How to Write a Self-Performance Review (With Examples)

employee completing a self-evaluation
Morgane Lança
February 16 2024

Who can honestly say they can’t wait to complete their self-assessment? Identifying and detailing our shortcomings can be a nightmare. Plus, nobody wants to pat themselves too much on the back for a job well done – at least not on the record, and definitely not in front of their manager.

If you’re not adequately prepared for them, self-performance reviews can be a horrendous prospect. However, 65% of employees say they want more clearly defined goals and tasks. And when conducted effectively, self-evaluations are the best way to do just that! 

Here is an overview of what self-performance reviews entail, how they can benefit both employees and organizations and how you can conduct and write the best self-performance assessment.

What is a self-evaluation?

As their name suggests, self-evaluations consist in a reflection on one’s work and performance and are a crucial part of performance management processes. They allow employees to think about their work in the past year or the past few months and consider how it contributes to organizational success.

This evaluation method is a great way to identify strengths and areas of improvement. Self-performance reviews also help managers see how their coworkers perceive themselves and their team and how they wish to grow professionally in the future.

Benefits of employee self-evaluations

There are great benefits linked to implementing effective self-assessments in your performance management process:

  • Setting focused goals: When combined with regular performance appraisals, self-reviews help set performance objectives that are focused on growth opportunities and areas of improvement.
  • Increasing goal alignment: Individual objectives should be aligned with team and business goals to support organizational success and create a cohesive work environment.
  • Improving communication between manager and employee: Self-assessments ensure that performance reviews become two-way conversations and that the employee’s voice is heard during the meeting. It also fosters transparency between managers and employees.
  • Preparing for the performance review: Completing a self-evaluation before the formal performance appraisal helps employees get in the right mindset and start reflecting on all the aspects of their own performance while preparing comments and goals they want to share with their manager.
  • Encouraging appreciation of your own work: On top of identifying shortcomings, self-evaluations encourage employees to celebrate their accomplishments and contributions to the team and the organization.
  • Promoting self-awareness: Self-awareness is an essential soft skill for productive workers, and self-evaluations help build a sense of self-appreciation and performance ownership and encourage self-improvement.
  • Avoiding performance review bias: Involving employees in the process prevents potential biases and one-way conversations. Implementing 360-degree feedback strategies is a great way to ensure that performance appraisals are fair and effective.

Tips to conduct effective self-performance reviews

The following tips apply to both managers and employees – in that case, managers need to encourage these practical approaches, and employees need to adopt them to improve self-evaluation processes throughout the entire organization.

1) Rely on facts, not on impressions

Although intuition and hunches can be great ways to notice productivity issues and address them during one-on-one meetings with your employees, you should, most importantly, encourage them to rely on facts.

Have they reached significant milestones this year? Do they feel like they have reached their maximum potential? What have been their biggest successes and their biggest struggles? 

You should encourage them to share their personal experiences and follow the completion of their goals throughout the year to ensure they have a solid idea of where they are in terms of performance.

For impactful self-reviews, employees can share the completion status of their OKRs, instances where there were significant contributors to a crucial project, or skills they acquired recently. Of course, they also need to underline their shortcomings and struggles and think about ways they could solve these issues.

2) Don’t assume that less is more

Don’t be afraid to say too much or overshare: self-evaluations are the perfect moment to convey your feelings and share your frustrations (respectfully and mindfully, of course). Managers should encourage their team members to detail each of their answers and leave them enough space and time to do so.

Performance reviews are rarely black or white, and a few words cannot encompass the complexity of an employee’s daily work. Instead, you should take the necessary time to focus on your performance and effectively convey how you evaluate it.

3) Find balance between the good and the not-so-good

Your self-evaluation should not be too laudatory, nor should it be excessively self-deprecating. Even if you think that you have had a spotless professional record this year, take the time to consider how you could improve your workflow and learn new things. If you feel unproductive and have not reached your full potential, try to find contributions you can be proud of and concrete ways to improve in the future.

