Prepare a superb self assessment

As we approach mid-year, many companies have put in place a mid-year review for checking on progress against goals etc. These tips will help employees prepare for their self-assessment as well as managers who want to give advice to their team members on preparing for the discussion. Don’t hesitate to use the print button at the bottom of this post and you can save it as pdf and distribute it in your organisation if you like.

So here are the tips :

Focus on your achievements

An effective employee self assessment should obviously pinpoint your accomplishments. Review your goals and objectives, and highlight the projects that you achieved most successfully – and those that are well on track.

Armed with your documentation, don’t forget to include elements that happened at the beginning of the review period. This is a good way of demonstrating to your manager that you have been a consistent achiever and that you bring value to the organization throughout the year.

Think in the same way as a business owner would, and attract attention to the financials. This section of your employee self assessment should stress your impact on growing revenues or controlling costs. It is your chance to remind your manager, and the company, of the positive impact that you bring to the survival of the organization. A subtle way to get a bit more consideration in these times of economic duress and headcount reductions…

Then, establish your achievements in new areas of responsibility. This is usually in the form projects you worked on, whether as a leader or a team member. Or maybe you replaced a colleague for an extended period of time, or you went through further education and received a certification in a new field. This will manifest that you are able to grow your skills and are willing to take on new challenges.

Finally, based on your job description, determine your realizations in your on-going areas of responsibility.

Assess your weaknesses

Now – a credible employee self assessment requires to be honest and candid, and take a long, hard look at the things you did not accomplish so well. They can be related to your objectives, to your current and standard role attributes, or to behaviours (feedback from your peers and customers is useful for identifying these).

Identify reasons that may help you to understand why you did not perform at the expected level. Find an example of how you approached each area for improvement. This will show to your manager that not only are you aware of gaps in your performance, but that you are taking action, and that you can and have improved in this specific area. You may also prepare some proposals for you to tackle the issue, ready for discussion when your manager will mention it during your appraisal meeting.

By acknowledging this sensitive area in your employee self assessment, you will demonstrate to your manager that you are self-aware, able to handle constructive feedback, and dedicated to your professional growth. And by being ready, it will likely offset most of your naturally defensive reaction when faced with your manager’s comments.

A free tool

If you struggle with identifying your strengths and weaknesses, or ideas how to address them, you may find this quick and easy free tool from Salary.com useful.

After selecting your job, you have to identify the competencies related to it, both general/common to all job holders in that position, and some that are more specific/optional. Then you are asked to rate your performance on a scale from 0 to 100, for each of these competencies. A detailed description is available for each competency, including questions you may want to consider in order to define your self assessment for that specific trait.

A graphic will then show up, displaying each competency as well as an overall performance rating.

Your strongest areas, as per your perception, are then explained. So are your areas for improvement, again as per your self perception. Each of these descriptions include some advice. An overview of next steps, and how you could use these results, concludes the exercise.

Put it in writing

Your employee self assessment is your opportunity to shine. Remember that you are in control of what you write, so it is up to you how the self-evaluation will be perceived.

Use a positive tone and do not use negative words. Don’t belittle your work, your achievements, your efforts. When you mention an area for improvement, always explain the steps you are taking or planning to take in order to increase your performance in that sphere.

Remember that this is a business tool. Do some number crunching, and extract data that demonstrates clearly the impact that your work has had on the company. Your boss will probably not do that for you, so it is up to you to quantify, as much as possible, your contribution to the business.

Focus on expressing your work as a series of accomplishments, not duties. Duties are boring, they describe a static situation and do not allow to characterize yourself as a good performer.

For example, compare the following sentences :

  • Supervised the activities of 5 experienced Marketing professionals, vs
  • Under my supervision, a new social media strategy was implemented, which resulted in a 22% increase in the number of leads transmitted to the sales force.
  • OR… Provided timely and accurate financial reports, vs
  • Identified several sources of errors in the reporting system, which led to more accurate report generation and will reduce the risk of inaccurate forecasting in future budget projections

See ? Even if your role is not directly impacting the company bottom line, you can find a way to quantify your results and showcase the positive effect your work has on the organizational success.

Final comments

Once your review of the past is finished, you will want to include some comments and suggestions about the future.

If needed, propose some amendments to your goals for the remainder of the year. Try to anticipate what the burning issues are for your company and your manager, and suggest how you can be a part of the solution.

Also include a plan to tackle any shortcomings. Don’t forget to list resources you are lacking and may need, or the kind of additional support you require to reach these goals. It could be training, temporary or permanent headcount, mentoring, access to information… By highlighting these, you are giving a chance to your manager to help you succeed, and therefore succeed himself, as goals are normally cascaded in the organization.

In short, a well written employee self assessment :

  • Recapitulates past goals
  • Showcases your most significant achievements, emphasizing why these accomplishments matter, and clearly reinforcing when your behavior made a positive difference in the outcome of a critical situation.
  • Acknowledges challenges in some areas, and offers a plan to improve subsequent performance.
  • And offers your perspective on the upcoming year and how you can contribute to the achievement of the company strategy.

You are now ready to share this self assessment with your manager, ahead of your mid-year appraisal meeting.

 

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