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Crafting a Winning Self-Evaluation: Tips for Success

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Self-assessments are part of the performance evaluation process and have been around for several decades. The concept gained popularity as organizations wanted to foster a culture of self-improvement and employee engagement. Writing a self-assessment is often associated with reluctance, anxiety and fear. Some people find it difficult to brag about their achievements and point out their greatest weaknesses. However, this process should be a positive experience for both managers and employees.

Self-assessments are not just status updates or a way to praise yourself and point out mistakes. It's an opportunity for employees to better understand their work and the areas they need to work on. They perfectly complement performance reviews because employees have the opportunity to write down anything they think is important. This approach promotes a well-rounded performance review. Let us further understand why self-assessments are necessary.

Are self-assessments necessary?

In short, yes. They are necessary. A study of 30 years of performance management research found that performance management leads to greater success when employees are involved. Because it is a two-way process, bias is reduced. However, this is just the tip of the iceberg, as there are numerous other advantages:

  1. It leads to better performance: As a 2020 study of executive feedback showed, self-assessments help focus on future actions, which ultimately leads to better performance. When employees write their self-assessments, they reflect on their highs and lows. This helps them understand what they still have to learn.
  2. Empowers employees: When employees have the opportunity to reflect on their accomplishments, strengths, career goals, and development opportunities, they feel more successful. This strengthens your belief in your own abilities and therefore your self-confidence.
  3. Improves teamwork: Employees understand how they contribute to the team's overall goals. They can identify the areas where they could have contributed better to the team's success.
  4. Evaluates the entire annual period: The self-assessment is not a one-time event,  Employees must write their self-assessments at regular intervals. This gives you an overall overview of the performance, improvements and successes of the entire year, which ultimately prevents past bias.

The areas on which self-assessment has an impact:

Writing a self-appraisal impacts different areas of an employee and the company. Smarty, for example, has incredibly low employee turnover. It has fostered a strong culture of self-assessment and two-way communication, resulting in a 97% retention rate. This proves that by encouraging self-assessment, companies achieve measurable results. It also has a visible effect on employees:

  • The entire performance evaluation process. Both managers and employees can get an overall view of performance and have a fair conversation. It promotes transparency and increases the effectiveness of performance appraisals.
  • In this process, employees become aware of the areas that they need to work on in order to develop further. By reflecting on their strengths and weaknesses, they can identify learning opportunities.
  • When employees think about what they need to work on, they set goals for their future. With their help, they can create a roadmap on how to improve their skills to become better at their jobs. This makes planning professional development easier.
  • Self-assessment impacts the individual's career path. When employees better understand their strengths, they can identify better opportunities and shape their careers positively.
  • Employee retention is increased. Individuals feel recognized when they have the opportunity to evaluate their own performance and participate in the performance evaluation process.

Before we dive into how to write a self-assessment, let's quickly understand what makes them so effective.

What makes self-assessments more effective?

Both managers and employees face challenges that make self-assessments ineffective. A main reason is that employees find it difficult to evaluate themselves objectively. They find it difficult to recognize their strengths and weaknesses and to exaggerate or downplay their contributions. There are other reasons such as: limited information and fear of negative consequences that lead to ineffective self-evaluations. To overcome these challenges:

Connect them with OKRs

Self-assessments are more future-oriented when employees reflect on their past performance and compare their opportunities for improvement with upcoming goals. This ensures that the self-assessment is aligned with the company's goals.

Write them monthly

Self-assessments are a powerful tool and should not only be written at the time of performance review. Regular self-assessments are important for continuous improvement and ongoing feedback. This also improves communication between managers and employees.

Be critical

Employees should identify both strengths and weaknesses honestly and accurately. Use examples, measurable results, and achievements to demonstrate contributions. Maintain a positive tone when writing about weaknesses and show your commitment to improving.

Include insights from colleagues

Reach out to colleagues whose opinions you value and write down specific examples that you can include in your self-assessment. Look for patterns and be open to criticism. This step helps find blind spots that you may not have been aware of.

Paving the way to growth - reflecting before evaluating

Self-evaluations become overly positive or negative when employees don't take the time to reflect before writing. They then have a limited view of their performance, which leads to bias. When employees don't reflect, they miss the opportunity to improve and grow professionally. Below are some areas for employees to think about:

1.Understanding the nature of self-assessment

Knowing the type used will help in making an appropriate self-assessment. For example, some companies ask open-ended questions and ask employees to talk about their goals, weaknesses, successes, etc. Most companies use a rating system, employees rate themselves on a scale of 1 to 5. A hybrid self-assessment is a combination of the two methods mentioned above. This is a very recognized form of self-assessment that is also used by SHRM.