Of course, the questions asked on the self-review form need to encourage appreciation and self-improvement, and managers should remind employees to reflect on their strengths and weaknesses.

How to write a self-assessment

1) Take the time to complete the evaluation

You shouldn’t rush the process; instead, take the necessary steps and time to complete the evaluation carefully. Depending on the frequency of performance reviews in your company, you only get to reflect on your performance once or twice a year. Make the most of this opportunity by writing your self-review in a peaceful room without interruption.

Experts say you should take at least two to three hours to complete your self-assessment.

You can start writing down your answers and return to them the next day if you need more time to put your thoughts into words.

2) Use your own voice and words

You can draw inspiration from examples and templates. Still, your personality and your true feelings should transpire in the self-evaluation so that it is clear that you have taken the time to think about your performance. This approach will help your manager understand your specific needs and preferences. Your tone should be professional but convey your personal feelings and experience.

3) Think about how you truly feel

Self-reviews should be rooted in honesty and transparency. You should express your true feelings and give honest feedback. This exercise requires time and dedication.

Although your feelings do matter, don’t convey them in a brash or thoughtless way. You are more likely to be heard and understood if you express yourself in a composed and articulated manner.

4) Consider the feedback you have received

Performance reviews are only helpful if built on ongoing feedback shared throughout the year. If you have received constructive feedback, see if you have effectively acted on it and improved your work accordingly. Your self-review is also the perfect opportunity to evaluate if you have received enough feedback or would like to receive it differently.

If applicable, you can also review the peer feedback you received before the performance appraisal meeting and think about how teamwork and communication could be improved. Feedback on managerial practices is also crucial for a culture of feedback that benefits the entire team and the organization.

5) Know your worth

During a self-evaluation, you should appreciate your contributions and realize that you are part of a whole, and participate in organizational success on a day-to-day basis.

All in all, you should highlight the positive aspects of your performance and not only focus on the negatives. List all your accomplishments and contributions – even tiny ones if they make you particularly proud – and mention them during the meeting.

When writing your self-assessment, remember that no one likes to hear self-deprecating comments…

6) Reflect on your mistakes

But nobody likes a bragger, either.

Remember that the main objective here is to find ways to optimize your work practices and become the best version of yourself. If you notice opportunities to learn from past mistakes or difficulties, you can devise ways to improve yourself.

Of course, your manager will have valuable insight to share on supporting your growth, but self-reviews allow you to have a say in your own employee performance management.

 

7) Identify achievable goals and future projects you want to work on

Although it is unfortunately often overlooked in performance appraisals, this is a fundamental question: what do you enjoy the most about your day-to-day work?

Most of the time, we are more efficient when working on projects we love. Of course, your job cannot be only made up of your favorite tasks, but if they align with team and business goals, now is the time to express that you want to participate in these projects.

Your self-evaluation should also focus on skills you want to improve or acquire or career growth opportunities you would like to pursue in the future. If you want to be more involved in team projects or learn to use a software solution, feel free to express this wish in your evaluation.

8) Prepare for the actual performance review meeting

Now that you have reflected on your strengths, your areas of improvement, your feelings and the goals you want to achieve, and that you have put it all on paper (or not, since we don’t recommend conducting a performance review process on paper documents!), you are ready for your formal performance review.

Remember to prepare in advance for the appraisal. It can be helpful to write down notes and comments to ensure you effectively convey what you want to share during the meeting. You can also have your list of objectives and the main points of your self-review to refresh your memory and keep track of what you have to discuss.

The performance meeting should be conducted transparently and respectfully on both sides, so be mindful of what you say – and, more importantly, how you say it.

Examples of Employee Self-assessment Phrases

If you struggle to find the right words to express yourself in your self-evaluation, here are concrete examples of self-assessment responses to get inspired.

