It's that time of year when performance review deadlines are looming over many of us while we are trying to wrap up annual projects and prepare for the holidays. And while you frantically try to find the time to complete 360 reviews for colleagues, you also are searching for the time to prepare your own self-evaluation.
Many colleagues and friends have asked for advice on preparing a self-evaluation that stands out. Here are five tips to support your self-appraisal, demonstrating the unique value that you contributed and your forward-thinking development approach.
1) Include specific, quantifiable results with supporting qualitative information.
For example, you increased sales by 25 percent using fresh, new digital marketing strategies and received a vendor recognition award from one of your top clients. Or you retained 90 percent of the students in your after-school program by increasing communications with parents/guardians and launching a student attendance incentive program.
By spotlighting both key quantifiable data and supporting qualitative information, you are demonstrating your ability to connect your results with prioritized and tangible strategies that you deployed to meet or exceed your targets.
2) Avoid the laundry list of bulleted out accomplishments.
Prioritize your results in alignment with annual goals and organizational imperatives. Be sure to include those unexpected projects that surfaced throughout the year there were not on anyone's radar this time last year to show your ability to adapt accordingly.
If you have a large volume of accomplishments, focus on categorizing them into 2-4 buckets so it easy for your manager and HR to digest. It should be clear how your categories align with department and organizational priorities to illustrate how you understand and are contributing to the bigger picture. Otherwise you risk appearing as though you are off on your own island.
3) Incorporate feedback that you have received and archived throughout the year.
Insert quotes and testimonials from your manager, colleagues, partners and customers that align with your goals and results. Including the feedback that you have received showcases your focus on completing tasks, managing relationships and meeting or exceeding expectations.
4) Showcase what makes you unique, how you differentiate yourself from others.
Connect your strengths and unique skills to your results showing how you uniquely approach projects and relationships. For example, I leveraged my advanced research skills to identify and incorporate design thinking in our work with customers to advance product and service enhancements that resulted in a 20 percent increase in sales and a 95 percent customer retention score. Or I facilitated a series of team building activities with my team, which they identified as pivotal in developing stronger communications, decreasing conflict and advancing system improvements that resulted in a $10,000 savings for the organization.
It is important to document how you differentiate yourself in your performance by not only what you do but how you do it.
5) Prioritize 2-3 areas for continual learning, skill development and/or behavioral changes, emphasizing what the result will be if you prioritize these professional development goals.
For example, prioritizing training my team members on critical operational tasks will increase their confidence and ability to complete assignments with minimal oversight while providing me with more opportunities to focus on research and development in support of our program strategy. Or by understanding a more advanced use of Facebook ads, I can generate more sales leads by broadening our network of potential customers and increasing brand recognition.
Development opportunities should clearly articulate how you could add additional value to the organization while advancing your skills and experiences and fueling your motivation to perform at your full potential.