The Power of a Strong Self-Appraisal for an Outstanding Performance Rating

The Power of a Strong Self-Appraisal for an Outstanding Performance Rating

As we rapidly approach the end of 2023, most companies are preparing for the ritual of the annual performance appraisal, where you learn just how much your company values your work and accomplishments. If all goes well, this process is rather pro forma and your performance rating is pretty much what you expected. However, for some of you—depending on how well you managed the process—your performance appraisal could come as an unpleasant surprise. This blog post is focused on helping you receive nothing less than an outstanding performance appraisal year after year. And, to help you appreciate one of the best weapons you have in your arsenal for achieving an outstanding performance rating is your strong, positive Self-Appraisal.

Many companies allow you to have input into the Performance Appraisal your boss submits by giving you the opportunity to first write and submit a Self-Appraisal. Think of both your Self-Appraisal and Performance Appraisal as opportunities to clarify the value you’ve added to the organization, and thus why you deserve an outstanding performance rating. ALWAYS write a strong, positive Self-Appraisal and submit it to your boss, even if your company has no formal process for doing so. It’s your best opportunity to directly present your case for an outstanding performance rating.

Write your Self-Appraisal using the same format and language your boss would use to write your actual Performance Appraisal.
Clearly and concisely describe your goals, objectives, accomplishments, and results (remember: results not activities!) If major obstacles were overcome, or if there were obstacles impossible to overcome, describe those and their impact on your results (but at all costs avoid making excuses.)

Describe the results you achieved as specifically as possible, using as much detail as necessary, so your results are perfectly clear to anyone who will read your performance appraisal—e.g., your boss, your boss’s boss, HR, and any others.
Provide a suggested (but realistic) rating and make sure you clarify how your work merits that particular rating. Note: If you suggest less than an outstanding rating, take the time to think through and discuss with your manager what you must and will do differently next year to warrant an outstanding performance rating.
Write your self-appraisal so well that your boss makes a few minor edits and then submits it to Human Resources pretty much as you wrote it.

Going forward, the key to ensuring you receive outstanding performance appraisals year after year is to manage the process carefully from beginning to end. You do this by working with your boss at the beginning of the year to develop realistic but challenging goals and objectives. Importantly, do your homework to ensure your goals and objectives are in direct support of your boss’s critical goals and deliverables. Finally, make sure you and your boss are aligned on what specific results are required to merit an outstanding performance rating. That may require updating your goals, objectives, and deliverables throughout the year as assignments and priorities change.

Use this link to access our Self-Assessment Worksheet and determine how you, as well as people critical to your success, view your current performance. If your current performance is insufficient for a really strong performance rating, use this worksheet to identify ways to improve the quality and impact of your results and deliverables.

Use this link to better understand why an outstanding performance rating on a consistent basis is so critical to your ongoing career success. Look for ways to “improve your game” to increase the likelihood of receiving an outstanding performance rating.

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