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Performance Management, Talent Management

Self-Evaluations: The Key to Employee Development

By Elizabeth Magill , April 7th, 2018

Employee self-appraisals are not just another tedious task that adds paper, time, and work to the employee evaluation process. Rather, they are a beneficial tool – particularly when it comes to employee development — and by extension, company success.

These are a few reasons you might want to consider employee self-evaluations within your organization.

Engages the Employee in the Evaluation Process

Engaged employees are the most effective employees any business can have. These are the employees that are invested in the organization and committed to doing a great job.

Having employees participate in the evaluation process by conducting thoughtful self-evaluations engages them in dissecting their own behavior and actions within the company.

Regardless of what the employee actually describes on paper, this sort of self-reflection can bring about significant breakthroughs in areas where the employee is excelling, as well as those where he could improve. And it does so in a way that no amount of second-hand revealing could do.

Improves Employee Accountability

When employees know they will be asked to evaluate their own performance, they are more involved in the goal-setting and accountability process. They must face their effectiveness at achieving the goals they’ve set within the framework of the self-evaluation. This is not only a professional process, but a personal one as well. It makes it matter even more, on some levels, to employees than management-dictated evaluations.

Eliminates the Management vs. Employee Mentality

Eliminate may not be the precise word, but it certainly helps to reduce, according to the New York Times, feelings of judgment or accusation from the process that employees often feel when confronted by management-driven evaluations. It’s not a matter of someone giving employees a laundry list of (often subjective) rights and wrongs. It’s about self-reflection, enabling employees to determine their own strengths and weaknesses, so they can work with management to affect changes or improvements in the future.

Places Employees in the Driver’s Seat

Good self-evaluations aren’t simply multiple choice quizzes. They invite insight, feedback, and discussion. A CIO article points out that self-evaluations shouldn’t simply focus on an employee’s job, but also address his long-term career goals and plans.

Most employees do have goals and ambitions for the future – long and short term. Self-evaluations encourage employees to explore how much progress they’re making towards those goals. It can also help them spell out their accomplishments, something that may be more necessary for employees who aren’t always tooting their own horns in the office so that management can really see who really is getting things done in the office.

Clears Up Miscommunications

Because some areas of performance reviews are subjective, self-evaluations help to point out areas where perhaps employees and management are miscommunicating objectives and goals. For instance, an employee may believe he is excelling in an area where management feels he’s struggling because each perceives the objective differently.

These distinctions are important to understand and discuss so that management and employees can get on the same page before careers are harmed over something as simple as objectives that are poorly stated or misperceived.

The Takeaway

While it fair to say that many employees and managers don’t particularly enjoy — and may even dread —  the performance review evaluation process, self-evaluations can prove highly insightful to employers and motivational to the employees who conduct them in their true spirit. They are a key technique to align your company strategy with individual talent and optimize your human capital.


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