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How to complete an effective employee self-evaluation

Last updated

10 July 2023


Dovetail Editorial Team

Reviewed by

Lara Leganger

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Writing effective employee self-evaluations can form an important part of your professional development. They offer a great way to take a step back and reflect on your accomplishments, identify areas for improvement, and set goals for the future.

An effective employee self-evaluation should be honest, thoughtful, and accurate, and all employees should know how to write one. In this article, we'll discuss how to write an effective employee self-evaluation.

What is an employee self-evaluation?

A self-evaluation is a process in which you reflect on your performance, strengths, weaknesses, accomplishments, and areas for improvement in the workplace. It can take different forms, such as a written document or a face-to-face conversation with your manager.

Self-evaluations allow employees to reflect on their performance over a given period, usually a year, and assess their skills, achievements, and areas they could improve. The purpose of self-evaluation is to provide employees with the opportunity to give feedback on their performance and highlight their accomplishments. It also gives managers insight into how their employees perceive their own performance and what their career aspirations are.

Self-evaluations are often used as part of a larger performance evaluation process, where they are combined with a manager's assessment of the employee's performance. The self-evaluation gives employees the chance to tell their side of the story, provide evidence for their accomplishments, and share their thoughts on how they can contribute more effectively to the organization’s goals.

While some organizations may use different terms for self-evaluations, the idea remains the same: it's an opportunity for employees to reflect on their work and provide feedback to their managers.

Why is self-evaluation important?

Employee self-evaluations are an essential tool for employees and managers.

For employees

Self-evaluations encourage self-reflection, facilitate communication, help with career development, and build trust and confidence. Through the process of self-reflection, employees can gain a better understanding of their personal growth and development. This helps encourage continuous improvement and the setting of realistic career goals.

What’s more, self-evaluations enable open and honest communication between employees and managers, which is key to building trust and confidence.

For managers

Self-evaluations give managers a comprehensive understanding of their employees’ strengths and weaknesses. By providing managers with this macro view of their employee's performance, self-evaluations can help managers make better-informed decisions when it comes to employee development. Employees can use their self-evaluation to identify areas in which they need additional training or support, or even areas where they are excelling.

In addition, self-evaluations help managers by encouraging employees to take ownership of their performance and career development, which can be incredibly motivating. When employees feel they have control over their performance, they’re more likely to be more responsible for their work and proactive in improving their skills and performance.

Lastly, self-evaluations facilitate effective performance conversations between employees and managers. When employees can evaluate their performance, it provides a valuable starting point for discussion. Self-evaluations allow managers to address concerns and set expectations, and they provide an opportunity to give and receive feedback that is constructive and productive.

What should employees include in a self-evaluation?

While the specifics of self-evaluation will vary based on the industry and job responsibilities, some key areas should be included in any self-review.

First and foremost, consider what you have achieved during the evaluation period. What projects have you completed? What goals have you reached? What new skills have you acquired? This is an opportunity to highlight your successes and contributions to the team or organization.

However, it's also important to consider what you have struggled with or areas where you may have fallen short. Maybe there was a project that didn't go as planned, or you struggled to meet a certain deadline. It's important to be honest about these areas to identify opportunities for growth and development.

Other areas to consider include your:

  • Work ethic

  • Communication skills

  • Problem-solving abilities

  • Innovation

  • Delegation skills

  • Productivity

  • Time management

Reflecting on each of these areas can help you identify your strengths and weaknesses.

Finally, think about how you can develop and improve. Maybe you need additional training or coaching to improve a specific skill set. Perhaps you could benefit from better time management techniques or new communication strategies. By identifying areas for growth, you can set goals for yourself and take steps to become a stronger, more effective employee.

What to reflect on before writing an employee self-assessment

Before you begin writing your employee self-evaluation, it's important to take the time to reflect on your performance over the past year. This will help you identify your strengths and weaknesses and determine where you need to focus your attention in the coming year.

Here are some things to consider when reflecting on your performance.

Identify how you feel

Before you start reflecting on your performance, it's important to acknowledge your emotions. Are you feeling proud of your accomplishments or frustrated that you didn't achieve everything you set out to do?

Take the time to explore these feelings and use them to guide your reflection.

Review your goals

Look back at the goals you set for yourself at the beginning of the year and assess your progress toward achieving them.

Did you meet your goals, or did you fall short? If you didn't achieve your goals, what prevented you from doing so?

Review your manager's feedback

Take the time to review any feedback you received from your manager throughout the year. Did they identify any areas where you need to improve? Were there any specific achievements that they praised you for?

Review notes from peers and coworkers

If you received feedback from your peers or coworkers throughout the year, review it to see if there are any patterns or areas for improvement you may have missed.

By taking the time to reflect on your performance, you'll be better prepared to write a comprehensive employee self-evaluation that covers your skills and accomplishments, while bringing up areas for improvement.

This will help you set yourself up for success in the coming year and demonstrate your commitment to growth and development within your role.

How to write a self-evaluation for a performance review

Writing a self-evaluation for a performance review can be a daunting task, but it's a crucial aspect of your professional development.

