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Pros Vs. Cons of Employee Self-Evaluations

Posted on May 21, 2015
Kayla DineenWritten by Kayla Dineen | Email author

As HR professionals, we at Helios are big advocates of Performance Management. Performance Management encompasses planning for: performance (providing clear job descriptions and setting goals), on-going coaching, counseling and feedback (regularly occurring manager and employee communication), and evaluating performance (performance appraisals). While each of these aspects of managing performance is equally important, this blog’s focus is on evaluating performance.performance review

In my years of experience as a consultant and practitioner, I have yet to see two organizations with the same evaluation process in place. I was recently working with a client to revamp their current year end appraisal process and we began to discuss incorporating an employee self-evaluation portion into the process. This particular client had managers that have multiple direct reports and tight schedules, which made documenting a year worth of performance for each employee a little daunting, so I recommended developing a self-evaluation process. Below is a summary of what we discussed in terms of the benefits and potential downfalls of a self-evaluation form.

Pros Vs. Cons of Employee Self-Evaluations


Pros of Self- Appraisals:

  1. Employee self-appraisals can function as a cheat sheet for the manager when completing the overall performance evaluation form.
  2. This process puts ownership on the employee to recall and document the work he/she has performed throughout the course of the year and highlight major accomplishments.
  3. The self-evaluation can be tailored to fit your organization’s values, to highlight the specific roles of the individual, and to call out specific performance measures that your organization would like to focus on for the particular evaluation cycle.
  4. Instead of having to dig through e-mails, time sheets, and attempt to recall all of the projects that the employee worked on, the manager can focus on common themes of high and/or poor performance throughout the year.

Employee Self-Evaluations: A ReviewOnce the self-evaluation process is complete, the manager is able to quickly review the document prior to beginning the official evaluation. If you’re concerned that the employee may not list all of his/her projects on the evaluation sheet, I can assure you that your employee will want recognition for ALL of his/her work throughout the year. If they attempt to omit a project in which they are aware that performance was an issue, this is likely a project that is on your radar and documented; you can simply add this project in to the final evaluation form.

Cons of Self-Appraisals


  • It’s important to remind managers that employees often have a perception of stronger performance than he/she actually exuded throughout the year.
  • Just because an employee is responsible for the initial documentation, managers still will need to take ownership for monitoring performance, documenting performance concerns and/or highlights, and make efforts to correct poor performance throughout the year.
  • If the employee’s self-evaluation is not an accurate reflection of performance, his/her manager needs to be prepared to provide clear reasoning for the differences in ratings.
  • If employees fail to submit their self-evaluations in a timely manner then follow on processes may be negatively impacted.

The self-evaluation process is the first step of what is likely a multi-step process. Many organizations use the end of year evaluation to determine bonuses, merit, and potential promotions for the upcoming year. Communicating expectations and timelines to employees is key to the success of this process; equally as important is holding employees accountable for completing his/her evaluation.

So is a self-evaluation form right for your organization? It just may be. I encourage you to take a step back and determine if your current evaluation process is successful. Ask yourself what the barriers, if any, are to maintaining a smooth and effective evaluation process. If the benefits of implementing a self-evaluation form detailed above will alleviate one, or several, of those barriers, it may prove beneficial to incorporate the self-appraisal into your current performance evaluation process.

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