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Employee self-assessments can help in shaping performance goals, improving performance metrics, and creating a plan for career development. Whenever a manager is evaluating an employee, the more information they have, the better the outcome. Self-assessments provide valuable insight into the personality of an individual, as well as how that individual sees himself or herself. They can be used in cooperation with other tools to help guide managers in their coaching and development sessions.

When Should Self-Assessments Be Completed?

Assessment tools such as Hogan Assessments, Myers-Briggs, Business DNA and StrengthsFinder, can be completed early in an employee's career. The qualities that these tools measure aren't going to change over time. The assessments can be taken and used in the future to help guide managers' understanding of the employee's personality and preferences throughout their professional relationship.

Performance self-assessments, on the other hand, should be given close to a performance review- approximately 1-2 weeks. These self-reflection worksheets allow employees to take a look at where they are now, where they should be, and where they want to go. Self-assessment can help an employee start to think about what went right, what went wrong, and how they can make positive changes for the future. After they are completed, managers then review the worksheets to look for patterns and opportunities for development. Do the employee's ideas of their own strengths and weaknesses align with job performance? Are they disconnected or misguided? These insights can help guide the eventual performance conversation.

Enhancing Self-Assessments With More Data

The effectiveness of self-assessments can be enhanced by a 360-degree assessment. Employees can have a skewed version of their own performance. They can either be far too hard on themselves, or they can have an inflated sense of their own performance. A 360-degree assessment gives employees a new perspective, giving them insight into how other people - peers, team members, managers etc perceive them throughout the organization.

Such assessments should be completed annually and when an employee changes jobs within the organization. However, the purpose of a 360-degree assessment should be clear when soliciting feedback. 360-degree assessments are not used for performance reviews but for development plans. An individual will answer questions far differently if they believe the assessment is being used to track employee performance than they will if they believe the assessment is being used for development purposes.

Know The Power and Purpose of Assessments

Before handing an employee a self-assessment for the purpose of tracking employee performance, managers must have a solid understanding of the purpose of the assessment as well as the power of the tool. If the self-assessment is centered on long-term goals and career development, it should not be used as a primary tool during a conversation about performance; however, it can help guide the manager during coaching sessions.

Self-assessments get employees thinking about themselves: the job they do, how they do it, where they fit into the big picture, and what their goals are. When used with 360-degree assessments and performance reviews, they can show the behaviors that bring positive results, and those that bring less desirable results. In order for those assessments to be valuable, managers must be sure to give them at the proper times, and for the proper purposes.


Larry Hart

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