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StrategyAug 25, 2017

It’s Worth It: Motivation to Write a Self-Assessment

Allison De La Torre

I mentioned to a few friends that my company’s annual reviews process was coming up, and I was starting to think about writing my self-assessment. Two of them responded, “That’s so weird; we don’t do that at our companies. Why can’t our managers just give us feedback? Why do you have to write a self-assessment?”

I laughed; granted, that would be much simpler. But there are several reasons why our Career Performance Management (CPM) approach is an extremely valuable model. So, whether you are reading this from another company and can implement the model in your own organization, or you are a prospective employee and are curious to see how you can grow your career at Credera, or especially if you are a current Crederian who needs more motivation to embark on your self-assessment – this list is for you.

Reflect Your Pursuit of Excellence

First, self-assessments reflect our need to evaluate ourselves and continuously improve. By nature, Crederians are hardworking, driven performers who continually seek excellence and progress. Sitting back and waiting for feedback is passive, not proactive, and passivity does not lead to growth. We know we are not perfect, and as long as we are humans we never will be. But we can take steps each year to lead ourselves in the right direction. Requiring employees to self-assess our performance reminds us of the value of striving for excellence.

Keep Your Promises

Writing a self-assessment holds us accountable to do throughout the year what we said we would do in previous self-assessments. A part of maintaining integrity is keeping one’s word. If I write and sign off on a commitment to improve my meeting facilitation skills, then I must follow through and do exactly that.

Knowing that the next CPM cycle is fast approaching makes me evaluate my performance, not simply if I’m ready to receive feedback from a manager. I know I have the responsibility to take a detailed inventory of my actions and how I honored my commitments. At Credera, our self-assessments are one major tool we use to stand behind the largest four words on our website’s landing page: “We Keep Our Promises.”

Goal Setting

Beyond promises, a vital component of our CPM self-assessments is the Goal Setting section. We recommend writing two or three personal objectives as specific and measurable targets to aim for throughout the next review period or year.

I have found the goal setting section to be very impactful for me. My reviewer’s feedback on my previous self-assessment informed me that I can improve on displaying greater levels of confidence and presence in meetings, so I set a goal that read, “I will display more confidence as a consultant to our clients, using a more confident tone of voice and fewer filler expressions, and in turn allowing the clients to show confidence in my role.” At the start of being a project manager, I led meetings tentatively and cautiously, but now I more confidently answer questions, request actions from teammates, and voice my insight when appropriate. The project sponsor actually commented that she is confident in my ability to continue in the project manager role for their next phase of the project, and saw how she couldn’t do the project going forward without me. Goal setting pays off!

My goals continue to linger in the back of my mind for every interaction. I consider how I can continually show more confidence, so that by my next self-assessment, I can replace a previous goal with one to take me to the next level.

Own Your Career

As much as we might like it to be, it’s not your manager’s job to evaluate your progress against your professional goals. Yes, he or she provides positive or constructive feedback to manage your contribution to company goals. But part of a valuable annual review is managing your personal career trajectory and progress.

Leaders at Credera sincerely care about each employee’s goals and growth, so self-assessments are in place to help us take control of our career paths – before five years fly by and we aren’t where we thought we’d be. Sitting down to write a detailed self-assessment is taking responsibility for your goals, while also freeing your manager up to provide input and counsel as appropriate. Be specific – both detailed and concise – when articulating your progress, achievements, and goals. This leads me to my last point.

No One Knows ‘You’ Better Than You

Oftentimes your reviewer is someone who has worked with you or knows elements of what you’ve worked on this year, but no one knows how you’ve handled every assignment, responsibility, or conversation like you do. You can most accurately assess and defend your performance and efforts, just as you can most honestly admit the areas in which you are seeking to improve. Since we value honesty (and progress) over perfection, we would rather see employees openly identify weaknesses. Otherwise, we miss the first step to becoming stronger.

Do you need another reason to begin the journey of writing a year-end self-assessment?  Try not to overthink it. Be thorough, but don’t lose sight of the purpose to learn and grow. If your company has never implemented a Career Performance Management model before and you’re unsure how to start, reach out to us at CPM_Committee@credera.com, and we’d love to help.