We recently published a blog article on the topic of annual performance reviews and more specifically, how you can make them even more effective.
In this article, we wanted to take a closer look at one important (but often overlooked) part of the performance appraisal process: the employee self-evaluation.
What is the employee self-evaluation and why is it important?
While the name alone may make it seem self-explanatory, the employee self-evaluation is an important step to make sure each employee thoroughly evaluates their performance and is as prepared for the performance review itself.
The employee self-evaluation can also serve as the essential framework in helping each worker think through their overall performance. For example, by asking employees to answer common questions, managers and HR will receive consistent assessments that include areas where employees think they can improve, feedback on achievements, and many other important insights.
This becomes important because, without the employee self-assessment, it’s possible that this information may have come as a surprise to those conducting the review, or it may also present information is a valuable new light that can contribute to improving future processes or outcomes.
What is the purpose of an employee self-evaluation?
The main point of the employee self-evaluation is that seeks to expand the amount of information covered in a traditional performance review by considering the employee’s point of view. This can be an extremely valuable way to give managers insights into details they might not have known before, or gain visibility into a project or employee achievement that they may not have considered as important (as the employee does).
Employee self-assessments also give you a great way to collect direct feedback from workers. This can include their point of view on specific goals, milestones, challenges, successes, and much more. HR can also ask for feedback on peers or even the manager themselves as part of a 360-degree performance review.
Not only is this important to get more information, but you will also get employees to be more involved in the performance appraisal process. Engaging employees and sending the message that you value their feedback is an important part of the process and will help employees feel that the process is fair and equitable by including their feedback and responses.
What should an employee self-evaluation include?
While there are no hard-and-fast rules, and it’s inevitable that employee self-evaluations will vary from company to company, there are many best practices to consider. For example, think about including the following categories in your employee self-assessments:
- Key highlights from the past year (or review period), including specific accomplishments, milestones, project successes, and more. Ideally, this should also include clear details related to their role and how they influenced these results.
- Career path, including how they’d like to grow, what they see as next steps, or even the chance for employees to request mentoring in this area.
- The employee’s goals for the position and ideas for how they can improve
- Feedback for managers, which can include peer, process, or even manager feedback. All of this should help provide a more honest, open look at the organization.
- Resource requests, which can include areas like training/certifications, learning, mentoring, or other ways for employees to get what they need to improve throughout the year.
How can you start implementing employee self-evaluations at your company?
If you haven’t used employee self-evaluations yet, we recommend starting by discussing the idea with your HR team. Chances are good that HR has valuable experience in this area and is likely to turn your good idea into an even better practice.
Additionally, you may want to include the leadership team in these early discussions. For example, it’s generally a good idea to let them know that this will be happening, but also to give them the opportunity to add additional ideas or even their own requests. If executives are not sure about using employee self-assessments, you can use this as an opportunity to compare the benefits of this approach, the opportunity it presents, and describe in specific detail how the entire process would be implemented.
You may also convince the leadership team to participate in the process in a high-profile way that demonstrates their buy-in and support. This helps send the message that “this is important” and encourages employees to take part in the process.
Once you’re committed to going forward, you should create employee self-evaluation templates, which may even consist of forms, questions, and templates for each position. These resources should include suggested questions to ask, areas to cover, and examples of “good” answers to help employees envision what the ideal self-evaluation looks like.
You should also establish the evaluation cadence. While many companies default to the once-a-year annual performance appraisal, many other companies see the value in asking employees to complete self-evaluations on a bi-annual or even quarterly basis.
Train HR managers who will conduct the evaluations. This is important to know what to look for, create baselines for reactions, how they can constructively process the information in the self-evaluation, and finally, how they can collaborate with the employee to focus on improving in the next time frame.
Finally, you may want to plan how you’ll communicate this information to all of your employees. You may want to hold an all-hands meeting and support the news with information in your portal or employee communication platform. Give them a chance to ask questions, hear any concerns, communicate the value (that it’s in their best interests) and more.
HR Cloud can help
HR Cloud offers a full suite of HR solutions, including specific applications to help manage employee performance and conduct more effective performance reviews. To see how we can help—with employee self-evaluations or other HR processes—request a brief, no-obligation demo of HR Cloud today.