When performance evaluation time comes around, managers more often than not ask employees to write a self-evaluation critiquing how they think they are doing. However, according to a recent article in "The Australian Financial Review", written by Dick Grote, although this may seem like a good idea, it may not always be the case.

Theoretically, getting an employee to give a self-rating on their performance gives managers extra information to use in their evaluations and also gives employees a preview of what they should expect from their review. This method can actually "create a false impression of what performance appraisal is". A performance review can be defined as a meeting where a manager provides their opinion on the quality of an employee's work. This review meeting "is a discussion, not a negotiation" and this is where self-appraisals can encourage misunderstandings.

Dick's research for his book "How to be Good at performance Appraisals", proved that individuals are "notoriously inaccurate" when it comes to assessing their own performance and that "the poorer the performer, the higher (and more inaccurate) the self-appraisal".   Incompetent employees are blind when it comes to assessing the distinction between a good and a bad performance. During Dick's studies, a senior executive described to him his company's practice of using a forced-ranking system to identify the A, B and C performers. This executive said, "The A's are afraid they'll be considered B's, the B's are scared they'll be seen as C's, and all the C's are convinced that they're A players."

Managers are the most accurate assessors as they provide a generally unbiased evaluation of the job their employees are doing, the positives and the negatives, which can be something the employees don't do themselves.

If it is company policy to conduct self-appraisals, there is a better way to go about it. First of all, the manager can explain the main purpose of these self-evaluations is a way to gauge how the employee is performing from their own point of view and that it will be only one of the data sources used to prepare their actual performance evaluation. Secondly, you should ask employees to fill these appraisals out well in advance of the actual review meeting, so it can be used by the manager to prepare for it.