Self-evaluation is a powerful career tool which is often neglected or underestimated by the employees due to some reasons. In this article, we discuss these reasons along with the essential tips for approaching the encouragement of self-evaluation.
Asking employees to perform self-evaluation is a common practice and a standard part of the performance reviewing. “Written analysis of the efforts and overall contribution to the wellbeing of the company seems to be an easy task, in case the employee performs well throughout the year.” — says the employer. “A challenging, time-consuming and useless procedure.”
The lack or total absence of the correct motivation predetermines the discrepancy between these statements. While, both the employees and managers, should perceive self-evaluation as an opportunity to analyse the achievements, go through your strengths and weaknesses, and set future goals.
Modern companies usually employ self-evaluation for two primary reasons:
- because they can (to make sure an employee takes time to overthink his or her performance, efficiency and purpose);
- because they want (to make sure the employees have an adequate level of self-awareness).
To ensure receiving accurate, precise, complete and honest self-evaluations, managers should work hard throughout the year as well. Self-evaluations set the tone for the performance review while the approach to self-evaluation of the managers sets the tone for workplace relations and ethics.
Not to miss something out and encourage rather than force your employees to perform self-evaluations, let us consider crucial notions and actions to take.
What is self-evaluation?
Self-evaluation usually presupposes a set of questions, a collection of questions an employee responds to reflect self-awareness and performance levels during the evaluation period and employee. The exact procedure is to guide the employee through all the tasks and goals accomplished to focus on the efforts, mistakes or miscalculations, success and discoveries made.
The employees are to present all the aspects, components and processes from the perspective of their efficiency. Thus, undertaking self-evaluation, an employee takes the role of the manager and judges his or her skills, competencies and performance level.
The task is much more problematic as it may seem. The objectivity is in the essence of this complexity:
- For an employee, the matter is “how to describe your work without overestimation yet highlighting your contribution and importance”.
- For an employer, the situation relates to the same problems, from the other angle: “how to accurately evaluate the contribution of an employee without an inflated appraisal, judgement or neglection?”.
An ideal perspective – is to regard self-evaluation as an opportunity to review the recent past and discuss the expectations for the near future. Thus, self-evaluation should be strongly associated with self-development and career promotion.
Self-evaluation is a tool to highlight the efforts made, while 69% of employees demonstrate higher productivity when they see that their company recognises their efforts.
Why do employees struggle to make self-evaluation?
Organisations undertake performance appraisals to improve an individual and corporate efficiency, while the employees may have a different perception of the situation. At the individual level, the organisations strive to reward, identify training needs and perspectives for further development.
Despite these lofty goals, they often fail to communicate the purpose of self-evaluation to the employees.
Lack of time
On the one hand, some self-evaluation procedures involve the application of a series of repetitive and time-consuming software processes. While on the other hand, annual performance appraisals appear to be organised extra paperwork.
Relating the measurement criteria to real-life results, answering numerous questions is time-consuming and frustrating. Besides, according to David Rock, an exceptional expert on the neuroscience of leadership and executive coaching, all these dulls certain parts of the human brain, leaving many people apprehensive, angry and deflated.
Lack of acknowledging the purpose
The majority of employees tend to have insufficient or incorrect motivation to perform self-evaluation. If one does not have any idea about the purpose of self-review, he or she will not be willing to.
Besides, the absence of a useful purpose and a clear understanding of the benefits make self-evaluation look like a useless procedure.
Lazy and incompetent employees are not used to working hard in any way. Laziness is a simple and most obvious reason. A vital task of any manager is to identify and get rid of the lazy employees.
On the other hand, lazy employees can not adequately perform self-evaluations as they have merely no well-accomplished tasks or achieved results. On the other hand, these people are often too lazy to sit down, give it a thought and spend some time outlining their strength and weaknesses.
The employees are usually afraid of the appraisal systems or processes exposing their weaknesses. Thus, employees in this category often think of self-evaluation, not as a promotional tool but a disclosure tool with further punishment.
Self-evaluation period is often a time of intrigues and power plays. Besides, self-evaluation approaches are hardly free from bias. Organisational politics should regulate and provide proper motivation in this respect.
