Do you remember back in grade school when you were sometimes given the chance to grade your own paper? You might have felt liberated or inspired by the process. Why? Because this method uniquely involves students by offering the chance to look more closely at their own personal strengths and weaknesses while simultaneously assessing their own performance as a whole. Self-evaluations offer employees a similar opportunity. But it's not only the employees who benefit from self-evaluations: this increasingly popular review method also offers HR managers a way to directly engage employees in their own goals and performance.
While companies use a variety of performance review procedures, there's room in every single case for self-evaluation. In this system, employees are given a questionnaire regarding their performance over a specific evaluation period.
One of the main advantages of this process is that employees are forced to think ahead about their comprehensive performance while working their way through the series of questions.
Having access to a completed questionnaire can also benefit managers when planning for the face-to-face portion of the performance review. If any discrepancies in perception arise -- for example, regarding the job description or other aspect of the position -- a manager can plan and prepare to directly address them.
An Open Conversation
Performance evaluations can sometimes feel like a one-way street in which the manager talks and the employee listens. This is often an unproductive experience for both parties, and detracts from a sense of teamwork and collaboration.
Self-evaluations, meanwhile, foster an environment of information exchange. In promoting a conversation, self-evaluations increase communication -- a benefit for both parties. Rather than simply telling an employee what's "good" and "bad," about their performance, the meeting becomes a fruitful dialog.
In addition to learning about an employee's quality and quantity of work over the evaluation period, self-evaluations also open the door for discussions about career development and next steps. A manager can get a broader perspective of a worker's ambitions -- as well as deeper insights -- through the self-evaluation process.
Different Goals, Different Outcomes
While traditional reviews may feel formal, self-reviews offer employees a sense of control and initiative. In assessing a particular weakness, they have the immediate ability to start correcting it.
And while traditional reviews are all about extremes, employee self-evaluations leave room for plenty of middle ground.
Lastly, one of the most significant issues pertaining to conventional employee reviews arises out of disparities in perception of assessment criterion terms. Rather than focusing on variables like "good" and "needs improvement," hiring managers can hone in on the full spectrum of performance and leave these vague, subjective terms behind.
Employee self-reviews are a new and viable alternative to conventional methods which are becoming increasingly prevalent in the workplace. Many HR managers are finding this method yields unparalleled results when it comes to engaging employees in their own performance and -- ultimately -- promoting satisfaction and productivity.
Are employees able to be objective enough in their own self-evaluations? Is it in their interest to be completely honest? What are the limitations?
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