What is a self-appraisal?

A self-appraisal is both a process and a document. It is a process of reflecting back on the job over the past year. It’s a time to compare what really happened to what the ROJD and last year’s work plan say was expected to happen, to evaluate what worked well, what didn’t work well, and what was learned. It’s also a time to assess performance against the performance appraisal standards. It is a time to look forward and propose a work plan for the coming year. The self-appraisal is also a written document that describes the result of the reflection process. It makes up one piece of the performance appraisal.

Why is the self-appraisal important?

The appraisal process at the library is a collaborative process between the employee and supervisor. Because the employee best understands what challenges were encountered and what was learned, her/his perspective is essential for a complete appraisal. Supervisors can observe and comment on the results of employee actions, but cannot tell what was learned. Supervisors can provide direction and coaching, but each employee has the ultimate responsibility for doing the job, making improvements, and accomplishing results.

Who reads the self-appraisal and why?

The self-appraisal is written for the employee and her/his supervisor. It will be an important starting point for the appraisal discussion. A director’s self-appraisal will be read by members of the library board. It is included with the performance appraisal documents filed in the confidential human resource files.

When do I prepare a self-appraisal?

A self-appraisal is prepared as part of the annual performance appraisal. Employees should reflect throughout the year on what is happening with their job, what they’re learning and what areas in which they need training and development.

What is the link between the self-appraisal and:

  • The ROJD and work plan?

The ROJD should include a job purpose statement, 2 to 3 results to be achieved, and both ongoing activities and activities specific to the year that contribute to each result. The ROJD puts the annual work plan in context, telling why it is relevant and important for the position. At least once a year, during the performance appraisal, the ROJD is reviewed by employee and supervisor and, if necessary, updated to more accurately describe the position.

Determining the work plan for the coming year is another important part of the annual performance appraisal. Reflecting on what happened the past year is used as a basis for deciding what needs to be learned, improved upon, or undertaken in the coming year.

  • The library’s mission and goals?

Employees should use these when setting and evaluating their work plan and to identify their role in achieving the team’s results.

  • The supervisor’s appraisal?

As mentioned above, the employee and supervisor collaborate in doing the performance appraisal. The supervisor will use the employee’s self-appraisal in preparing for the appraisal discussion and in writing any additional appraisal comments.

What information should the self-appraisal contain? What should it look like?

The self-appraisal should focus on the accomplishments of the work plan that was set for the year and on the employee’s performance. Briefly describe what happened; what worked; what didn’t work; what was accomplished; how those accomplishments contributed to the results of the position; how the job changed; and, most importantly, what was learned from the experience.

Avoid describing the job and listing activities – that is the purpose of the ROJD. Try to avoid writing a very long, or very short, self-appraisal. For many people, focusing on three or four significant events, accomplishments, or experiences is more effective than going into great detail. Or comment briefly on some expectations and go into more detail on a few. The employee and supervisor can determine how much detail is appropriate.

Note how the work of the position changed during the year as circumstances changed; for example, if new computer software was installed or new co-workers were hired. It is okay for the employee and supervisor to change or add to the work plan during the year to reflect changes in the job. The self-appraisal may also include a section of “unexpected” or “additional activities or accomplishments.”

The format should be clear and easy for all appraisal reviewers to understand and to link self-appraisal comments with the employee’s work plan and ROJD results. The work plan and self-appraisal elements can be inserted into the ROJD document, under the appropriate result.