You’re familiar with annual performance reviews and self-assessments, right? These are typically conducted by organizations to increase employee engagement, reward positive contributions, and initiate performance improvement plans. Performance reviews were considered a management responsibility in previous years. Back then, the employee might have had little say in the review process.
Today, it is much more common for employees to write a performance evaluation self-assessment. This document allows them to reflect on successes and failures of the past year. They may also use it to develop their goals and future plans.
Never drafted one up before? Here’s what you need to know about writing a self-assessment in five easy steps.
Follow a simple format.
When you write a performance evaluation, it goes in your employee file and can be referenced by HR at any time. Your writing should be clear and organized so that anyone who reads it can quickly pick out the key information that you want to present. There are five topics that you should cover in your self-assessment:
- Listing your accomplishments and giving specific examples of what you achieved during the past year, and comparing those to your target performance goals
- Detailing your strengths, what you feel you brought to the organization, and explaining the “how” of the results that you achieved
- Reflecting on your weaknesses or mistakes and how you can improve and develop to avoid repeating them in the future
- Setting goals for the future in your current role that are linked to improving your worst areas of performance or emphasizing your best areas of performance
- Setting goals for your professional development within the organization, such as identifying another role that you would like to advance into and determining what training or other action steps are needed to get there
Make it easy by writing a single paragraph that explains each point. Some may be longer than others, and that’s okay. Just try not to spend an entire page talking about your accomplishments. Leave extra space for additional discussion.
Get your facts straight.
Facts are the most important part of a performance evaluation self-assessment. Managers and employees don’t always have aligned perceptions of how the employee is performing in their role.
However, numbers and results can help clear any confusion up. Your performance evaluation self-assessment is where you want to present data that highlights your achievements of the past year.
If you know that you will have to write a self-assessment, start taking notes in advance. Write down your specific achievements throughout the year. Record details like dates and times, such as “November 30th – This month I achieved 125% of my sales target. My manager emailed to say I did a very good job. I was ranked 3rd in the company for sales this month.”
You can also make notes when things don’t go your way – “I had two sales meetings today and I didn’t close either of them. Closing has been a weakness for me this month, I’m at just 55%.”
Draft a simple outline where you jot down what specific things you’d like to talk about in each section. If you take notes throughout the year, you won’t be left wondering what to write about when it’s time for your performance self-evaluation.
Be detailed, specific and personal.
It’s important to leave discussions about your team members out of individual performance reviews. Remember that this is about your performance, not theirs.
When you give examples of your accomplishments, be specific and provide evidence to back up your claims. The evidence you offer should show how you contributed throughout the year. This is why taking notes is such a valuable practice.
When you describe an event that happened this year, think about answering the when, what, where, why and how – make it easy for your manager to understand exactly what happened. Take notes on it yourself, then put it into sentence form. Use this following example to help guide you.
- When: November 30th
- What: Received sales results – ranked 3rd in company with 125% of goal
- Where: set record for my territory, 3rd in company,
- Why: because I was motivated to help our customers
- How: by responding quickly to inbound sales calls and customer requests and up-selling efficiently
“My best achievement this year happened in November when I sold 125% of my sales target. This was the highest percentage ever achieved in the territory. I was 3rd in the company for sales that month. The achievement made me feel happy to help our customers. It also motivated me to give them the best experience possible that reflects well on our organization. I made it a focus to respond to all inbound calls and requests within 12 hours. As a result, I was able to talk to a lot of warm leads and sell more products than ever before.”
Be honest with your manager and yourself.
Self-assessment is a skill, and it requires us to be honest with ourselves when we look at what we’ve accomplished in the past and what we want for the future. It’s easy to tout your accomplishments with honesty, but you can really impress your manager by effectively identifying your weaknesses and opportunities for improvement, and creating a strategy to help you get there.
Let your manager know what goals you’d like to achieve for the coming year. Reflect on the part of your job that you enjoyed the most and talk about it. If there is another role at your organization where you could do that more, ask about moving there in the future. Mention your biggest challenges at work and how your manager can help you overcome them.
Don’t forget to submit your self-assessment on time!
Your manager needs enough time to review it before your performance appraisal meeting. Good luck!
As the Head of Marketing at ClearCompany, Sara Pollock has spent hundreds of hours interviewing, hiring, onboarding, and assessing employees and candidates. She is passionate about sharing the best practices she has learned from both successes and failures in talent acquisition and management.