While some view employee self-evaluations as just another tedious step that adds more work and paper to an already onerous performance appraisal process, self-evaluations are in fact a vital activity that can help make your performance appraisal process more effective. Done properly, employee self-evaluations can provide several key benefits to the organization.
Engage employees in the performance appraisal process
Including employee self-assessments as part of your performance management process gives employees an active role to play. Rather than simply being the "recipient" of feedback from their manager, the employee is given a voice, and can inform or shape their performance appraisal and ratings. This active participation helps them to be more engaged with both their performance and the review process overall.
Give managers a broader perspective
Having the employee complete a self-assessment first can help give their manager better insight into the employee's performance as well as their perceptions about their performance. Even for managers who work closely with their employees, it's not always possible to see the full picture and understand all the factors that affect employee performance. Having the employee complete a self-assessment allows the manager to view performance through their eyes and get the employee's "side of the story". It can also help the manager understand their employee's strengths and weaknesses from the employee’s perspective, as well as training needs/desires.
Flag differences in perception before the review meeting
It's inevitable, a manager and employee will have different impressions of the employee's performance. While one would hope that the manager would be aware of any differences, it's often not the case. Many managers have been caught off guard in an employee performance review meeting to discover that the employee has a completely different perception of their performance and value, or that they themselves are lacking vital information that affects employee ratings. An employee self-appraisal can help identify differences in perception that might not surface otherwise, allowing the manager to prepare appropriately for the review meeting and ensure a fruitful discussion and fair performance ratings. In some cases, the information revealed in the self-appraisal might even guide or redirect the manager's assessment.
Promote more effective discussions about performance, priorities, challenges, etc.
It's human nature... When a subject is important to us, or impacts us personally, most of us find it easier to listen to someone else once we feel we've been heard. An employee self-assessment gives each employee that opportunity. They can provide their evaluation of their performance along with relevant background information first, which predisposes them to hear the feedback their manager has to offer.
Effective management requires an ongoing, two-way discussion between a manager and employee about performance, priorities and challenges. A performance management program that includes employee self-appraisals, formalizes this two-way dialogue, avoiding top down evaluations that often serve to discourage or disengage employees. It can also help to entrench this vital two-way dialogue in the organization's management culture.
Read how others have seen better results with employee self-evaluations
Organizations with paper-based performance management processes often shy away from incorporating employee self-reviews in their appraisal process, because of the additional paperwork and administration required. Automating your process and forms with a tool like Halogen eAppraisal eliminates those barriers.
SNC-Lavalin O&M has all 2500 of its full-time, permanent employees complete self-evaluations. Where previously, this task was often skipped, the self-evaluation is now, truly, the important first step in the collaborative performance management process. It has helped them drive up engagement and increase retention.
At Rockford Health Systems, their automated performance management system, which includes employee self-appraisals, helps employees see a direct link between the appraisals and their jobs and fosters better communication between managers and employees.