viaPeople Insight - Performance Management & Succession Planning Blog

Save the Self Appraisal in Employee Performance Evaluation

Posted by Karen Caruso, Ph.D. on Jul 13, 2011 9:39:00 AM

Employee Performance Evaluation is here to stay!

employee performance evaluationIn fact, more feedback and discussion about performance is what employees want and what organizations need. 

In a recent blog post, Dick Grote wrote about the inherent flaws in the self appraisal process.  He cited research indicating that individuals are not able to accurately assess their own performance....and that this is especially true for poor performers.  These findings make sense if we are discussing "old school" employee performance evaluation.  If employees and managers are not having ongoing performance discussions, it is unlikely that individuals will  be able to accurately assess their own performance.  Ongoing performance feedback is essential to self awareness.

More Than Just Looking in the Mirror

The use of self appraisal in the performance evaluation process has some clear benefits. It is more than just an exercise to make employees feel like that are a part of the process.  Self appraisal:

  • Provides an opportunity for employee introspection on accomplishments, strengths, performance challenges and future goals. 
  • Offers managers insight into accomplishments not observed, as well as unknown challenges being faced.  Given large spans of control and the virtual workplace, managers are not able to effectively observe performance on a regular basis.
  • Facilitates dialogue on performance by providing a framework for discussion and common language for employees and managers.

Ultimately, self appraisal sends the message to employees that their perspective and contributions are valued.

Effective Self Appraisal Practices:

  1. Clearly communicate how the self appraisal will be used in the employee performance evaluation process to both employees and managers.  The manager's performance evaluation should be considered the final evaluation.
  2. Request that self appraisals be submitted to managers in advance of the formal performance evaluation and discussion. Managers can use the insight learned from the self appraisal in formulating their final evaluation and recommendations for next steps in the coming performance period.
  3. Self appraisal forms should ask employees to:
  • comment on performance towards goals (ideally, SMART goals were set at the start of the year),
  • share their greatest accomplishments for the performance period,
  • highlight strengths and identify areas for improvement or future development,
  • identify challenges that are inhibiting more successful performance, and
  • articulate future performance-related and development goals for the future.

How is your company using self appraisal?  Please share your comments and success stories.

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Topics: Performance Management, Performance Evaluation, Self Appraisal