How to Use Employee Self-​Review to Boost Engagement

BY Kathy Crosett
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Today’s team members, especially those in younger generations, are seeking a healthy balance between their professional and personal lives. That attitude can result in less engagement at work. You can employ a number of tactics to address low engagement, but employee self-​review is one option that deserves more attention.

How Employee Self-​Review Can Boost Engagement

The latest Gallup data reveals that only 32% of employees are engaged at work. In addition, about 17% of employees are actively disengaged. With the news of layoffs increasing every day, employees may feel less inclined to commit to their work. 

What does this mean for the success of the initiatives you’re trying to launch this year? They could be in trouble unless your managers actively try to turn around the situation, especially since managerial action, or inaction, is often the culprit in these situations.

Industry analysts such as Abe Turner point to various methods of improving engagement, ranging from consistent communication to avoiding micromanagement. If those tools aren’t having an impact at your company, consider turning to employee self-review.

How to Set Up a Self-​Review System

Old-​school performance evaluations were one-​way communication tools. Managers watched employees during the year, tracking their output and attitude. Once a year, they sat with employees, told them what they thought and asked them to sign the form, signaling agreement.

Today’s employees will not be fans of that kind of a feedback loop. They want manager feedback on a regular basis. Beyond that, they hope to have input in setting the goals they plan to achieve.

The old annual performance evaluation system may have worked well in the industrial era when factory workers produced a predictable number of widgets. In a thinking economy, employees may move from one project to another. They may spend several weeks on one team and then shift to another.

This work pattern offers employees variety, but it can also induce stress. To improve engagement, managers should outline the broad department or company goals and then ask each employee to set measurable goals and objectives. The goals could be project-​specific and last for a few weeks. For larger projects, the goals could take a year or more to reach. These steps lay the groundwork for employee self-evaluation.

Effective Goal Setting and Employee Self-Review

Each employee enters the workplace with a unique set of motivations and behavioral tendencies. For managers to effectively communicate with team members, they should understand each person’s unique qualities. While one team member may be driven by the need to be creative at work, another will want to have authority or control over what they are doing. Managers can gain insight into their team members by reviewing the results of their psychometric assessments. Using that knowledge, you can help your employees identify goals that tap into their motivations.

At this point, your employees will have two reasons to increase engagement. They are actively involved in designing their work process. And their goals will align with their motivations.

Regular Communication

Instead of waiting until the end of a project or specific time period to review how team members are feeling, managers should check in regularly during one-​on-​one meetings. Asking thoughtful questions about the progress an employee is making toward a key goal can grow into a broader conversation. The best managers will help to ease any roadblocks the employee is encountering. This may require a conversation with the head of another department. Or the roadblock may be as simple as the employee needing clarification about the project.

To maximize employee engagement, managers should ask employees to come to one-​on-​one meetings prepared to discuss their progress. Team members should present their employee self-​review. In the process of giving themselves a score, they are accepting accountability for their performance. And as they continue to work on projects, with the goals they set in mind, their engagement will increase.

Evolving Goals

No business operates in a vacuum. As economic conditions change, business objectives must change. As Sabrin Chowdhury and Elizabeth Hoe report, “Goals should never be seen as stagnant, but dynamic and evolving.” Whether an employee or a company leader identifies a significant change in the operating environment, managers should put together a plan to ensure organizational success. Work with your team members to revise goals and the details of employee self-​review and watch employee engagement increase.

Photo on Pexels by Michael Burrows.