Self-appraisal: What, Why and How?

We are all used to being judged by a lot of people – parents, teachers, and bosses. Sometimes we may feel we do not get to have our fair share of the argument. Self-appraisal, as the term suggests is the process where the employee reviews his/her own performance. It is a process in which employees are given the opportunity to scrutinize their own performance and assess their own strengths and weaknesses. In this way, they can find out their areas of improvement and make a list of their accomplishments over the year.

Why are self-appraisals so important?

While the self-appraisal process is considered as most dreadful and monotonous task by most employees it is one of the most robust processes and the introduction of self-appraisal process in an organization can provide enormous benefits if done precisely.

Here are the reasons why the self-appraisal process plays an important part in today’s high-flux organization structure-

  • A sense of motivation  When employees are given the opportunity to self-evaluate they feel empowered. They realize that their opinions do matter and are taken into consideration during performance review discussions. Each employee has active participation in the performance review process. This is also a good time to identify motivated employees according to the quality of goals set by themselves and their self-evaluations. A motivated workforce eventually yields a better output which is beneficial to the growth of an organization.
  • Ownership of work – For starters it gives them ownership of their work. It makes them more accountable for their actions. It takes the employee from being a passive observer to an active participant in the review process. Managers should take it as an opportunity to show their employees that their opinions are taken seriously.
  • Healthy employer-employee relationship – Self-appraisals helps in improving employer-employee relations in the workplace. Self-appraisals initiates an engaging and continuous conversation between employer and employees. Hence, there is no chance of conflict between employer and employee.
  • Two-way communication – Performance management works best when there is two-way communication between the manager and the employee. This is often overlooked in their day to day interactions. Self-appraisals can formalize this interaction to a great extent. Self-appraisal process paves way for two-way communication between employer and employee. This helps in revealing the overall performance of employees. It gives deeper insights and a clear picture of employees’ accomplishments as well as weaknesses in certain areas.
  • Eliminates discrepancies– Managers always have a different perspective than the employee. Even managers who work closely with their teams cannot always see the employee’s side of the story. This is why sometimes managers are caught off-guard during performance review meetings where she and her employer have a completely different perception of her performance. Since self-appraisals provides a complete picture of employees strengths and weakness it helps in removing discrepancies if any. Both employer and employee match their records to ensure that all accomplishments and drawbacks are taken into consideration during the final performance review. Therefore it eliminates the chances of disparity.
  • Career growth – While performing self-appraisals employees get to know their strengths and weaknesses. They identify the areas in which they are weak and need improvements. The training needs are revealed. The can also list down the roles which they enjoyed, projects they loved doing, future preferences. These inputs can be provided to managers for better career prospects. Self-appraisal is an opportunity for the employee not only to tell his boss about his achievements but also problems that he is facing and what he requires from the management to perform better. Even if self-appraisals do not have any impact on compensation, it can certainly help the employee grow.

How to write a great self-appraisal

A good place to start is to look at your last self-appraisal and think how the management had acknowledged it. If the response from the management was not that good, maybe this time you should rethink and avoid the same mistakes.
Focus on your positives and use the company guidelines to format your self-review. Instead of talking about your faults, talk about the areas you need to improve and maybe also ask for some training. Follow the tips below to ace that performance appraisal.

1. Ask your manager what the appraisal is for 
Before you get started to ask your manager what it will be used for. Will it play a major role in your review? Will it be used to decide your raise or promotion? Or will it be shown to other managers and executives? This will give you a better idea of what you want to accomplish when you write the self-review.

2. Talk about your accomplishments 
You should try to concentrate on your accomplishments rather than your failures. But do not overemphasize your contributions; neither should you downplay your success. Write down the objectives you were given and how efficiently you had accomplished them. Don’t be afraid to get specific with examples.

3.  Acknowledge your mistakes  
Own up to what you did wrong. But do not give them a noose to hang you with. Do not blame others for your failures. Try and put an ‘I would like to develop more’ spin on it. Tell them about which areas you would like to improve. You can also ask for additional training from the company.

4. Keep them focused 
Define what role you were in, what the company’s expectation from that role was and how you fulfilled it. If there were some targets that you could not meet, talk about how you intend to change that next year.

5. Be professional 
Make sure there are no spelling mistakes and that you have maintained a professional tone throughout the document. Do not exaggerate your accomplishments or downfalls. It should be concise and balanced.

6. Ask for what you need 
If there are certain parts of your job you are more interested in, ask how you can get involved in those roles more in the coming year. You can ask to be included in certain meetings or ask for funding so that you can take a course on something that might benefit the company in the future.

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