8 Tips To Master A Self-Evaluation Performance Review (+21 Examples)

Leverage self-assessments to track performance, evaluate strengths and weaknesses, and plan for future growth.

By Tegan Samija  •   October 12, 2023  •   12 min read

Across fields, research shows that people become high performers by identifying specific areas where they need to improve and then practicing those skills with ongoing feedback. Regular performance reviews are a great opportunity for employees to receive this feedback, and including a self-evaluation component makes it a two-way conversation.

According to Heidi Hauver, self-discovery is essential for becoming your best self at work. 

“I’m a big believer that self-awareness is a superpower. I think you need to really appreciate that each of us are on our own journey and to set your own path, not compare yourself to others while you’re on your unique path.”

— Heidi Hauver, Vice President of People Experience at ShinyDocs, on episode 95 of the Supermanagers podcast.

Self-evaluations are more than self-appraisal. They are an important way to cultivate self-awareness and help employees forge their own unique career paths. However, finding ways to honestly assess oneself can be a challenge. Get started with these step-by-step instructions and a range of examples for self-evaluation performance reviews.

What is a self-evaluation performance review?

A self-evaluation performance review gives employees the chance to assess their contributions to the company, the areas in which they’re performing effectively, and how they can improve their work. Self-evaluation performance reviews are an effective accompaniment to traditional performance reviews, in which a manager provides one-on-one feedback to employees. 

Spending just 20 minutes or less on self-reflection helps employees identify areas for improvement, celebrate their successes, and align performance with their manager’s expectations. Self-evaluation performance reviews should be completed at least once per year, although experts recommend conducting them more frequently, such as at the end of big projects or milestones. You can use Fellow to streamline the self-evaluation process by having all your notes, action items, feedback, and goals in one place.

Give and get feedback as work happens

A healthy and strong culture starts with feedback. Fellow enables your team to share real-time feedback on meetings, projects, and performance.

Benefits of self-evaluation performance reviews

1For employees

Self-evaluation performance reviews are a key tool for leveling up at work and getting the support you need from your team. They’re essential for finding your zone of genius because you can identify what work excites you most and helps you achieve a flow state. Conducting a thoughtful self-assessment shows your manager you’re dedicated to self-improvement and sets you on the path for future promotions and recognition. Building the habit of regular self-reflection will help you achieve your professional goals and increase your happiness at work.

2For managers

Self-evaluation performance reviews help managers increase employee engagement, drive performance, and improve team alignment. While it’s essential to provide feedback to your employees yourself, encouraging employees to reflect on their own strengths and weaknesses is a key practice for effective leaders. Regular self-assessments will help cultivate a culture of empowerment and initiative while establishing a strong employee feedback loop.

How to write a self-evaluation performance review

1Review your goals

First, review the goals you’re currently working to accomplish. Think about whether you’re still satisfied with these goals, evaluate your progress so far, and make sure you have a clear plan to achieve them. Write down any new goals, making sure they’re clear, attainable, and meaningful. Setting SMART goals will help you get clear on what resources you need to be successful and ensure your objectives are realistic. You can use Fellow’s Objectives tool to track your goals and review them individually and with your manager. With the tool, it’s easy to include a time period for your goals, break each goal down into manageable steps, and track your progress along the way.

SMART goal setting

2Track your achievements

Next, write down what you’ve accomplished since your last self-assessment. Reflect on the goals you’ve achieved, what challenges you’ve overcome, and any praise you’ve recently received from customers or colleagues. Make sure to write down the date of each accomplishment, as well as a few notes explaining the context. Be specific about your results and include facts and figures where possible to illustrate your successes. It’s important to keep track of your professional accomplishments on an ongoing basis—using a tool like Fellow’s Streams will help you record your achievements so you can refer back to them later on.

3Look at your manager’s feedback

Receiving feedback can daunting, but it’s one of the best tools for personal growth. For the positive feedback you receive, make sure to embrace it instead of downplaying your wins. For constructive feedback, think about how you can turn it into action and create a plan for improvement. Don’t be afraid to ask for clarification or additional feedback so you can align your behavior at work with your manager’s expectations. With Fellow, you can easily receive feedback with suggestions and templates for effective conversations between you and your manager. You can also keep a log of all previous feedback and refer back to it during your reviews to show how far you’ve come.