Here are some tips to help you craft an effective self-evaluation that showcases your strengths and areas for improvement. By following this guidance, you can write a self-evaluation that demonstrates your value to the organization and sets the stage for continued growth and success.

Ascertain the scope of the self-evaluation

Before you start writing, make sure you understand the purpose of the self-evaluation. Is it to review your overall performance for the year, or does it focus on a specific project or goal? 

Knowing the scope will help you tailor your responses accordingly.

List positive qualities and provide examples

Start with the positives! Make a list of your accomplishments, strengths, and skills, and provide examples that illustrate each one.

Be specific and highlight the impact your work has had on the organization.

Back up accomplishments with hard facts and figures

Don't be shy about touting your achievements! Use hard facts and figures to back up your claims. Did you exceed your sales targets? Increase website traffic? Improve customer satisfaction?

Quantifying your successes will make them more impressive.

Acknowledge mistakes and weaknesses and set goals to improve

It's important to be honest about your weaknesses and mistakes. Admitting them shows you're self-aware and committed to growth. But don't stop there – outline specific steps you're taking to address those weaknesses and set goals for improvement.

Include feedback for management

Your self-evaluation is also an opportunity to provide feedback to your manager. If you have suggestions for ways they can support your growth and development, share them! It shows you're invested in your job and want to work collaboratively with your manager.

Voice ambitions for professional development and growth

Use your self-evaluation to voice your ambitions for professional development and growth. Do you want to take on new responsibilities? Learn a new skill? Pursue a certification? This is the time to make those goals known.

Best practices for writing a self-assessment

Writing a self-evaluation can be daunting, especially if you’re not sure where to begin.

Here are some best practices for writing an effective self-evaluation:

Promote your successes

It is essential to promote your accomplishments and achievements during the year.

Remember to highlight specific examples that demonstrate your impact on the organization. For instance, if you successfully led a team that delivered a significant project, outline the project's scope, your role, and the outcome. Remember to quantify results if possible.

Address areas of improvement

Although it can be difficult to talk about your weaknesses, being honest about areas of improvement shows a willingness to grow. Be specific about what you need to work on and how you plan to improve.

You could even mention you’re taking courses or attending training sessions to enhance your skills.

Share your accomplishments

Outline all the tasks you completed during the year and be specific about how each accomplishment added value to the company. For instance, if you helped increase sales or improve customer satisfaction, state how you did it and the impact of your actions.

Identify areas you would like to improve on or where you want to add value.

Outline specific goals

Specify how you plan to achieve them and how they align with the company's objectives. This will show you’re proactive, self-motivated, and committed to your personal and professional development.

Self-evaluation for performance review examples

To help you understand what an effective self-evaluation looks like, let's take a look at two self-evaluation examples for two very different roles: a software designer and a sales associate.

These sample self-evaluations highlight some of the best practices for effective self-evaluation. By following these examples, you can create an effective self-evaluation that helps you communicate your successes, areas of growth, and future goals with your supervisor.

With a well-crafted self-evaluation, employees can take control of their career development and set themselves up for success in the future.

Self-Evaluation Example 1: Software Designer

Over the past year, I've had the opportunity to work on several exciting projects that have helped me grow as a software designer. I believe I've been successful in meeting my goals for the year, and I'm eager to share my self-evaluation with my supervisor.

In terms of my technical skills, I've developed a much stronger understanding of coding and software architecture. I've been able to work more independently, and I've also learned to collaborate effectively with other members of the team. Additionally, I've improved my time management skills, allowing me to complete my projects on time and within budget.

However, there are still areas where I believe I could improve. I've struggled at times to communicate my ideas clearly to others, particularly non-technical team members. To address this, I plan to work on improving my communication skills by attending a workshop on effective communication.

Overall, I believe I've made significant progress over the past year, and I'm looking forward to continuing to grow as a software designer. I'm grateful for the support of my supervisor and my colleagues, and I'm eager to continue working together to achieve our team's goals.

Self-Evaluation Example 2: Sales Associate

I am proud of my achievements this year as a sales associate. My primary goal for the year was to increase our customer base, and I feel I've made a significant impact toward achieving that goal.

One way I contributed toward increasing our customer base was by establishing a stronger online presence for the company. I initiated and executed a social media campaign, which resulted in a 15% increase in our online following. Additionally, I consistently received positive feedback from customers about my responsiveness and attentiveness to their needs, which I believe contributed to their repeat business and positive word-of-mouth referrals.

There are areas where I feel I can still improve, such as maintaining better organization of my sales materials and increasing my knowledge of the industry. Moving forward, I plan to attend more industry events and make a greater effort to network with other professionals in our field.

Overall, I believe I have made significant contributions to our team's success this year, and I look forward to continuing to grow and improve in the future.

In summary

Employee self-evaluations are a valuable tool for assessing your performance and communicating your strengths and weaknesses to your employer. By taking the time to reflect on your accomplishments and areas for improvement, you can identify opportunities for growth and development in your career.

Remember to be honest and specific in your self-evaluation, and always tie your accomplishments back to your job responsibilities and company goals.

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