What are self-evaluations, and why are they important?
Self-evaluations, also called self-performance reviews, are an appraisal of a person’s own strengths and weaknesses.
When people complete self-evaluations, they’re asked to identify achievements they’re proud of, instances when they met or exceeded their goals, examples of how they expanded their skill set and areas where they may need to improve. These assessments generally cover a specific performance review period, such as a quarter or a year.
A self-evaluation has multiple advantages for both employees and employers:
- It allows employees to demonstrate their accomplishments.
- It helps managers stay informed about their employees’ strengths and achievements.
- It motivates employees to take ownership of their strengths and weaknesses.
- It helps quantify the value an employee offers.
Your employees want to be able to celebrate their victories while receiving clear directions regarding what you expect in the future. A self-work performance review gives them a chance to take a few victory laps while offering valuable insights you can use to see how your employees define their purpose within your organization. You may be too focused on your own duties to notice the hard work each team member puts into specific projects and deadlines, and self-reviews highlight this information so you can offer well-deserved recognition.
When you ask workers to offer criticism of themselves, it becomes much more constructive because they show they’re willing to improve. Their assessment of their own performance may also review intangible qualities you might want to use in a different department or for a new job opening.
Tips for effective self-evaluations
Give employees clear guidelines so they can highlight the information you’re looking for. Their reviews can only be as effective as the instructions you provide. Keep in mind that some people are able to perform reviews easily while others may struggle to identify weaknesses. Outline what you expect in the review so they have the proper motivation to complete their assessments.
Consider these instructions to make it easier for workers to complete their self-performance reviews:
1. Be specific
Vagueness dilutes the insights you gain by requiring a self-review. Ask your workers to give specific examples of their accomplishments and use concrete figures.
Self-assessment example: “I consistently exceeded my monthly sales quota by an average of 18% and finished the quarter at $20,000 over my target revenue goal.”
2. Set aside plenty of time
Provide a time frame to complete evaluations and set a due date. Don’t force people to rush their evaluations by asking them to respond too quickly. A good amount of time to perform self-evaluations is about three to four weeks.
3. Review the job description
Have your employees review their job descriptions and offer an assessment of how well they’ve met expectations for the role. They may show you examples of how they’ve gone above and beyond that may justify considering them for a promotion, raise or bonus. In other cases, they may admit they’re struggling to meet expectations and ask you to provide clearer expectations and support.
4. Tie in organizational goals
Ask employees to demonstrate how their efforts and achievements contributed toward company objectives. This is especially important for team members who want to make a case for a promotion or salary increase.
Self-assessment example: “This year, ABC Company has been focused on increasing client retention. At the end of Q2, I built and launched an email win-back campaign that brought $50,000 in sales from lost customers and another $25,000 in sales from current customers in Q3 alone.”
5. Use the STAR method
Suggest that employees use the STAR method when writing their self-evaluations to demonstrate the impact of their work. STAR stands for Situation, Task, Action and Result. This simple framework for structuring a self-assessment highlights the specific action the employee took (not the team as a whole) and what the final outcome of their contribution was.
6. Define the next steps
Ask employees to come up with strategies on their own regarding how they may improve upon their weaknesses. If they’re struggling with something specific, they might let you know their personal plan for improvement and whether you can help them become more efficient.
7. Keep a log
Once your employees become used to the frequency of self-evaluations, advise them to make notes and journals throughout the year to help them write their reviews. It can be difficult to remember specifics when writing about an event that happened months ago, and this gives a good refresher for when reviews come up again.
Work self-evaluation examples
Here are a few self-evaluation examples that implement the tips above:
Customer service representative
“In the past year as a customer service representative for ABC Company, I’ve increased my customer satisfaction rate by 37%. Because I know efficiency has been increasingly critical to the organization, I’ve worked hard to memorize frequently asked questions, which helped me reduce my hold time by 20%.
After reflecting on my performance, I noticed that while my ability to build rapport with customers helps me maintain my favorable customer satisfaction ranking, I stay on the phone too long. I can increase my call-per-hour rate by at least 10% next quarter without negatively impacting customer satisfaction if I strive to reduce each call length by 15 seconds.
I helped onboard several members in my department as a trainee mentor. I think my achievements qualify me to become a Customer Service Team Leader.”
“I am very proud of what I’ve accomplished over the past six months, which includes launching a new industry research report and helping bring several new team members into the organization. We launched collaborative products with Company XYZ and QRS Inc, resulting in an ROI of 125% compared with last year. My efforts have increased the output of our sales by $4 million.
I noticed that I need to manage my team more effectively by learning to trust my team with more responsibility. I’m not taking full advantage of their skills and may be limiting their career advancement opportunity by taking on too much personal responsibility. I believe that I can improve by meeting with my team more frequently and delegating more tasks to sales representatives and team leads.
I’d like the opportunity to improve my skill set by enrolling in training sessions online. I feel that this will make me a more effective manager and help me learn how to continue my success amid a rapidly evolving sales market.”
“After I completed the massive bug fix in July, the chief product officer commended me for maintaining a calm demeanor, which he said helped keep the rest of the team focused and on-task. I also represented ABC Company at a hackathon this summer and attended a networking event where I helped the company secure two new clients.
In terms of areas for improvement, I’ve recognized the need to increase my time management skills. I’ve started using time tracking software to help me identify inefficiencies throughout my workday. I’ve already raised my efficiency rate by 17%.
In terms of professional development, I’d like to take on more managerial or mentorship responsibilities in my day-to-day work. Next quarter, I plan on taking organizational psychology and emotional intelligence courses to learn more about setting goals, managing expectations and what motivates people.”
Self-evaluations help employees become aware of their strengths and weaknesses and commit to their career development. Using these tips and self-assessment examples can help you to develop an effective self-assessment process.
Self Evaluation Template for PDF & Word
Check out our employee schedule template for creating an organized schedule for your employees.
Frequently asked questions about self-evaluations at work
How often should a company ask for self-performance reviews?
Businesses often ask their employees to complete self-assessments once or twice per year. Asking for them too frequently doesn’t allow your team enough time to demonstrate progress between reviews, but not asking for them often enough makes it difficult for your employees to recall specific accomplishments and weaknesses to review.
Should employers replace employee performance reviews with self-assessments?
Employee performance reviews are still valuable tools companies use to let employees know what’s expected of them. Self-performance reviews are best used with other evaluations; you see how workers see their contributions before you offer your own feedback.
How long should a self-evaluation be?
You shouldn’t ask employees to write long reviews. Encourage them to keep their evaluations about a page long at most so that they offer the most relevant information without any unnecessary tangents. This simplifies the process and makes it easier to review everyone’s self-evaluation.