By: Kayla Bell on August 1st, 2022

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Pros Vs. Cons of Employee Self-Assessment Performance Review

Total Rewards | Employee Relations

As consultants, we at Helios HR are big advocates of performance management. Performance Management encompasses planning for:

  • Performance: Providing clear job descriptions and setting goals
  • Coaching and feedback: regularly occurring manager and employee communication
  • Evaluation: conducting performance appraisals

In my years of experience as a consultant and HR 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 with multiple direct reports and tight schedules. The old-age process of documenting a year worth of performance for each employee was daunting for these managers. As part of the performance management redesign, we discussed 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.

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Pros Vs. Cons of Employee Self-Assessment

Advantages of Self Appraisal

  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, highlight the specific roles of the individual, and 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 and 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.

Once 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.

Should they attempt to omit a project of 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 into the final evaluation form.

Disadvantages of Self Appraisal

  • 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 making 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 are key to the success of this process; equally as important is holding employees accountable for completing their own evaluation.

So is a self-evaluation form right for your organization?

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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