Tips to encourage self-evaluation
One of the most potent ways to assure proper communication and understanding between managers and employees is to set an accurate tone of self-evaluation and feedback to it. At first sight, there is nothing complicated in this process. However, numerous employees regard it as a box that needs to be ticked by the end of every year.
To make your employees understand the importance and feel the benefits of self-evaluation, follow this set of tips. Let’s have a look at these tips, which make an overall plan for adequate and effective self-evaluation.
Recommend the approach
To facilitate the process of self-evaluation, provide your employees with a precise template of what you want to see. In simple words, offer the employees to write job descriptions for the duties, responsibilities, and competencies required to succeed in their positions.
Some people find it difficult to understand what to write about anyway. In this case, it might be useful to refer them to online aptitude testing tools to help evaluate one’s strengths and weaknesses. A detailed description of the processes, achievements, challenges, difficulties and goals will provide a new perspective on the routine.
Ask to highlight points which need improvement in the future and to define the tasks that prevent an employee from contributing the required outputs.
Assure your employees, the phrase “I failed to achieve this goal because of …” is a valuable source of information for both of you. Make complex problems look simple by putting them into simple wording. Self-evaluation is to bring clarity and understanding in your work life.
Provide feedback via dialogue
Asking precise questions is the only possible way to get direct, meaningful answers. As a manager or team leader, you are interested in these answers, while your employees require feedback from you in response. Failure to provide proper feedback may cost you all the efforts made.
What concerns feedback statistics, 32% of employees say they have to wait more than three months to receive feedback from their managers, while others do not bother to provide any feedback at all or cannot do it properly.
Therefore, even though self-evaluation is often written, do your best to establish a dialogue with your employee. Do not make it a one-sided relationship.
This dialogue will convince your employees you are working for the common goal and benefit. Avoid judgement and encourage a frank conversation to prove you are looking for a solution, not for someone to blame.
Address the areas that need improvement. Self-evaluation is not only outlining of the triumphs but the critiques of one’s own mistakes. The majority of managers and team leaders know precisely well all the shortcomings of each particular employee. Mentioning these weak points in the course of self-evaluations means taking responsibility and facing the consequences.
Make sure you provide constructive feedback and possible solutions trough training, up-skilling, taking courses etc. Frame the weakness as opportunities to grow and improve. You should bring up training opportunities or support the employee’s initiative while discussing annual self-evaluation.
Set clear goals
To get the employee self-evaluation reviews as you want them to see, be specific from the beginning. Set clear smart goals which in the result may be easily distinguished as achieved or failed.
Self-assessment is always a confusing process which brings a lot of internal disputes, do not make it even more frustrating. Focus on how the employee approached the tasks, why and if this approach was practical.
Besides, one of the critical aims of self-evaluations is to encourage an employee to set goals for the future. Inform the employees what the company aims to accomplish shortly, what is their contribution and guide them in the direction of corresponding goals.
The primary goal of self-assessment is to provide an employee with an opportunity to highlight the accomplishments and milestones in professional development. For sure, identification and understanding of the weakness take a great deal of the evaluation, and honesty is the best policy in this case. Be optimistic about everything to encourage openness.
An optimistic approach will make the employees feel safe in the company. Your employees must remain committed to improving and learning after self-evaluation discussion. The essence of self-evaluations lies in the phrase — sharing is caring.
When employees and managers have a common approach to employee self-evaluation and regard it as a discussion of the accumulated experience along the year, the procedure gets less stressful for both parties. Moreover, the annual review becomes a time to reflect on the past and get a vision of the future.
Employee self-evaluation is to be beneficial for both sides, as the managers get insights into employees` motives, and the employees learn their career perspectives.
Although this is a challenging task, as a manager, you should do your best to encourage your employees for ongoing self-evaluation. Following the tips mentioned above will help to build trustful relationships and facilitate the self-assessment process.
About the Author
Erika Rykun is a career and productivity copywriter who believes in the power of networking. In her free time, she enjoys reading books and playing with her cat Cola.