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 usually 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 advance their skills further. Generally, these assessments 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’s essential that employees have an opportunity to share some of their favorite achievements, such as a challenging project they completed or how they’ve helped the team or organization meet specific goals and objectives. Highlighting these accomplishments helps employees feel recognized for their efforts and gives them insight into the types of work they find most fulfilling.
- It helps managers stay informed about their employees’ strengths and achievements. Leaders aren’t always aware of all the contributions each employee makes to the team’s success. It can also be challenging to remember individual accomplishments, especially those that happened several weeks or months in the past. Asking employees to cite their achievements helps managers stay aware of each team member’s strengths, skills and the value they provide.
- It motivates employees to take ownership of their strengths and weaknesses. When an employee reflects on the work they’ve completed over a specific period, they become more aware of where they’re most successful and which areas need improvement. Taking time for reflection can help team members find new opportunities to apply their best strengths while also identifying where they may need to focus their skill-building efforts. For example, they may find new uses for existing talents, or they may recognize how a lack of skills in a certain area is preventing them from maximizing their efficiency.
- It helps to quantify the value an employee offers. Performance reviews are an excellent time to reassess an employees’ compensation and career trajectory and determine whether they’ve earned a raise or promotion. Self-evaluations prompt employees to pinpoint exactly how they add value to the organization and whether or not they’ve demonstrated the skills necessary to take on additional responsibilities. This can help set better expectations around whether or not an employee has qualified for a pay increase or a more senior role.
Tips for effective self-evaluations
A self-assessment is only as powerful as the process behind it. In other words, it’s essential you give employees clear guidelines so they can find and organize the necessary information for their performance reviews.
While some employees may be able to quickly recall their greatest accomplishments or possess enough self-awareness to easily identify their weaknesses, others may need more assistance. By outlining your expectations, you can help ensure team members complete a thorough and effective self-evaluation.
Here are six things you can ask employees to keep in mind as they reflect on their performance:
1. Be specific
It’s important that employees provide exact facts and figures whenever possible and stay away from vague statements like, “I met my sales quota” or “I provided a positive customer experience,” which don’t provide clear insight into performance. Instead, they should cite precise numbers based on the metrics your team or organization considers most valuable.
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
Managers should give employees a due date and parameters for their self-evaluation several weeks in advance. This will ensure team members have sufficient time to review their work and gather all the necessary data and examples. In most cases, employees need more than a few days to track down information and reflect on their various strengths and weaknesses.
3. Review the job description
If employees aren’t sure what to evaluate, their job description is a good place to start. This will help team members identify which duties they’ve excelled in, skills they’ve enhanced and job functions they could do better. If an employee is interested in earning a promotion, they may find it helpful to review the job description of the role they want to determine whether or not they’re qualified — and if they aren’t, how they can begin building the necessary skills and experience.
4. Make connections to organizational goals
To help employees communicate their value, it’s crucial for them to demonstrate how their efforts and achievements contributed towards 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 influenced $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. With this method, employees briefly describe the Situation or Task, the Action they took to accomplish it and the Results they achieved. 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 next steps
While much of a self-performance review focuses on looking backward and reflecting on top achievements, this is also a great opportunity to set goals and intentions for the future. Employees should finish their evaluation by sharing how they’ll apply their strengths to improve outcomes while also identifying how they’ll improve upon weaknesses through skill-building, education and adopting better habits.
It can also be helpful to ask employees to keep a log of their achievements throughout the year and record each time they meet a goal or perform above expectations. This way, when it comes time for self-evaluations, they’ll have a ready-made list and won’t forget any crucial accomplishments.
Here are a few self evaluation for performance review 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 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 tend to make calls last longer than they should. By decreasing my talk time by 15 seconds per call, I believe I can increase my call-per-hour rate by at least 10% next quarter without negatively impacting customer satisfaction.
After my previous performance review, I began serving as a trainee mentor and assisted in onboarding nine new representatives, all of whom finished their first quarter above goal. Given this experience and my commitment to improving, I would like to discuss a potential promotion to Customer Service Team Leader.”
“After taking time to evaluate my performance, I would like to highlight a few of my best achievements from the past quarter. At the beginning of the period, I spearheaded the launch of our organization’s first industry research report. My promotional efforts helped secure a speaking engagement for the CMO at two national conferences, which will help the company meet its annual objective of increasing industry exposure. Additionally, I assisted in overhauling our paid search program and helped procure and onboard a new data partner. As a result, our paid search efforts’ ROI has increased by 120% year over year and influenced $6 million in sales of our newest service line.
This quarter, I noticed that I haven’t been delegating enough work to junior members of the team. Passing more projects to the marketing coordinators will help me become more efficient while also providing them more opportunities for skill building and career development. Additionally, I believe meeting with the sales managers bi-weekly instead of monthly will help improve cross-department communication and ensure marketing campaigns are better aligned with the sales departments’ goals.
By the end of next quarter, my goal is to improve my knowledge of UX/UI practices by taking an online training session. I’ve been working more closely with the UX/UI team in the past few months and want to be able to collaborate more effectively to achieve our team’s goals.”
“I work hard to maintain a positive attitude, even during challenging projects and stressful circumstances. 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 are critical to helping employees become aware of their strengths and weaknesses and more committed to their career development. By using these tips and self assessment examples, you can begin developing an effective self-assessment process as part of your company’s performance evaluations.