you manage a small team or want to invest in developing your employees, this format may be beneficial.
- Sliding scale: This format provides employees with definitive statements and a numbered scale to rate their levels of agreement. Though less engaging, it is more efficient and easier for reviewers who may wish to quantify departmental engagement and compare responses during performance reviews.
2. Include relevant questions
While many general questions work for most industries and roles, some employers may wish to tailor questions for their industry or company. Determine which insights will be most valuable and craft questions that initiate in-depth conversations. Self-assessments typically contain between five and 10 questions.
3. Distribute regularly
Most employers issue self-assessments before quarterly or annual performance reviews. This allows supervisors and employees to compare progress, maintain job satisfaction and set new goals.
4. Review answers with employees
Talk about self-evaluations with employees during performance reviews. Ask questions, address concerns and brainstorm possible solutions.
Self-evaluation example questions
Here is a list of potential questions for employee self-assessment forms:
- Are there responsibilities on your job description that you no longer hold?
- Have you taken on additional responsibilities that are not on your job description?
- What aspects of your job do you find most enjoyable?
- Which of your tasks or responsibilities do you wish you could change or eliminate?
- List contributions and achievements for this review period.
- What goals were you unable to accomplish? What would have helped you achieve them?
- What are some goals you want to achieve by the next review period?
- How can your manager assist you with your goals?
- How can this company support you with your goals?
- What are some of your long-term career goals?
- Are there parts of your job that you wish you could do less or more of?
- Do you have skills that aren’t fully utilized in your current role?
- How would you improve your department?
- How would you improve your performance?
- What skills could you develop through education, training or mentorship?
Here is a template of an open-ended self-assessment:
Assess your job performance over the past [performance review period] and provide answers to the following questions. Return the evaluation to your supervisor no later than [date].
1. Are there parts of your job that you wish you could do less or more of?
2. What contributions or achievements have you made during this review period?
3. Do you have skills that aren’t fully utilized in your current role?
4. Are there responsibilities on your job description that you no longer hold?
5. How would you improve your department?
6. How would you improve your performance?
7. Name 1-3 goals that you hope to achieve by the next review period.
8. List 1-5 long-term career goals.
9. Are there any resources that would help you improve your performance?
10. What skills could you develop through education, training or mentorship?
Here is an example of a completed employee sliding scale self-evaluation:
Name: Steve Caum
Supervisor: Caleb Jones
Assess your job performance for 1Q 2019 and provide answers to the following questions. Return the evaluation to your supervisor no later than 3/13/19.
Rate your agreement using the following scale:
1 – Strongly disagree
2 – Disagree
3 – Do not agree or disagree
4 – Agree
5 – Strongly agree
1. I enjoy the majority of the responsibilities and tasks associated with my position.
2. There are specific parts of my role that I prefer over others.
3. My job description is an accurate representation of my role and responsibilities.
4. I have contributed to my department and the company in a way that I’m proud of over the last quarter.
5. I have met my established goals over the last quarter.
Comments: Though I don’t feel like my performance has been poor, I am unhappy with the amount of work I’m able to accomplish in a day. I have been actively working towards improving my productivity by experimenting with different methods and strategies.
Here is a frequently asked question regarding self-evaluation:
Why is it important for employees to evaluate themselves?
Self-assessments prepare employees and supervisors for formal performance reviews. They encourage employees to think about different aspects of their role, work quality and goals.
What should I keep in mind when reviewing an employee’s self-evaluation if it’s negative?
In some cases, you may receive feedback that indicates dissatisfaction with a role or how a department is managed. First, make sure you get a full picture of the employee’s performance from colleagues, other departments, and customers, if appropriate. Review previous evaluations to see if there is any trend you can associate with changes in job responsibilities, processes, or your organization. Dissatisfaction can signal a poor fit for the role, boredom or a lack of motivation if career development seems unlikely. Be open and listen. Make the employee feel comfortable being candid and encourage on-going discussion to develop solutions. Ultimately, a negative self-assessment provides an opportunity to develop more engagement. Focus on ways to move forward such as initiating more training, increasing or offsetting responsibilities, or possibly, moving the employee to another role.