2.Be aware of how self-assessment is used

It is important to know how to use self-assessment. It can be used for performance reviews, bonuses, promotions, etc. With this knowledge, a self-assessment can be designed according to its purpose.

3.List the achievements of the past year

This is where employees should sit back and take time to reflect on what they have accomplished over the past year. You can start by listing everything that comes to mind and then highlight the essentials. The achievements that the employee is most proud of and that were also beneficial to the team.

4.Include challenges

A self-assessment can only be balanced if it also includes the challenges. Employees should make sure that the challenges are about the work and not about themselves. The strategies used to address these challenges must also be provided with examples.

5.Collect analytics

When listing successes and challenges, it is important to include quantifiable data wherever possible.

6.Take some time to figure out how you assess overall performance

Employees should note from their own knowledge how they believe their work aligns with the organization's goals. Next, he should get opinions from different people and take notes. This information can be used to create an unfiltered version that can be easily organized later.

Starting to Write Your Self-Assessment: Where to Start?

Now that we have the unfiltered version ready along with the feedback from all sides, let's learn how to write a self-assessment.

1.Review OKRs

OKRs are measurable goals that are set at the beginning of the assessment period. By going through the goals set and reflecting on the progress made, the goals achieved, and the areas the employee did not achieve, the employee can better understand their performance. Most self-evaluation forms ask employees to list their goals.

2.What contributions distinguish an employee

In the part where the employee has to write down how their contributions make them stand out among their colleagues, they can highlight them along with the data. This is the case if the employee has gone beyond their usual duties.

3.How the work done relates to a larger whole

This question is often asked when the self-assessment is based on open-ended questions. Employees can take time to discuss how their contributions contribute to the success of the team and organization.

4.Highlighting key achievements (from the list created above)

Employees can write down their key accomplishments from the first draft. These achievements should be supported with data where appropriate.

5.Use a positive tone when describing challenges

Write only the main challenges that occurred at work. It's important to maintain a positive tone without being overly critical. If the format allows, you should also indicate what actions the employee is taking to resolve the issues.

6.Include feedback from others

Testimonials and quotes from other employees can be included in the self-assessment. This increases credibility.

7.Talk about areas for improvement

From the challenges listed above, some areas should be mentioned that the employee should work on in the upcoming performance cycles or months.

8.List action items

Finally, write down the actions for the next month or period.

Sample self-assessment

Although the type of self-assessment varies from company to company, most of them contain all of the above elements. Below is a pattern that can be used in any format.

Employee name: Charlie

Position: Product Marketing Manager


1.Describe your key achievements from the last reporting period/month.
I have led three successful marketing campaigns that resulted in a 25% increase in sales. I implemented data-driven strategies that increased customer retention by 35%. These successes contributed to sales growth and improved brand awareness.
2.What were the biggest challenges during this time? How did you solve them?
I faced some challenges caused by the pandemic. I adapted to the market disruptions with digital marketing initiatives. I encouraged cross-team collaboration and ensured project continuity.
3.What areas do you think should be improved?
Some areas for improvement include increasing task delegation, ensuring autonomy, and encouraging self-improvement within the team.
4.On a scale of 1 to 5, how good would you rate yourself in the following areas:
Completion of work within the specified time frame - 5
Collaboration with the team - 4
Achieving all goals - 5
Satisfaction with completed tasks - 4
5.Define your goals/actions for the next period.
The aim is to increase sales by 40% through creative marketing techniques, optimizing campaigns and reviewing customer feedback analyzes to improve products.
6.Explain how your manager can help you.
I need help accessing analytics training and customer research resources. Implementation of learning programs and workshops to promote careers.

Plan career growth with self-assessment

When discussing opportunities for improvement, employees should focus on professional development. It must be linked to improving their performance in their current job. The employee should first think about where they want to be in the next 5 years and what goals they are pursuing. He should then identify where he currently stands and list the gaps between his current and desired skills, abilities and knowledge. This helps in requesting additional support from management, e.g. in the form of training, workshops, etc. This information can be used to have a meaningful conversation with the manager.

Further strengthen your self-assessment with IceHrm

With IceHrm's Performance Management System, you can easily collect input from various sources using the 360-degree feedback system and incorporate it into your self-assessment. This will give you a clear picture of your contribution and your added value. You can also set goals at the beginning of the period and review them as needed. Set goals that align with your career goals, team, and development areas. IceHrm offers other functions, such as: E.g. continuous feedback, 1:1 discussions, analysis, etc.

Unlock your potential with self-assessment in performance evaluations. IceHrm simplifies the process for enhanced employee growth.

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