Assessments: Connecting Employees With the Performance Improvement Process

While most corporations use some form of structured performance appraisal system, use of structured self-assessments of performance is much less common. Some systems include an objective self-evaluation as a part of the process. Others capture the data, but do not provide explicit self-other comparisons. Still others offer employees the opportunity to reply in a letter or through open-ended comments. Many do not include self-evaluations at all. Companies that eschew self-assessments have described issues of unreliability, lack of credibility and lack of understanding of how to handle discrepancies as reasons to avoid self-evaluations.

Well-constructed and properly implemented self-assessments offer substantial benefits to companies, as well as to employees. Self-assessments offer the employee the opportunity for increased involvement, greater acceptance of the process and increased alignment between supervisor and employee expectations. They offer companies increased engagement for stakeholders, improved company-employee communication and more efficient collaboration. Design and implementation of self-assessments, however, require careful identification of key performance dimensions, modifications of rating anchors or consideration of inherent self-other rating discrepancies, and thoughtful integration of the self-assessment into the overall evaluation and improvement process.

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