It’s appraisal time for a lot of us, and with it, comes the race to getting to the highest bonus bracket. Except, there’s one big hurdle. Has Human Resources already shot you an email with the link to fill up your self-assessment?
Has that left you staring at the screen twiddling your thumbs muttering to yourself that this is your manager’s job? Well, we’re going to make the job easier for you today.
Many organisations ask employees to assess themselves as the first step of the evaluation process in the appraisal. This is done to give employees a ‘voice’ rather than simply be a recipient of feedback from their manager. Such participation helps make employees more engaged in their performance as well as the review process.
But, as we all know, that is easier said than done. Don’t worry, though. With these nuggets of advice pooled from HR experts around the globe, you’ll be writing your self-assessment in no time!
START WITH THE TECHNICAL GOALS
Vedant Kantharia, Director at Unify Search Solutions, an HR Consultancy firm, suggests that you first identify the technical and non-technical goals. “Technical goals include those that are directly related to the specific skillsets needed for your job,” says Kantharia. “For example, sales targets for a salesperson or increasing website traffic for a digital marketing executive – these are technical goals.Such goals are usually quantifiable and easier to assess. Evaluate yourself against these targets first. Then, move on to non-technical goals, which are mainly soft skills. For example, communication skills or people management -these are nontechnical goals.”
TALK TO PEOPL
So how do you judge yourself on non-technical skills such as whether you are “contributing to the entire department’s knowledge growth”? If your organization doesn’t quantify this, you need to talk to people within your department. What have others done to contribute? Have you done anything similar? Talk to people you have helped in the past. Sometimes we forget the assistance we have given others that they can recall. Note all these points to write in your self-assessment.
Always emphasise your accomplishments and achievements first. This creates a first impression that sets the tone for your evaluator. If possible, align your achievements with the overall goals of the organisation. A summary like “I, along with the team, created the sales strategies that led to a 10X growth in customers and a greater than 70% retention rate” showcases how the results of your effort helped the company achieve its customer-focused goals.
Acknowledge your mistakes carefully. You want to use a tone that shows that you have learnt from your mistakes instead of regretted making them. So instead of writing “I was unable to complete a project on time” and leaving it at that, you would rather explain by saying, “Due to resource constraints, I was unable to complete a project on time. However, I have already discussed a solution with my manager and HR so that this situation does not repeat itself.”
USE SELF-EVALUATION TO ASK FOR WHAT YOU NEED
If you think your people skills really suck and you can’t get any of your peers to like you, this is the best time to ask for enrolment to a training course! Timothy Butler, a senior fellow and the director of Career Development Programs at Harvard Business School , thinks that smart employees use self-assessment to look for career development opportunities. “Because if you don’t ask, it’s not going to happen,” says Butler. Telling your manager what you need not only exhibits your capability to reflect and self-assess seriously but also shows that you are a solution-oriented person. Also, this is the best way to ensure that you have a more positive assessment in the people skills section during the next appraisal cycle.
CATER TO LAZY BOSSES
Some managers are too lazy or simply too busy to spend time in articulating their evaluation of you. Instead of writing something fresh, they would rather copy-paste what you give them. “Many lazy bosses see it as an easy way to shuffle off the difficult task of writing a review,” says Dick Grote, author of How to be Good at Performance Appraisals. Cater to this by writing your appraisal in a way that all your boss needs to do is replace ‘I’ with ‘he’ and ‘my’ with ‘his’.
TALK TO YOUR BOSS
Finally, talk to your boss before submitting, especially if you have questions or nagging doubts. If you feel like a certain evaluation parameter is unfair, discuss your concerns with your manager to understand how you can self-assess. Rajeev Mehta (name changed), a marketing professional, found it disconcerting that the appraisal required him to target high financial goals as well as business delivery goals. “My profile was under Digital Marketing,” says Mehta, “yet I had marketing as well as finance goals, with both having the same weightage, even though there was a separate team handling the latter. On the other hand, I had given a lot to support various team members which wasn’t even being evaluated. Therefore, it is important to build a rapport with your boss so that when you explain these things, he can find a way to balance out your appraisal.”