Mastering the Self-Evaluation: A Step-by-Step Guide to Increased Self-Awareness

Jan 25, 2024 | Performance Management, Professional Development

The modern performance review prioritizes self-understanding and empowerment of employees. Within this upgraded review process, employees can complete a self-evaluation to deepen their self-awareness and take charge of their growth. While accurately assessing one’s own performance can prove difficult, using the right strategies can amplify the value of self-evaluations.

In this article, we’ll examine the role of self-assessments in strengthening employee performance and discuss how to conduct them successfully. We’ll also share some self-evaluation performance review examples.

Table of Contents

1. The Role of Self-Evaluation in Modern Performance Management

2. Questions for Self-Evaluations

3. Mastering Self-Performance Reviews

The Role of Self-Evaluation in Modern Performance Management

Let’s first discuss the benefits of using self-evaluations. Then, we’ll address their relevance to contemporary people management values and processes.


In the modern performance review, the self-evaluation  fulfills three crucial purposes:

  • Deepening self-awareness
  • Highlighting blind spots and hidden strengths
  • Incorporating input from the employee into the review process

Self-awareness will increase as employees reflect on their achievements and weaknesses. Plus, by comparing the results of the self-evaluation with the manager’s performance review (or feedback from 360s), you can identify blind spots and unknown strengths. This will further deepen self-awareness and support performance improvement. 

Further, employees can highlight key milestones and needs for growth in their self-evaluations, refreshing the manager’s memory. Accomplishments can range from development of technical skills to time-management and human skills. Managers can then consider these factors in their own evaluations.

Alignment with HR Goals

Conducting self-evaluations aligns with contemporary performance management practices in several ways:

  • Empowering employees to assess their own progress.
  • Leveraging employees’ ideas rather than following a top-down approach to performance management.
  • Promoting development of emotional intelligence through self-awareness.

With self-assessments, the performance review becomes a dialogue rather than a lecture. Employees will take a more active role in the conversation when they’ve gathered their thoughts through a self-assessment. In turn, participating more fully in developmental conversations will boost investment in the process, along with engagement.

Questions for Self-Evaluations

An HR professional creating questions for employee self-evaluations
Credit: Mikhail Nilov/Pexels

A good self-evaluation includes sections on achievements, needs for growth, and goals. Quality performance management software will include customizable self-evaluation templates, simplifying the process. The following self-review template includes instructions for employees on how to complete the evaluation. (Add the job description for a particular role under that section of the evaluation for employees’ reference.)

Key Achievements

Specify your main accomplishments, stating the results you achieved and their impact on the organization. Reflect on challenges you’ve overcome, as well as outcomes achieved, quantifying results where possible.

Collaboration and Communication

Reflect on how you’ve used teamwork and communication skills over the review period. How have you developed these skills during this time?

Areas for Growth

Reflect on your main weaknesses and their effects on your work. What specific skills, communication abilities, knowledge, or experience would allow you to better serve your team?

Job Description

Does the job description (included here) still match your work duties? If not, how have your responsibilities changed?

Career Direction

Reflect on broader career goals and how your current work fits into them. Name any changes you wish to make. 


Write up to 3 new goals for the coming review period. You can later discuss and fine-tune them with your manager.

The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) offers another self-evaluation template with both open-ended and rating questions. SHRM also shares a sample appraisal with both employee and manager responses.

Mastering Self-Performance Reviews

An employee completing her self-performance review at a round table
Credit: Alex Green /Pexels

Share these tips for writing effective self-reviews with employees. This will maximize the value of each self-evaluation. You can also provide self-assessment performance evaluation examples, such as the ones we’ve provided below.

Attributes of an Effective Self-Evaluation

A good self-review is honest, specific, and clear. By presenting a balanced view of strengths and weaknesses, it conveys a high level of self-understanding. In addition to naming mistakes and shortcomings, it should explain what employees have learned from them. A candid review will enhance self-awareness and lead to genuine growth.

