Many companies use the start of the year to begin their employee appraisal process. Companies often require employees to provide a self-appraisal or allow for an employee to write a response. With the emotions surrounding reviews and the criticism that often comes with a review process, employees can find it difficult to write an appropriate self-appraisal or response. Here are three tips to consider before writing a self-appraisal.
First, when writing a self-appraisal you are expected to highlight your accomplishments during the year. That requires the writer to be specific and analytical. If a particular project was completed on time and under budget, be specific about how that was accomplished – the planning, the team building, the execution of the plan, and the results (dollars saved, percentage under budget). Also be certain to credit other team members appropriately. If the staff was unexpectedly reduced during the year, write about the skills gained performing the former staff member’s duties, the cross-training, the benefit to the department, and the other deadlines that continued to be met. If you exceed expectations, compare specifics of your performance to the expectations themselves.
Second, make sure that your goals are aligned with the department and/or company goals. You are not a success if the sales goals called for 10% growth and you achieved 8%, even if 8% was the best in the department. Overall, the year was not a success. If you work in a customer service position and there are customer wait time goals, make sure you exceeded the metrics before citing your performance as a success. I often see employees wanting so desperately to call their year a success that they criticize fellow team members or remind me how they are the “best performer” in the department. Supervisors tend to want to see team success, not individual success. What did you do to help the team succeed?
Finally, the self appraisal or response section of a review is no place for criticizing the supervisor or the company. Always remember that employee appraisals are part of your employee file. That file may outlast your current supervisor. Think about what you would want a new supervisor to read about you, even if you vehemently disagreed with the review. Respond, if you must, with concrete and measurable goals that will result in addressing your supervisor’s concerns or criticisms. If you have strong disagreement with what was written, talk through the issues with someone from HR if you can. It is appropriate to use the face-to-face review process to iron out the disagreements, but if you are too emotional at the time of the face-to-face review to discuss the areas of disagreement, set up a time in a week to revisit the review when emotions are under control. The response section of the actual review should be more of an affirmation of the goal-setting process that should be a part of any annual assessment. It is not for your rebuttal.
The annual self-appraisal can be rewarding, but it can also be frustrating and emotional. The self appraisal form or the response section of a staff review is not the appropriate place for criticism of the company or the supervisor, but rather it is the place for analytical and thoughtful self praise with concrete and specific examples, for goal setting, and for showing that you are a team-player.