Question: Self-evaluation in annual performance reviews

I am an experienced professional in a large Tech Services company where day-to-day priorities dominate our lives.

- What should I include and exclude in my self-evaluation during annual performance reviews?
- What is the best way to walk my manager through my self-evaluation?


7 Expert Insights

Congratulations on having the opportunity for self-evaluation.  In many cases, we see the performance discussion as a one-way road.  The fact that you are asking this question means that the review process will be a dialogue.  That is so very helpful in ensuring you are on the same page as your manager and moving forward.

First of all, use your current goals and objectives as your discussion framework.  Before you meet with your manager, make note of your progress to date, milestones met, results achieved, obstacles encountered, and barriers to completion overcome.  

You may need to have a resources or priority discussion - especially based on your "day-to-day" comment above.  If you do, be honest, open and respectful.  Bring solutions to the table - not just problems.  Don't whine, make excuses, or "pass the buck."  Ultimately, we are all responsible for our choices.  Ownership of your performance (good and bad) will get you far.

By the way - I would also ask your manager if you could have quarterly reviews to ensure that you stay on track with your goals and that you and your manager clearly communicate.  (Monthly one-on-one sessions are even better!)

And remember, feedback is a gift.  We don't always like the "gifts" we receive, but we always "admire" (in this case, listen) and say "thank you".  After the fact, consider what you hear and think of examples where the feedback reflects reality.  You can always learn from another's perspective!

Best of luck to you!

How you handle your self-evaluation depends on your short and long term career goals, factoring in the goals of your manager and the organization.

So, this is not an itemized list of everything you've done.

Let's back up a bit. The annual performance evaluation is an organization's way of creating meaningful dialogue between a leader and her team, with the end goal of actually improving the performance of the organization.  Many organizations and managers don't use the time effectively and the exercise becomes a "process."  You can make a significant different with your manager by being candid and open, and by making your manager feel comfortable engaging in dialogue about the work, the challenges and the opportunities. Often managers are very uncomfortable with the "event" because they worry about disengaging their employee with negative feedback.

Susan's advice in an earlier answer is very good, and feedback is truly a gift. That works both ways, and managers need your feedback too - that is what creates the mutual dialogue and makes the team better.  Following Susan's process, I suggest setting the stage for how you and your manager - together through dialogue - can grow performance and develop skills.

That you are thoughtfully considering how best to use this opportunity speaks volumes about your commitment to the organization.  Good luck.

Use this as a chance to make your case for your excellent work.  Let ROMEO  help you identify what to include:

Result: What were you trying to achieve?  (Restate the goal or job objective.)
Outcome: What did you achieve? (Summarize your output.)
Measurement:  How well was it done? (Measure against evaluation criteria).
Extra value: How did this help the organization? (Link to mission or strategic objective, but provide tangible proof of how it helped, such as money or time savings, new processes, increased business, increased positive marketing exposure, etc.)
Obstacles:  What obstacles did you face in accomplishing this result?  How did you address the obstacles?  (Give examples of behaviors that helped to overcome obstacles.  Obstacles could be short timeframes, lack of resources, political fighting, lack of skills to do the task, etc.).

Remember:  think of this from your boss' perspective, not from yours.  Your boss will use your input to guide his/her thinking.  

Good luck!

Your self evaluation has to be focused on agreed upon objectives. Don't talk  about everything you did, but do mention if the objectives were changed during the performance period.

Assuming you have a performance plan with goals, I would review your accomplishments, and note your challenges.  Include a summary of your contributions to the department and organizational goals and how you could see yourself contributing in the coming year.  Like Miriam said, keep a focus on your career goals, and if your manager is open to feedback, introduce projects you would like to work on.  Discuss your career plans, and seek assistance in the best path to attain the next promotion.

In addition to the wonderful answers that have focused on "performance" (what objectives you've met, which you've not, challenges, etc.), allow me to interject a word about helping your company become a learning organization.    In order to do this, I recommend including in your "review":

1. Open discussion about your work style and talents, to help your manager know where you can help the team the most, and where challenges might lie.  The closer you can get to applying your unique set of skills and talents, the more satisfied you'll feel and the more productive the department will be.

2. Establish learning goals for the next