Is Self-Evaluation the Answer to Your Employee Assessment Challenges?

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Wednesday, March 30, 2022

By getting employees to assess their own progress, valuable two-way communication could be established.

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Is Self-Evaluation the Answer to Your Employee Assessment Challenges?
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In the modern workplace, companies that want to show they’re good places to work are under growing pressure to demonstrate positive talent management processes.

Yet at the same time, traditional methods of doing so are on the decline. The typical annual appraisal to which we’ve all become accustomed is looking ever-more incompatible with collaborative business environments.

A study by CEB found that 95% of HR leaders reported being unhappy with traditional annual performance reviews, while 60% of employees felt they didn’t improve their performance in any way.

This top-down, autocratic way of managing was starting to look outdated, with employees feeling undervalued and defensive after being subjected to them. An Adobe report even discovered 22% of workers have cried after their annual review, such is the feeling of attack they can create.

However, failing to provide feedback at all also isn't an option. Regular assessment is essential for retaining top talent, with StaffCircle finding 61% of employees would leave an organization if they didn’t receive it from a manager.

So, what can be done? The answer for some could lie in employee self-evaluation.

What is employee self-evaluation - and why does it work?

More companies are looking for continuous feedback between employees and their managers, and self-evaluation may be a great way of encouraging this.

By asking workers to examine themselves and assess their own progress, it offers the potential to keep them better engaged in measuring performance and setting further career goals. It also ensures lines of communication are kept open should problems arise that may otherwise cause dissatisfaction.

This could lead to employees feeling more valued by the organization and more confident in their own abilities going forward.

From HR's point of view, self-evaluation may also reduce the administrative burden that usually comes with appraisals, as there’s no need to trawl through past projects to evaluate performance for each individual.

Another benefit of self-appraisals is that bosses will be able to highlight from the material where further training may be needed, whether that’s company-wide or on a more personal level.

Finally, managers may glean a better idea of how people feel about their work and how exactly they fit into their team or within the organization as a whole.

By helping to convey employees' side of the story, self-reflection has the potential to create a more committed, more productive workforce that strives to aim higher.

How to implement self-evaluation in the workplace

It's important to remember that the purpose of a self-assessment is to guide employees through a thought process, rather than simply asking for a host of random opinions.

It's therefore a good idea to look at other examples of self-evaluation or use pre-designed templates to begin with, as this should ensure key points are being covered and the whole process gets off to a smooth start.

Here are some important details and questions you may wish to add:

  • Ask employees to list their major achievements over the past year, being as specific as possible
  • Request a list of goals for a set period and ask what would allow employees to accomplish them
  • Ask employees to highlight what they like and dislike about their role
  • Enquire where employees would ideally like to see their careers leading
  • Ask what employees have seen as their main challenges this year, as this could encourage them to address mistakes

When implementing self-evaluation, it's vital to allow enough time for employees to complete it. Springing a performance review on them at the last minute could leave workers feeling as though they’re under pressure, which isn’t conducive to morale.

The process needs to be something that’s scheduled in ahead of time, with the tasks staggered to avoid too many employees trying to self-assess during the same period - and appropriate cover should be provided. It may be that staff are given regular slots over the course of a week to complete their questionnaires, perhaps in the last half-hour of the day, to make carefully considered responses more likely.

Reviewing completed self-evaluation material

Once employees have submitted their completed self-evaluation material, it's essential to give it the attention it deserves. Filing the forms away as simply another item crossed off the HR to-do list will likely leave employees feeling they’ve wasted their time and aren’t valued.

Instead, managers should review each response and what it might mean for that particular employee before booking them in for an appointment to discuss it. This shouldn’t feel like an appraisal or an attack, but rather a positive chance to look at progress, review goals and examine opportunities for future growth.

An opportunity for a better way forward?

Self-evaluations may seem alien at first, and you could find employees are skeptical of their potential effects. However, over time they should start to feel more natural and - importantly - more progressive than the traditional appraisal.

HR managers may not want to phase the old methods out completely, but self-evaluation could find a valuable place alongside them in creating a better talent management process.

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