4Remain professional

When it comes to a self-evaluation performance review, acting professionally means taking your review seriously and investing enough time and energy to complete it thoughtfully. Every performance review is an opportunity to grow, and the self-evaluation component is key for being proactive about your own professional development.

Dominique Jones, the chief people officer at BusPatrol, says:

“Ongoing performance management helps ensure employees and managers discuss learning and development, build relationships, and improve engagement. Combined with annual performance reviews, ongoing performance management helps gather key HR metrics, giving clear insight into employee performance as well as informing decisions about compensation, promotions, and learning and development plans.”

Self-evaluation performance reviews are just as important as any other project you work on, and you’ll get the most value from the activity if you spend time reflecting intentionally. Make sure to use an effective template for your review and leverage a tool like Fellow to help you create a self-evaluation you’re proud of.

5Be honest

Stay honest in your self-evaluation and write it as if your manager wasn’t going to read it (while still staying professional). Being able to accurately assess your skills and performance is key to practicing self-leadership and reaching your potential at work. It’s also what allows your manager to understand your unique experience and support your growth. For example, if you’ve been struggling with time management, you can book a meeting with your manager to discuss strategies for using your time effectively and how they can help you stay on track. You’ll find lots more self-evaluation performance review examples below to inspire you to honestly reflect. Sharing your struggles, mistakes, and areas of improvement shows a high level of self-awareness and, when combined with a plan for improvement, your commitment to bettering yourself.

6Create a list of your strengths and weaknesses

Next, reflect on what you’re good at and areas in which you think you could improve. While feedback from others is invaluable, being able to identify your own strengths and weaknesses is key to building self-awareness. While evaluating your strengths, think about what you’re good at, what others have complimented you on, and what type of work leaves you feeling energized. To identify your weaknesses, consider areas where you’ve needed extra support, things you put off doing or that take you a long time to do, and work that leaves you feeling drained. Comparing your own analysis to your manager’s will help you build an accurate picture of where you are currently in your professional journey and where you want to go next.

7Be proud of yourself

Our brains are hardwired to focus more on the negative than the positive, and it’s easy to focus on all the things you want to improve about your work. However, it’s important to reflect on your accomplishments and celebrate your wins, big and small. Embrace the positive feedback you receive from your team and acknowledge the hard work that went into getting to where you are today. You can reflect on what has gone well recently, lessons you’ve learned, obstacles you’ve overcome, and things for which you’re grateful. Writing down your accomplishments as they occur throughout the year is a great way to keep a log of all your wins so you can review them whenever you need a reminder.

8Show your commitment to growth

Developing a growth mindset is essential for professional development and means you see setbacks as a springboard for improvement. If you’re not where you thought you would be by now, be patient and stay committed to developing your knowledge and skills over time. Share the goals you’re working on next and specific areas in which you want to improve, such as your communication skills. A great way to show your dedication to growth is to regularly ask your manager for feedback—and not just during scheduled performance reviews. Make sure to show you’re taking action on that feedback and improving your performance one step at a time.

21 Examples of self-evaluation performance reviews

Now that you know the steps for writing your review, here are a range of examples for self-evaluation performance reviews to help you get started. We’ve included five self-evaluation categories you should be thinking about for a comprehensive review.

Set goals for improvement based on past situations

  • I find it hard to detach myself from a task on my list and allow another team member to complete it. I intend to shift focus to prioritizing my tasks when I first receive assignments so I can immediately identify any items that I can delegate to other team members.
  • While I am thorough in listing and prioritizing my tasks, I often struggle to complete them in a timely manner, which leaves me with extra tasks to complete for the next day. To improve my productivity, I am going to create a plan at the start of each day that specifies the amount of time I should allot for each task.
  • Giving and receiving regular constructive feedback will help me build confidence and learn from past mistakes. I would like to incorporate opportunities to give and receive feedback into my daily routine. I would also like to develop a yearly plan to improve myself based on the constructive feedback I receive.
  • I have been working late recently, and I would like to improve my work-life balance. My goal is to leave work each weekday by 5 p.m. and to avoid checking my email on weekends. I’m going to work on prioritizing my tasks effectively so I can focus on what’s most important during work hours.

