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How to write a self-appraisal

Last updated on: March 06, 2014 22:20 IST

How to write a self-appraisal

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Pramod Kumar Srivastava

The Appraisal Season is on. Here's how to best approach it...

Management consultant Pramod Kumar Srivastava will offer insights on how you can get the best ratings, a promotion and a pay hike after your job appraisal.

What is a self-appraisal form?

The self-appraisal form is the first document in your annual appraisal process. The Human Resources department or your manager will send you this form.

What is contained in the self-appraisal form?

The self-appraisal form usually asks: What your activities were in the year gone by? How you performed? Your career development needs? A few questions about your integrity, team work and innovation etc, and finally your overall average rating score.

Purpose of self-appraisal:

  • This form summarises your job performance of the last one year. Where you did well, where you lagged and where you went beyond the call of duty.
  • How do you perceive yourself in the job? What is your aspiration for the next level? What do you require from the organisation to achieve more and add more value?
  • It is a self-directed approach for your career development process.

Please note that this document will be used in the subsequent appraisal processes: Appraisal by your manager; one-on-one appraisal meeting with your manager and final ratings. So you need to be serious about this step.

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How to write a self-appraisal

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Planning

  • A self-appraisal form is like creating a balance- sheet of your annual hard work.
  • Writing a good self-appraisal form is an art.
  • You need to dig out details about all the work you did, all the appreciation mails you got and all the positive responses you got from various quarters about your work.

    You need to see your key result areas (KRAs in technical terms) which were set at the starting of the year. Review your last year's self-appraisal form.

  • Detach yourself, and be critical of your work and accomplishment. This will give you clarity about your current job situation, what challenges you are facing and what needs to be done to improve your efficiency and effectiveness at work.
  • Please note that most of the organisations follow the bell curve for final rating normalisation, meaning that your performance will be evaluated on a relative score.

    So your self-appraisal form should show you in a better light compared to your other team members.

  • You need to keep an eye on the values of the organisation and business goals; accordingly mould your appraisal form to suit them. It will be good for you.
  • Read the instructions for filling the self-appraisal form carefully.

The finest self-appraisal form should be written in such a balanced way that it clearly shows that you have performed well in your current role and you are fit to shoulder higher roles and responsibilities in the future.

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How to write a self-appraisal

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Writing self-appraisal:

Dos:

  • Be enthusiastic and confident about writing your self-appraisal form. It is the time to showcase your hard work of one year.

    Your enthusiasm and confidence will reflect in your self-appraisal form.

  • Map all your achievements to your existing KRAs. It clearly proves that you met the set expectations of your job profile or exceeded the expectations.
  • Showcase your achievements. This is the time to bring out your best and get recognition. You need to project your potential too.
  • Give specific examples of your achievements. Achievements should be measurable and evidence based.

    Instead of writing, I did coding for a module. Write, I wrote x Kilo Lines of Code, with only n numbers of errors, that too within scheduled time.

  • Write about new initiatives you took, innovation you were involved in, process improvement activities you undertook and about mentoring and training of junior employees etc, and how it impacted the overall business in terms of money, efficiency and effectiveness.
  • Emphasise on the work, which you perceive is of importance to the career of your immediate manager and other senior managers.

    It is but natural that bosses would love to see their dream come true through your efforts, and in return you will be rewarded.

  • Wherever possible, praise your managers, colleagues and organisation in a subtle way for helping you to achieve your targets. It sends positive signals to the management in your favour.
  • Discuss the various challenges you faced and how did you overcome those. It shows your fighting spirit and will to win.
  • Do check the tone and tenor of your overall form. It should give a positive impression. It is very subtle, but can change the course of discussion.
  • Use 'I' while writing your accomplishments. It is you who have achieved, and it is your appraisal.
  • Be concise in your description. Do not prepare a 20-page appraisal form.
  • Do spell check and grammar checks. Silly mistakes will divert the management's attention from your real achievements.

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Don'ts:

  • Do not expect your manager to remember all what you have done. It is your career and you have to take responsibility to put all the achievements on the table.
  • Do not criticise anybody, say your boss, colleague or organisation etc, for any failures. It will definitely go against you. he management will become defensive and you will be punished.
  • Do not bring the topic of money into your appraisal form. Money will be discussed during your appraisal meeting. If you are able to prove your better ratings, money will follow naturally.
  • Never send incomplete form. It simply puts you in dark light. The management will create a negative impression about your loyalty to the organisation, which will go against you.
  • Do not write anything for which you cannot produce any proper evidence.
  • Do not boast too much about your accomplishments.
  • When you are engaged in a lot of activities over a period of one year, a few tasks may not go as per your expectation for various reasons. Accept this fact, but do not let you down too much. See your overall performance in a holistic way.
  • Do not give yourself the rating score, which you cannot defend. During discussions, it will be proved that you have poor judgemental capacity.
  • Do not write contradictory statements or give contradictory ratings. It shows poorly on your judgemental capacity and shows that you were not serious about the process.
  • Do not share your inputs of self-appraisal form with your colleagues. You will save yourself from unnecessary and avoidable workplace politics and gossip.
  • Never disparage the appraisal process. It shows poorly on your professional attitude.
  • Even if you have made up your mind to leave the organisation for any reason, whatsoever, put your best foot forward and try your best to get better rating in the process.

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Review:

  • Preferably create a draft copy of your self-appraisal form and write it. Once you are done with writing your first draft, just sleep over it. Again review it and improve.
  • Review it from the angle of your manager and organisation. Imagine what results it will bring out from their viewpoint.
  • Once you are fully satisfied with the content, tone and tenor of the form and most importantly the possible positive outcome of the form, only then send it.
  • Do not delay in sending your completed self-appraisal form.
  • Keep a copy of your final form with all the related evidence handy. You will need to produce these documents at the time of your one-on-one discussion with your manager.

Summary

Self-appraisal is a continuous process. A smart employee makes a daily log of her/his achievements and writes her/his mental self-appraisal every evening.

If you follow this process, your next appraisal season will be a cool journey towards a sure-shot victory.


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