Whether you're a manager or employee, reviews aren't a particularly popular subject and with them comes the often-despised self-evaluation. You may ask yourself: "How can I shine the best spotlight on my performance without coming off like a braggart?" And you also may justifiably wonder, "What is it used for." Never fear: We've talked with experts and done the research to take the mystery out of this oft-misused piece of HR paperwork.
"The thing managers like doing least is performance reviews. They look at is as a pain in the neck and something they are forced to do. That's how most bosses, department heads and employers are," says Ford Myers, author of the book, "Get The Job You Want, Even When No One's Hiring."
Many companies don't pay much attention to self-evaluations. "Some companies take them very seriously and they take action accordingly, but most companies do it as a formality because they think they should, but they don't really pay attention to the self-evaluations," says Myers.
According to John Reed, from Robert Half Technology, the companies that are doing it right are using the self-evaluation portion of the review for two reasons:
It forces employees to evaluate themselves and their performance.
It helps managers get their arms around whether or not an employee has an accurate understanding of their job performance.
"The self-assessment is an essential part of performance evaluation because it's an opportunity for you to assess your own achievements. You own the performance appraisal. You should look across the past year and tell your manager what you've done and areas you'd like to focus on," says Michelle Roccia, executive vice president of Employee Engagement at WinterWyman.
Talk About your Career Map
The self-evaluation should not be focused just on your job, according to Myers. It should also be focused on your long-term career plan. "It's an opportunity for you to reflect on how you're doing in your career, not just your job," says Myers. Use it to think about where you are going long-term and where you are in your career.
From an employee perspective, if there is not a career plan in place or not one consistently followed, then use this as an opportunity to sit down with your manager and say, "Hey, this is what's really important in my career. I want to build these additional skills, I want to be certified, I want to be a manager, I want a raise... ." Then you need to map out a plan together and be in agreement. "Doing this makes expectations very real and tangible," says Reed.
Keep an Open Dialogue
If companies are going to use the self-assessment then they should educate their employees on the value and reasons for doing so as well as explain clearly how they are or are not related to wage increases or bonuses. "We train our employees on the importance of the self-assessment and the whole performance appraisal process," says Roccia.
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