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How to Complete a Performance Review Self-Evaluation

We recently published a blog post on how organizations can make self-evaluations part of the performance review process. Asking employees to review themselves makes them an active participant in their evaluation. Instead of sitting down with their manager and being told how they are performing, they can bring their thoughts to the meeting and have a back-and-forth discussion. Employees are more receptive to their performance reviews when they’re given the opportunity to highlight work and results they’re proud of.

We now want to help those employees by providing advice on how they can best complete their self-evaluation. Being asked to review yourself can be intimidating. On one hand, you want to make sure your evaluation accounts for everything you achieved throughout the review period. But on the other, you don’t want to come across as unaware of how you can improve.

Don’t worry, we’re here to help. Follow the tips outlined in this blog post and you’ll complete a well-rounded self-evaluation that will lead to a productive conversation with your manager. 

Start by considering your role responsibilities and objectives

The hardest part of completing a self-evaluation is figuring out where to start. You’ve done a lot of work during the review period and need to determine what is worth mentioning and what isn’t relevant.

Start high-level and consider what you were asked to achieve when you stepped into your role. Hopefully, your manager assigned you specific goals that you can use as the baseline for your self-evaluation. Can you say—without a doubt—that you’ve met your goals or made significant progress toward them?

If you don’t have job-specific goals, instead consider your main role responsibilities. Think of how well you perform at the primary tasks that make up your job.

Share all your wins

Your self-evaluation is your opportunity to highlight the great work you’ve done. Using your goals and job tasks as the starting point, share the major accomplishments that drove results. What work did you deliver that resulted in your objectives being met? Did you come up with any projects or take advantage of an opportunity that had a big pay off?

If you’re the type of person who is naturally humble, don’t feel like you need to omit examples of your job success. Your manager is busy with their own work and may be completing performance evaluations for multiple employees. They might overlook your success in a certain area so be sure you fill in the blanks for them by sharing all your wins in your self-evaluation. 

But also share where you want to improve

Ensure your self-evaluation is well balanced by mentioning what you could have done better during the review period. No one is perfect so don’t get discouraged as you recall where you fell short. The purpose of your performance review is to help you improve. 

Again, use your goals and role responsibilities to guide your self-evaluation. If you failed to meet an objective, take a step back and think about why. If there is a part of your job you’re not excelling at, consider what is holding you back. You’ll likely find that your manager will give you valuable advice if you’re willing to be candid about your job performance.

Your self-evaluation also gives you the opportunity to share the new skills you want to acquire or work experiences you want to have. Mention your career ambitions so your manager can start to think about what is next for you as you excel in your current role.  

Support your claims with examples and data

Make sure to back up your achievements, and even shortcomings, with examples and statistics. You might find that your manager has a different perspective and anecdotal claims aren’t going to sway their opinion. 

Demonstrating that you’ve increased results by X percent in a certain area is undeniable. It also shows that you’re striving to deliver impactful work rather than just keep busy. You can make those data points stand out even more by sharing specific examples of work you did that moved the needle. 

When it comes to acknowledging what you could have done better, use data to show where you’re currently at and where you want to get to in the future. Don’t just mention that you came up short, come up with a plan for how you’ll improve going forward.  

Have an open mind going into your discussion with your manager

You’ve completed a self-evaluation that covers your successes and where you hope to improve. Now it’s time to sit down with your manager and talk through the results.

Don’t be surprised if you and your manager have different opinions on certain aspects of your performance. Hopefully, you’ll be in agreement overall but your manager might believe you can improve in areas you think you’re doing well in. Remember that your manager wants to help you reach your full potential so listen and take their feedback to heart.

All that said, don’t be worried before your meeting with your manager. Your goals and the appraisal form created by HR are meant to ensure your evaluation is fair and accurate. In all likelihood, you and your manager will mostly be in alignment with how well you’re performing at your job.

Prepare for your next evaluation

Your first self-evaluation will always be the most difficult one to complete. You’ll get better at it in the next review cycle when you know what to expect.

You can make future self-evaluations easier by creating an on-going record of your job successes throughout the review period. Using Reviewsnap notes, you can document the progress you’ve made toward goals or any other milestones you achieved. You’ll have all the information needed to complete your next self-evaluation a few months down the line.

Get involved in your performance review

Being asked to complete a self-evaluation should excite you. Ensure you consider your objectives, role responsibilities, and account for your successes and areas you hope to improve in.