Writing Self-Evaluation Responses: Key Tips and Examples

To write more objectively, speak of your work rather than yourself. By separating yourself from your work, you’ll write a more honest appraisal. Avoid “I am” statements, instead focusing on what you’ve delivered, as Liz Wiseman says in Harvard Business Review. “Maintaining a separation between your work and yourself will help you see yourself as someone who is dynamic, fluid, and capable of growth,” she asserts. “Bringing this mindset into the performance review process will result in feedback on your work—not your character.”

Some employees may fear alerting their boss to weaknesses that may have gone unnoticed. However, acknowledging your shortcomings shows emotional intelligence (EI). Honestly appraising your weaknesses will typically impress your manager rather than undermine your image. Thoughtfulness and diligent preparation are what will make you shine in the self-assessment—not perfection.

Focus on specific actions you’ve taken rather than sharing vague descriptive terms. Use active verbs to illustrate them (UC Santa Barbara shares a chart of verbs to use here).

Try to view yourself through the eyes of other key stakeholders, as Wiseman adds. Consider the value you’ve added or problems you’ve solved for your team, boss, or customers. 

When writing a performance review for yourself, examples will help clarify what to do. Here are a few self-evaluation performance review examples.

Financial Analysis

Conducted detailed financial analysis that allowed my manager to prepare an accurate budget. This thorough analysis led to XX in cost savings. However, I was rushing to meet this deadline, which caused some unnecessary stress within our department. In the future, I will consult with all stakeholders and begin drafting the budget well before the deadline.

Talent Management

Successfully trained 10 newly onboarded employees, who are now working at full productivity. Strengthening my communication skills and emotional intelligence made this possible. To continue building their confidence, I will need to share feedback with them more frequently (e.g., 3 times a week instead of once). I also need to delegate more tasks to experienced employees, giving them stretch opportunities while affording myself more time for check-ins.


Increased social media engagement by 15% through the campaign I launched this quarter. Lead conversions increased by 10% in parallel with this success. Areas for growth include more carefully editing social media content. Several posts had errors that created confusion; responding to related inquiries took up substantial time for customer service staff.

Project Management

Led the team in meeting all project deadlines on time, while increasing client satisfaction by 20%. However, I could have streamlined the workflow process, better clarified duties, and improved communication by holding brief daily team check-ins. This would increase efficiency and minimize stress for team members. Prior to launching the next project, I will redefine roles, duties, and workflow.

These self-performance review examples show how key points can be phrased. They present a balanced view of strengths and weaknesses, highlighting successes and lessons learned.

Setting and Achieving Performance Goals

Encourage employees to set realistic yet aspirational performance goals within self-evaluations. Strong goals will foster personal and professional growth.

What are some good performance goals examples?

  • Design a new product feature that addresses X issue.
  • Conduct a customer research study that determines the number-one pain point they’re experiencing.
  • Improve employee net promoter score by 25%.
  • Train and mentor three employees to prepare them for advanced roles. 
  • Increase sales by 10% within the quarter. 

Set goals with measurable targets. Performance goals like these provide clear outcomes to aim for. In the next section, we’ll discuss tools that can support goal achievement.

Utilizing Primalogik to Enhance Self-Evaluation

Primalogik’s features support comprehensive self-evaluation. First, Primalogik offers a customizable self-evaluation as a component of its intuitive performance review software. Second, Primalogik’s software solution can help employees and managers track and achieve performance goals on a daily basis. Managers and employees can also refer to goal progress when writing their evaluations.

Further, you can use Primalogik’s analytical tools to calibrate the results of your self-assessments. By doing so, you can assess whether certain demographics tend to rate themselves more favourably than others. For instance, women can be more prone to underrate their abilities than men. By comparing their self-assessment scores with goal-tracking data and managers’ evaluations, you can check the accuracy of results.

To enhance self-evaluations, encourage each employee to keep a self-performance log throughout the year. In this log, they can reflect on accomplishments, challenges, failures, developmental milestones, and lessons learned. Then, they can easily draw from it to write a thoughtful self-assessment. By sharing self-performance review examples along with performance goals examples, you’ll prepare employees to write an accurate and articulate review.

Effective self-evaluation fosters a culture of continuous improvement. Take initiative to improve your performance reviews using Primalogik’s tools. Sign up for a demo to get started!

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