How to Write a Self-Appraisal

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 27 May 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

A performance appraisal is an essential management process that has a significant effect on employee engagement, collaboration, morale and growth. After working for a company for a while, you may want to compile a breakdown of your achievements, your growth journey and where you are heading regarding your career development. Self-appraisals allow you to know your progress and track your performance. In this article, we outline the process of how to write a good self-appraisal and tips for writing an error-free and clear evaluation of your progress.

What is a self-appraisal?

A self-appraisal is when you give yourself feedback regarding your performance over a specified period. It evaluates your achievements in relation to your set goals and based on the overall company performance. When appraising yourself, measure yourself against the performance of your colleagues. Look where they outperformed you and identify opportunities for growth.

With self-appraisal, you judge the quality of your work and the contribution you have made to the business' pursuit of its vision and realisation of its mission. These appraisals act as self-reflection on the challenges and opportunities you faced when working to achieve your objectives. Such evaluations are great in letting employees identify their personality and behaviours.

How to write a self-appraisal

While there is no single approach to self-appraisal, employees need to see self-assessment as an opportunity to present themselves accurately based on their performance. When writing a self-appraisal, aim to be accurate and honest. Remember to include everything pertaining to your work.

Here are some steps to assist you when writing an outstanding appraisal of yourself:

1. Be critical and honest

While reflecting on your past, ensure that you focus on your triumphs as much as you do on mistakes. Be honest and on point regarding your successes and challenges without forgetting areas that need improvement.

2. List all your achievements

Self-appraisals are about recognising your efforts and milestones. Mention all your achievements, including training completed and tasks accomplished. Ensure that the accomplishments you list show your best skills, professional development and work ethic.

3. Align your achievements to the organisation's overall vision

Once you've listed all your important achievements, ensure that they are in line with the organisation's goals and vision. Employers look for employees whose skills and knowledge complement the objectives of the organisation. Frame your achievements in the context of your department's objectives and your boss's strategic roadmap.

4. Reflect objectively and positively on any challenges

Mention the challenges you encountered in doing your job and list the opportunities available for improvement. Instead of simply highlighting challenges, highlight what various challenges taught you and how you will handle situations differently in the future.

5. Set your objectives

In self-review processes, setting your goals is critical since it showcases how much you are willing to stretch to achieve success. Use your accomplishments, mistakes and opportunities for improvement as the basis for formulating your objectives. Discuss how you plan to gain skills, knowledge and experience to make yourself a competitive candidate for senior positions in the firm.

6. Include figures and facts

Provides figures and substantiate your self-evaluation write-up with facts. Mention how the sales you made or the number of employees you trained. Provide details about the number of projects you accomplished and the number of projects you will complete in the next business cycle. Stick to facts, go straight to the point and highlight your top achievements using quantifiable data.

7. Share your thoughts and be open to critiques

Review your self-appraisal and give it to a trusted colleague for an opinion before submitting it to the personnel department. Use the feedback to make corrections and refine the self-assessment to ensure that it is concise and professional.

When conducting self-evaluation, do not rush through the process but take your time to prepare a clear and comprehensive appraisal of yourself. Schedule your time for performing the appraisal and ensure it is sufficient for you to cover all your accomplishments.

Importance of self-appraisal

Self-evaluations are vital processes for the optimal growth of employees at professional and personal levels. Through self-reflection, you provide insight about yourself and your behaviour, knowledge and values.

Writing self-appraisal is important because it:

  • Enables employees to reflect on their accomplishments and setbacks

  • Cultivates a self-driven attitude and intrinsic motivation in employees

  • Provides a sound basis for developing one's professional plans and goals

  • Encourages employee engagement in the performance review process

  • Serves as a foundation for salary raise, promotion or renewal of employment contract

  • Identifies gaps between employees' and employers' perceptions of performance

By writing a thoughtful and accurate appraisal of yourself, you are not only building your career but also creating a system of checks and balances for yourself.

Things to include in a self-appraisal

While most organisations in Hong Kong provide a template that guides employees through the process, it is always important to have your individual appraisal structure. Typically, a self-evaluation document should include:

Performance in relation to the job description

When employees craft an acceptance letter to accept a job, they know the tasks they will undertake. Companies expect employees to undertake their tasks as stated in their job descriptions. Performance appraisals enable people to check their performance to evaluate if they are meeting the terms of their job as indicated in the performance contract.

The advantages of linking self-appraisal to your description include:

  • Appraisals enable you to link your milestones directly to the roles you are expected to do.

  • You can easily note tasks you did well and those that require improvement.

  • Self-evaluation allows you to build your portfolio and manage your work efficiently.

  • You will know if the skills and competencies you applied to accomplish your tasks match those stated in the job description.

  • Aligning your performance to the job description is key when seeking promotion or salary raise.

Your achievements

List your achievements and recognise your professional development journey. Note the small things and influential people who contributed to your success. Your successes can include the tasks you completed on time, tasks where you went above and beyond your expectations, additional tasks you did that were not directly your responsibility and courses and training you took.

Your achievements represent the backbone of your growth. The higher you achieve, the better. When writing a self-appraisal, provide clear and specific information about the tasks you performed. Describe your participation in these tasks and the role you played in the accomplishment of these tasks. Remember to highlight the value of your contributions to meeting the organisation's overarching objectives.

Opportunities for improvement

In the professional world, reflecting on one's journey can help pinpoint areas one could have done better. Jot down the tasks you think you might have taken a shorter time or use fewer resources to accomplish. Recognise the things you will do in the future to improve your task delivery process.

Below are examples of how you can highlight opportunities for improvement in your self-appraisal"

  • "My time management skills were below the minimum standards, but I will learn and improve so I can deliver projects on time."

  • "I have found that I might have been apprehensive and defensive when handling customers' feedback, but I know it is good to hear from clients. I will listen to customers' feedback, learn from their comments and assist the organisation in boosting customer satisfaction."

  • "I understand that my interpersonal skills within the department require improvement. I will attend the voluntary training and workshops on developing good interpersonal skills to improve in this area."

Because self-appraisals improve your performance, recognising the slightest opportunity for improvement is critical when creating your appraisal.

Professional and personal development

Self-evaluations are invaluable in moulding employees to be more responsible and prepared for more demanding managerial and executive roles. When evaluating your professional growth and development, measure your results based on your professional goals.

Self-assess if you have garnered the required skill sets, licenses and certifications to align you with your career objectives. Identify the areas you have mastered and highlight those that still need your attention. Set realisable goals, celebrate small and big successes, and stick to your career growth plan.

Periodic self-assessment gives you the opportunity to review performance and put down your expectations. Employees who undertake self-evaluation performance reviews seriously tend to be self-driven and achieve more than those who perceive the evaluation process as another personnel department bureaucracy.

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