Feedback is an important key to learning. And, managers learn from employees who can be honest about the work environment.
One way to learn this valuable information is by simply asking the question.
Many organizations use employee self appraisals as a tool to gather feedback information for managers.
While a little scary to administer, this tool can reveal employee perceptions about the workplace, how it is managed and provide suggestions that could be used to improve the worker experience.
As managers, it is important to solicit this kind of feedback and be open to learn from what employees think and use it as a developmental opportunity for professional and organizational growth.
I am always amazed at how honest employees are if given the opportunity to share their perspective of the work environment and how often I misread employee responses and intentions.
This process can be intimidating to employees without proper preparation and honest discussions.
It is important to prepare employees for this exercise -particularly, new or young people in the work place who have never been asked to provide this kind of feedback.
Start by explaining why the feedback is important; what the organization hopes to learn; and how the information will be used to set organizational goals and improve the employee experience.
For instance, say something like this:
“Chris I am asking you to fill out this self appraisal form because I value your feedback. I realize that there may be things we can learn from you to help you with your job but ultimately to help us as an organization. We plan to review this feedback and set goals. An important goal of ours is to create a great work environment and you can help us do that by being honest on this form. Do you have any questions?”
Some organizations have the employees fill out their own performance appraisal using the same tool that the manager uses for their self appraisal. This helps the manager get an idea of how the employee would grade their performance.
But I’ve found that using a separate tool, that asks more questions that relate to how the employee is managed and their perceptions of their knowledge and skill-set, can reveal valuable information for the manager.
This is a sample of questions that can be asked on an employee self appraisal which will allow you to drill down into more personal employee perspectives.
13 Employee Self Appraisal Questions
- What do I consider the important abilities which my job requires?
- What are some aspects of my job responsibilities that I like the best? That I like the least?
- In what ways can my supervisor help me do my job better?
- In what aspects of my job do I feel I need more experience and training?
- What are my major contributions/accomplishments from the past year?
- What have I done for my personal and/or professional development?
- The following changes made in my job would improve my effectiveness.
- Are all of my capabilities being utilized in my present position? If not, how can they be better utilized?
- What are specific things I need to do in the next year for my own development?
- In what ways does my present position better prepare me for assuming more responsibility?
- What are my long range plans?
- What type of work do I see myself doing five years from now?
- How am I preparing myself for this work?
These questions can be formatted into a document that should include the employee’s name, department, date and signature that will become part of the employee file. You can access an editable copy of this tool here.
Incorporate this tool into the performance appraisal process and use what is learned to start a conversation, clarify misunderstandings and create goals to fix what may not be working.
For example, employees may reveal that their manager could make their job easier simply by clarifying job expectations on a more routine basis.
This kind of feedback opens the door for communication that might not have otherwise occurred.
Regardless of the tool used, it is important to set time aside each year to have a discussion about the employee’s performance and how they perceive their employee experience.
Use what is learned in that conversation to improve the employee work experience and create employee goals to help them in their professional development and growth.
I used to tell employees that “I can’t fix it if I don’t know its broke”. I said this because I truly wanted them to tell me what wasn’t working and what needed fixing. Often what needed to be fixed was simply the way the employee was managed, what jobs they were doing and identifying those hidden professional desires.
A self appraisal tool can help you flush out the answers to those difficult, yet important questions.
Do you ask your employees to do a self appraisal?