What’s it: Self-appraisal is an employee appraisal method by asking them to responsibly evaluate their own performance. For example, your company asks employees to fill out an evaluation form. Then, they submit it to their manager or supervisor for review and discussion for final evaluation.
This method is important to encourage employees to take responsibility for their own work and professional development. Nevertheless, the results are often more subjective than objective.
Why is self-appraisal important?
Three reasons explain why self-appraisal is important. First, it allows for greater autonomy. Your company provides opportunities for employees to self-assess, and they have complete control over their own performance appraisals. Greater autonomy is one way to boost their morale and motivation because they feel more valued.
Second, this method encourages your employees to critically evaluate their roles, work, and performance. So, it can reveal more information about your employees. And, by gaining a more complete understanding of them, your company can develop a more appropriate human resources program.
Third, encouraging more feedback is another reason. For example, your employees highlight aspects they think are important. Say, it was about their target, which was not achieved. They explained in detail why they didn’t achieve it, perhaps because they were unskilled or the target was too high. Such an explanation can be input for making improvements in the future.
How does self-appraisal work?
The process takes place with employees filling out forms to evaluate themselves. What is filled can vary greatly. For example, they assess their achievements and performance in carrying out tasks and achieving targets. For a more comprehensive approach, they might also elaborate on the following points:
- Tasks and targets are assigned to them
- Actions were taken to carry out tasks and achieve targets
- Results achieved so far
Say the employee does not reach the target. The final section may evaluate why they did not reach their target. For example, the reasons may be heavy targets, inadequate skills, or illness.
Apart from evaluating performance, they may also evaluate other aspects such as progress in their career and suggestions for future improvement. For example, say the target is not achieved because skills are inadequate and the company does not provide adequate resources. They then write down the points they hope the company can fulfill.
After completing the evaluation form, the employee submits it to the manager for review and discussion. At this stage, employees and managers will compare appraisals, provide each other with feedback and discuss goals for the future period.
Harvey Mudd College proposes key points for self-appraisal. It includes four sub-topics: responsibility, achievement, goals, and development. Each subtopic is then broken down into several explanatory points.
Job description. This subtopic evaluates duties and responsibilities with the following points:
- Main responsibilities, including their change if any
- Duties other than main responsibility, if any
- Employees’ opinions on their current job, whether it requires a change or not
- Help expected to get from manager or coworkers
- Suggestions to improve their department
Performance achievement. It assesses how successfully employees carry out their duties and responsibilities and whether it can be improved in the future. Other points are about:
- Contribution to the department during the evaluation period
- Key competencies and strengths to complete tasks
- Skills or abilities to improve in the future
Goals. This section is about past and future goals. It includes which ones have been realized and which have not, along with why they were not achieved. Another point is about goals in the future period and the resources expected to be obtained from the company to achieve goals in the coming period.
Development. This section requires employees to detail the training they have attended in the past, the competencies they want to develop, the training or education they want to attend, and the resources needed for development, including the necessary supervisor support.
What are the advantages of self-appraisal?
Autonomy is the main advantage of self-appraisal. It makes employees feel better empowered. Allowing them to self-assess makes them feel more motivated and engaged in their work. It can lead to increased morale and work performance. They also have the opportunity to develop their best potential.
Constructive feedback. Employees can give positive feedback to the company. For example, it may be about how the company should facilitate them in developing competencies. Then, what resources the company should provide to support their daily activities. Another possible point is suggestions for improvement in their division.
Strong relationship. Managers can better understand their people, including their strengths, weaknesses, and expectations. On the other hand, employees have the opportunity to speak their minds – which may be difficult under traditional appraisal methods. Finally, managers and employees can communicate more effectively and build stronger relationships.
Development. Through this method, employees reveal competency gaps in their careers. So, when discussing with them, managers can take the necessary actions and facilitate them to develop their competencies through training or education.
What are the disadvantages of self-appraisal?
Subjectivity is a weakness of the self-appraisal method. Employees may be dishonest in their self-evaluation. They tend to overestimate their success and abilities. At other times, they hide their flaws. They do it for personal gains, such as a raise or promotion.
Such dishonesty can be a significant problem if all employees do it. And then, it can also be extra heavy work for managers when discussing evaluation results with their subordinates.
Disappointment. What employees expect is not always what the company needs or what managers think. Managers may disagree with them about their performance. So, they feel useless doing self-appraisal.
In other cases, they provide suggestions for development but are not followed up by management. For example, they want training in the future because they think it is important to improve competence. However, management may, due to the limited budget, disapprove. As a result, it left them disappointed.
Less critical. Some employees may be critical when giving evaluations. However, others may not and tend to be confused about self-evaluation. Or, in other cases, they perform poorly but don’t fully understand the impact on their department or company.
What to read next
- 360-Degree Appraisal: Advantages and Disadvantages
- Employee Appraisal: Types, Costs, and Benefits
- One-to-One Appraisal: How It Works, Advantages, Disadvantages
- Peer Appraisal: Importance, Advantages, and Disadvantages
- Self-appraisal: How it Works, Advantages, Disadvantages