A performance review is an uncomfortable experience for everyone involved. As an employee, you hope you will be fairly evaluated and possibly even get a raise. As a manager, you may need to give difficult feedback if your employee is struggling. Self-assessments are a common element of performance reviews. And, like any performance assessment tool, self-assessments have advantages and disadvantages.
Advantage: Brag About Your Accomplishments
Managers have a lot on their plates. They may not notice all the things you are doing right. A self-assessment gives you the chance to draw attention to your accomplishments. If you know a self-assessment is coming, keep a file throughout the year of what you have achieved. If you don’t have a file, carefully review your work from the past year before your performance review.
When discussing your accomplishments, be specific. Focus on measurable achievements, like the amount of revenue you have brought in or the number of customer issues you have resolved. Clearly state what you have accomplished and provide evidence to back up your claims.
Advantage: Reflect on Your Weaknesses
As tempting as it is to focus just on the positives, your self-assessment should also include your weaknesses. A self-assessment is a chance to reflect on where you can improve. Try to be objective and look at your performance from the perspective of a manager.
As you complete your self-assessment, state the areas where you need improvement. Include concrete steps for what you are going to do to improve. You may also want to include measurable and realistic goals for each step. If you need to improve your customer response time, for example, specify by how much you will improve response time, as well as when you will accomplish that goal. You should also identify areas where training is required, so your manager can arrange that for you.
Disadvantage: Differing Opinions
If you and your manager are on the same page in terms of your assessment, things should go smoothly during your evaluation. One disadvantage of self-assessments are situations where your own opinions on your performance differ from those of your manger. If your manager has a different opinion of your performance, it can feel like you've wasted time doing the self-assessment. A compelling self-assessment may sway your manager’s opinion, but it may not.
If you are on different pages, it can make your performance review stressful. Your manager will need to spend time explaining the differences in opinion. She may also set different goals for you than what you came up with during your self-assessment, which can be frustrating.
Disadvantage: Objectivity Is Difficult
The biggest disadvantage of doing a self-assessment is that it is difficult to be objective. You need to accurately reflect on both your strengths and weaknesses. You may overplay your strengths or focus too heavily on your weaknesses. Try to be as neutral as possible when evaluating yourself. Focus on facts regarding your performance and, as much as possible, stay neutral and back up your statements with evidence.
- CIO: 10 Tips for Making Self-evaluations Meaningful
- UVA: Conducting a Self‐Evaluation
- Forbes: How to Ace Your Self-Assessment
- Monster: How to Handle the Self-evaluation Component of Your Performance Assessment
- Helios HR: Pros Vs. Cons of Employee Self-evaluations
- SABA Blog: Just Say It #2: The Problem With Employee Self-Appraisals
Melinda Hill Sineriz is a freelance writer with over a decade of experience. She specializes in business, personal finance, and career content. She has worked in sales and has managed her own business for more than a decade. She has also written content for businesses in various industries, including restaurants, law firms, dental offices, and e-commerce companies. Learn more about her and her work at thatmelinda.com.