Guest Post: The Importance of Self-Assessments

What follows is a guest post by a fan of this blog.  Erin Palmer writes about topics like PHR Certification as well as online hr degree programs.  Erin can be reached on Twitter @Erin_E_Palmer.  I hope you enjoy this HR topic.

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There is always room for job improvement. No matter where you are in your career progression, self-assessments can be an excellent tool to measure your job performance, track your professional growth and make sure you meet your career goals. Self-assessments are often included as part of employee performance reviews, but you should still consider doing one even if your employer does not require it or if you are self-employed. You can’t better yourself and get what you want from work until you know yourself.

Why Use Self-Assessments?

Self-assessments are an important tool for employees and managers. Employees can use their self-assessment to define and track their career goals, discover areas in which they would benefit from additional training or education and identify talents and strengths. Self-assessments can also help employees reflect on their accomplishments during the review period and describe the contributions they have made to the company. This can often provide the support needed to pursue raises, promotions and additional responsibilities.

Managers can use self-assessments in similar ways. Managers benefit from soliciting feedback from their employees. However, employees are often reluctant to be forthright with their manager if there are problems. Self-assessments can help the employees objectively express their point of view. Moreover, managers can also conduct their own self-assessment. Once managers understand what their strengths and weaknesses are, they can develop appropriate action plans and goals which will ultimately help them become better leaders.

Self-Assessments Can Help You Monitor Your Career Progress

Completing a self-assessment each year helps you chart your progress so that you can stay on your desired career trajectory. You should strive to be as objective as possible and rate yourself based on facts and tangible results, not intentions. By setting annual goals and evaluating your own performance against them, you’ll be able to see whether or not you’re on track to achieve your overall career goals. More importantly, if you’re not on track, you’ll be able to see why.

Self-assessments can be used as an opportunity to initiate discussions with your manager on your performance as it relates to your career goals. If your self-assessment ratings are higher than your manager’s ratings on your performance evaluation, you should determine the reason why. Many employees today work with a high level of self-direction and your manager might be unaware of some of your contributions and achievements. Or, your performance may be falling short of your manager’s expectations. An open discussion will help you and your manager have a more complete picture of your performance.

Self-Assessments Can Help You Find and Fix Weaknesses

Self-assessments give you an opportunity to honestly evaluate your performance, which can help you identify areas in which you need to improve. Before developing plans to ameliorate your weaknesses, you should consider them in the context of your overall career goals and focus on improving weaknesses that are most relevant to helping your achieve your goals.

Knowing your weaknesses has the additional benefit of helping you develop more satisfying and suitable career goals. Weaknesses can sometimes indicate areas that hold little interest or appeal to you. In general, people tend to avoid doing what they don’t like to do, which can lead to underperformance in related tasks. Once you know where your skills and talents as well as your weaknesses lie, you can match that information up with career goals that place greater emphasis and reward on your talents and less on your weaknesses.

Self-Assessments Can Help Build Communication with Peers

Many people rely on input from co-workers on their self-assessment to help them gain a more complete picture of their overall performance. Gathering feedback from teammates, or even customers, can give you helpful information on how your performance is perceived by those around you. This can be particularly valuable if your performance evaluation assesses your ability to work effectively as a member of a team or factors in customer satisfaction. Soliciting input from others has other benefits as well. It can provide information that your supervisor can use on your performance evaluation and it can lead to an increase in communication within a team which can improve teamwork.

Self-Assessments Can Be a Valuable Tool in Achieving Your Career Goals

Self-assessments present many benefits, including the opportunity to establish a dialogue between you and your supervisor about your performance. Self-assessments can help you identify your accomplishments, set goals for the upcoming evaluation period, and identify next steps in your personal and professional development. Completing a self-assessment is an excellent way to gather information about yourself so that you can make informed career decisions and reach your professional goals.

Erin Palmer writes about topics like PHR Certification as well as online hr degree programs.  Erin can be reached on Twitter @Erin_E_Palmer.

Contact the author with questions or comments.
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