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Performance Reviews Performance Management

How to Incorporate Self-Evaluations in the Performance Review Process

January 19, 2023
6 min read

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We’re all familiar with semi-annual or annual performance reviews — managers rate direct reports’ performance, discuss their ratings with their employees, and then it’s all over until the next evaluation. But time and again, research finds that traditional employee performance reviews aren’t meeting employees’ or managers’ expectations and often, they’re causing more harm than good. Performance management statistics show that 85% of employees say they would think about quitting if they received an unfair or bad performance review

“Employees who do not feel heard may also feel undervalued which can lead to distrust and disengagement. Listening to employees isn’t just good for culture — it’s good for business. When more employees feel heard, key business outcomes like optimized financial performance and increased engagement levels are more likely to improve.”  - Dr. Chris Mullen, executive director of The Workforce Institute at UKG via HRD.

Not only do people want fair, comprehensive reviews, but they also want to feel that their voices are heard at work. When employees feel heard, 74% say they perform better at their jobs. They’re also more likely to be highly engaged and feel an increased sense of belonging in the workplace, all of which benefit company culture and contribute to better business outcomes.

Did you know that there’s a way to help employees get useful feedback from their reviews and ensure their voices are being heard? You can contribute to both of these goals with one action: by including self-evaluations in your performance review system. 

Not sure how to start — or need to make a business case for an additional evaluation? In this post, you’ll find out some of the benefits of self-assessments and how to add them to your current performance management process. 

Did you know 74% of employees perform better if their voices are heard? Try #selfevaluations to get employee perspective:

What is a self-evaluation?

A self-evaluation is when individual employees review their own performance in preparation for formal reviews. The format of these reviews can vary depending on your business, industry, and the employee’s role. Your company’s self-evaluations might ask employees to rate their performance on a scale, ask open-ended questions, or include a mixture of both. 

When employees conduct performance appraisals on themselves, they reflect on their accomplishments over the past year, including goals they’ve achieved, projects they led or heavily impacted, and other ways they met or exceeded expectations. These reviews are a chance for employees to identify their own strengths and weaknesses and they ensure employees’ perspectives are included in performance conversations. 

Read ClearCompany’s ultimate performance review guide and make your next review season your best yet.

The benefits of self-evaluations

If you’re wondering whether or not self-assessments are worth the effort, keep in mind that most of the workforce reports that they are deeply unsatisfied with current review methods. Just 14% of employees say their reviews inspire them to improve their performance. 92% of employees want to hear from their managers more than just once a year, but annual reviews are still being used. 

Asking employees to write self-evaluations is a great way to execute more thorough, engaging performance reviews overall. Here are just a few of the benefits of self-appraisals:

  • Allow employees to add their perspectives to performance conversations
  • Help create a well-rounded view of performance 
  • Give employees the chance to show off what they accomplished over the previous year or six months
  • Highlight big wins managers may have forgotten or didn’t know about
  • Reveal what employees see as their own areas for improvement 
  • Enable employees to reflect on how they’re doing and gain a deeper understanding of their performance
  • Give managers the opportunity to motivate, encourage, and connect with their employees
  • Play a part in fostering a sense of belonging and higher employee engagement

How to use self-evaluations in the performance review process

If you want to conduct the most effective, unbiased reviews possible — reviews that actually help employees improve performance — self-evaluations are an excellent complement to your current strategies.

Here are a few ways to integrate self-assessments into your current performance management system.

1. Include open-ended questions to give better feedback

Self-evaluation questions are often similar to the questions managers are asked so that different performance reviews can be more easily compared. But, be sure to include some open-ended questions that allow employees to elaborate on their ratings and back them up with evidence and examples. If your organization uses performance management software, employees have access to a wealth of information they can draw on to support their review responses, including past goals, recognition from coworkers, and notes from manager one-on-ones.

Longer responses give employees a chance to decide how they feel about their own performance so that they can take a more active role in managing it. They also give managers a much clearer sense of how employees feel, which presents opportunities to foster growth or encourage employees who might be underestimating their abilities.

Self-evaluations give managers the chance to motivate and develop their employees:

2. Send self-evaluations prior to formal reviews

These reviews should be the first step in your performance review cycle, whether it’s annual or semi-annual. Sending them prior to formal reviews positions them as a heads-up that review season is getting underway, and it’s a good way to mitigate the stress that review season can induce — both in managers and employees. 

When self-evaluations are the first review in the cycle, employees can get a headstart on thinking about performance. Managers can better prepare for one-on-one reviews and collaborate with their employees to make future plans, boosting engagement in the process. 

Send self-evaluations first so you can also employ the next tip on the list.

3. Compare self-evaluations to other reviews and feedback

Employee self-evaluations are just one component of successful performance evaluations. Self-evaluations should be part of a continuous performance management strategy that also includes regular formal reviews, peer reviews, and frequent conversations with managers. Additional performance insight allows managers to compare that feedback with employees’ self-review feedback. 

Access to performance feedback from several sources allows managers to conduct better reviews of their own and make informed decisions about what’s next for every employee. For example, a manager may learn from a peer review that one employee helped a colleague complete a time-sensitive project or that they consistently go above and beyond to help another answer clients’ questions. 

This feedback gives managers valuable information about employees that helps managers set new annual goals, identify growth opportunities, and even plan career trajectories.

Seamlessly Update Your Review Cycle with Software

The myriad performance review software benefits include the ability to expand review capabilities without creating tons of extra work for human resources team members. With the best performance management software, you can include self-evaluations in the regular review cycle with ease. 

With a performance management system like ClearCompany, you can seamlessly integrate self-evaluations into your review strategy. Your company can choose from a variety of expert-built review templates to start your next — and best — review cycle, or build your own reviews from scratch. 

ClearCompany Performance Management simplifies your review process, consolidates performance data, and automates the tedious parts, like sending completion reminders. You also get access to deeper insights about performance by individual, department, and across the organization. With ClearCompany, review cycles are regular, fair, and actionable; HR workflows are streamlined; and your business can learn from all of the valuable performance data you’ll gain.  

Get a demo of ClearCompany’s award-winning Performance Management software and ask your sales rep about our expert-built review templates and in-depth reporting and analytics. Sign up for your free demo.


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