Job Performance and Individual Goals

It stands to reason that a self-performance review will focus on your performance goals! Here are answers you can use to talk about your objectives and their completion:

“My results have improved by 20% over the course of the evaluation period. My goals were set at a 10% increase, so I feel really proud of this achievement.”

“This project I completed will improve our employer brand and increase potential customer interest.”

“I have worked hard towards achieving my performance goals and managed to reach most of them over the course of the evaluation period.”

“I have acted on the feedback I have received and came up with creative solutions to manage a challenging project.”

“I failed to reach this specific goal we had set. I was short on time and faced challenges when using the necessary resources and tools to complete this goal.”

Teamwork and Collaboration Skills

Teamwork is undoubtedly one of the most important components of productivity and motivation. Here is how you can comment on team spirit and collaboration in your self-evaluation process:

“I work well with my team members and strive to meet our collective goals by creating a collaborative environment.”

“I helped my coworkers on their projects when they needed my help and contributed to team success.”

“I actively participate in team discussions and try to support my colleagues while maintaining a positive attitude.”

“I handle conflicts professionally, have good relationships with my team and am open to feedback from colleagues.”

“I lacked opportunities to work with my team members but would love to do so in the future.”

Time and Project Management Skills

Time management skills are crucial to reach your best level of productivity. You also need to be able to prioritize tasks and projects when needed:

“I prioritize tasks effectively to meet deadlines and deliver results on time.”

“I manage my workload efficiently and remain productive even in high-pressure situations.”

“I keep my workspace, schedule and files organized to be more efficient on a daily basis.”

“I know how to be flexible in my schedule and to prioritize tasks when necessary.”

“It can be difficult for me to manage my time and my projects and I would like to get a tool to help me improve in this aspect.”

Significant Contributions

In this section, you should highlight your successes and the achievements that made you proud. Time to pat yourself on the back with these examples of phrases!

“The project I completed helped us increase our productivity and results exceeded expectations.”

“I developed a new skill that will support my daily work and help me grow professionally.”

“I actively participate in communication channels and work chats that streamline work processes and build team spirit.”

“I helped organize team-building activities that benefited the entire company.”

“I provide high-quality work and have strengthened my technical skills.”

Career and Professional Development

Self-evaluations often ask you to reflect on your career and envision your future in the organization. Here are some examples of phrases you can use to talk about your professional growth:

“I have greatly improved my communication skills, and would like to develop other soft skills in the future.”

“I demonstrated leadership skills during the review period and think I could explore this skill further.”

“I am ready to take on new projects in this field as I am confident in my ability to successfully complete them.”

“I would like to be provided more training and learning opportunities in this field to improve the quality and effectiveness of my work.”

“I am ready to move forward in my career and would like to discuss it during my performance appraisal meeting.”

See? Self-reviews can be that easy – and that useful for employees and organizations.

When implemented and conducted transparently, they support recognition, individual growth and business success. They are also crucial for an influential culture of feedback and modern performance management processes such as 360-degree appraisals.

Want to conduct your self-assessments directly on a user-friendly platform?

Discover Folks HR's flexible performance management software!

REQUEST YOUR FREE DEMO

Related articles

30+ Employee Retention Statistics You Need to Know

Considering the costs of recruiting and onboarding processes and the loss of skills and expertise associated with high turnover rates, it is crucial to focus on engagement strategies – and on key statistics that showcase the state of retention in companies. Here is everything you need to know about employee retention, and tips to increase retention rates in your organization.

Read more
What’s an HRIS: Definition and Top Features
In recent years, Human Resources Information Systems (HRIS) have been at the forefront of HR discussions and are taking on an increasingly important role in companies’ human resources management. But more concretely, what is an HRIS software solution? What are its key features, and above all, how can it help you reach your organizational goals?
Read more
Performance Review Tips for Managers: Dos and Don’ts

There is so much to be said when it comes to annual or quarterly performance reviews. The truth? It is the little things you do for your employee year-round to monitor their progress…

Read more
Human Resources Today