How to write an employee self-assessment or self-appraisal and job assessment

In most companies, the annual review cycle begins with an employee self-assessment of his or her performance and contributions. In a best-case scenario—managers should be involved in this process to guide it, manage expectations and open the lines of communication with the employee. Generally speaking, it is easy to get caught up in the details of writing the self-assessment and meeting deadlines and employees sometimes lose sight of the fact that the most important aspect of the self-assessment is the content—informing their managers of their achievements during the review period. It is also a prime opportunity to open a dialogue between the manager and employee, increasing the understanding of those achievements and expand clarity on the role expectations for each party.

How an employee perceives his or her job performance may be quite a bit different from the evaluations that are being done by his or her supervisor. This is often the product of factors, such as unrealistic expectations, a need for additional training, communication problems, or simply a manager's detachment from the day-to-day interactions with the staff members being supervised. An employee self-assessment evaluation is not only a chance for a worker to take control of his or her career by giving feedback on the current situation, but also to inform management regarding the need for training or necessary resources to make future success possible.

With online talent management solutions, companies are now able to easily conduct employee self-assessments throughout an organization and view the information from a strategic perspective. This information can be aggregated and analyzed from a team, departmental, or a company-wide view, enabling management to better understand the skill sets they possess in-house, and, of those which are performed well and which need developing or strengthening. 

Self-evaluation for performance review guidelines

A clearly focused and well-written self-assessment has the following attributes:

  • Restates objectives. Paraphrasing job objectives gives the manager a clear picture of how well an employee understands job performance expectations.
  • Highlights most significant achievements. The assessment doesn't need to be lengthy; however it should highlight all of the major achievements during the review period. Don't forget about achievements made early on in the performance review period. With an online talent management system, this information can be entered into the database as it happens, otherwise the employee will need to keep a paper trail of earlier achievements.
  • States why the achievement matters. Show a cause and effect of the contribution. Describe how the achievement has profited the company in bottom-line results, either by increasing revenue or decreasing expenses. This information should paint a clear picture of how important your job and / or department is to the company.
  • Emphasizes when employee actions or conduct was an important factor in success. Employee conduct or behavior is commonly taken into account in the performance rating. Be sure to bring to light specific instances where behavior made a positive difference in the outcome of an objective.
  • Acknowledges challenges. The word "challenges" has a negative connotation. However, overcoming a challenge shows you are able to achieve goals despite setbacks or obstacles. These obstacles may be technical or personal or limited resources available that an employee may need to rise above.
  • Offers specifics to improve performance in the future.

Self-appraisal case study: Belkin

The issue:
Belkin needed an online system to replace its outmoded, ineffective and manually-based processes that would allow them to consistently measure employee performance not only in terms of goals, but also against alignment with the company's overarching mission. They needed to be able to view performance ratings in a data-driven manner to enable them to make forward-thinking business-driven decisions.

The solution:
SuccessFactors provided Belkin with an online performance management system that included the employee profile, compensation and goal management modules giving them the ability to leverage data for talent ratings for comparison. 

The result:
The employee compliance rate for reviews was 100 percent.

Plot employee ratings provided by managers and self-appraisals; following this, Belkin compared these with talent review results. Difference in perception between the groups were subsequently highlighted and targeted for improved communication, resulting in a more unified understanding of performance expectations company-wide.

Once the self-appraisal tool was implemented, Belkin noticed that employees started to exhibit more awareness about their internal roles and performance at the company.


"We want to be the employer of choice for our employees of choice. To achieve this requires flexibility in the way we communicate with our diverse employee base."

Donna J. Van Gundy,
Director of Human Resources



We’ve all had to do them— the process of writing an employee self-assessment is not new, but the range of information that can be collected and analyzed has grown tremendously through the years. While the employee self-assessment does rely on the information provided by an individual, when used in conjunction with other performance management tools, such as 360-degree feedback, and goal management information, it allows the employee and supervisor to work together to set goals for employee development and career planning. This information, in turn, can be used to plot out team-wide or, even company-wide strategic possibilities for growth and improved performance.

About SuccessFactors

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