Highlight accomplishments with specific examples and data

  • I have been successful at staying on top of the tasks and projects that require me to deliver work within a set timeframe. I keep an organized planner and to-do list and set calendar reminders to ensure I don’t overlook a due date.
  • I have succeeded in creating, launching, and running profitable social media campaigns. Over the past two months, my marketing approach has increased the company’s website traffic by 25 percent.
  • I’m intentional about maximizing my productivity at work. Over the past three months, I’ve been using the Getting Things Done method to help me organize, prioritize, and efficiently accomplish my tasks.
  • I find myself falling behind on assignments from time to time. To stay on track, I started calendar blocking in my planner and made a detailed plan of when I need to finish one task and start the next one.
  • I helped our team secure three new partnerships this quarter. These partnerships will help us hit our revenue goals while building our reputation in the industry. I supported these partnerships by focusing on relationship building and prioritizing our clients’ needs.

Provide detail on how personal strengths impact other team members or work

  • I am intentional about involving my team members in every part of collaborative projects and ensuring they all have opportunities to share their ideas and concerns. Before starting any team project, I gather every participant’s contact information and create a channel that allows us to communicate in a dedicated space.
  • I strive to keep open lines of communication between me and my colleagues and supervisors by using team communication tools. I’m also purposeful about providing my team members with regular updates about the status of my work on collaborative projects.
  • I am consistently bringing new ideas to my team. Every day, I make sure to have at least two ideas to share during our morning brainstorming meeting. This approach keeps me thinking of innovative, yet relevant, ways to advance this company.
  • While I enjoy taking responsibility for my own tasks, I understand that I sometimes need to ask for a colleague’s help. When I find that I have too much on my plate, I try to enlist another team member’s help so I can ensure I’m making time for my priorities.

Mention professional weaknesses and a plan to work on them

  • I can be shy, so it can be challenging for me to participate on the same level as my fellow team members. I am working on contributing more to these projects by getting to know my colleagues individually so I feel comfortable participating in collective projects.
  • I am aware that the social media campaign I launched most recently has not generated the desired increase in traffic. However, I’ll be conducting market research to determine how to better target my long-term strategies to potential customers.
  • Sometimes I can get wrapped up in my work and forget to update others on my progress. I’ve been working on being more mindful of sharing updates as I complete tasks so everyone is on the same page and not wondering about the status of my work.
  • I find that I come up with ideas I want to share, but sometimes I doubt myself and how those ideas compare to those of the more experienced members on my team. I’d like to work on being more confident in my ideas and the benefits they can bring to this organization.

Provide examples of feedback received and actions taken to address it

  • I tend to get overwhelmed when facing an issue or working under pressure. I spoke with my colleagues about their approaches to handling issues. This way, I have options for staying calm that I can use when necessary.
  • My manager mentioned that I’m skilled at creative problem solving. Because this is one of my strengths, I’d like to be more involved with solving problems for the business and further develop my skills in this area.
  • I asked my colleagues for feedback on my communication skills. They mentioned that at times when I’m stressed about a deadline, I don’t communicate as effectively. I can improve this by remembering to check in with my team at least once per day, even during tight deadlines.
  • My manager has recommended that I improve my time management skills so I’m not rushing to complete my tasks at the last minute. To work on this, I’m going to track my time for the next two weeks and see how I can manage my workload more effectively.

7 Performance review templates to try

Use these templates for a streamlined performance review that leaves you feeling positive about your progress at work. Each template is designed for a different stage of your review and will help guide the conversation with your manager for a stress-free experience.

1Simple Performance Review Meeting Template

2Quarterly Performance Review Agenda Template

3Performance Review Meeting Template

4Performance Improvement Plan (PIP) Meeting Template

5End of Year Performance Review Meeting Template

6Mid-Year Performance Review Meeting Template

7Performance Debrief Meeting Template

Collecting feedback, the key to professional growth

Taking the time to complete a thoughtful self-assessment demonstrates you’re motivated to succeed in your role and invested in your professional growth. Your self-review is also an important opportunity to share your perspective on your performance with your manager and make sure you’re on the same page. With these helpful tips and self-evaluation performance review examples, you’ll be well on your way to reaching your goals while fostering trust and transparency with your team. Don’t forget to use Fellow to track your career milestones, collect feedback, and make your growth mindset your superpower!

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