I remember writing my first self-assessment. I was so young and I was asked to focus on my strengths, weaknesses, opportunities for improvement, and gaps in my performance.

I basically wrote an essay about why I am awesome.

That’s life. We never see our gaps. Most of us have the worst judgment. And look at you. Your dating life sucks. You don’t save enough for retirement. You drive a crappy car. You need to exercise but you don’t. The shirt you’re wearing? Doesn’t really match your pants.

Most of us can’t make a good, strategic decision if our lives depended on it. This is why I hate the idea that — in the mist of a great recession where none of our jobs are safe — it’s okay to ask us to assess our knowledge, skills, and abilities as part of the performance management process.

We can’t. And this isn’t a Jungian therapy session. It’s not safe.

And not to harp on you, but if you had an innate ability to assess anything in life, you would cancel your profile on eHarmony and invest that money in a make-over.

I think Human Resources professionals ought to think twice before encouraging our managers to use software toolkits to track and document employee self-assessments. The data we collect during the process isn’t reliable; it’s not a valid way to measure performance; and the assessment itself doesn’t factor into the rating of an employee or the awarding of a merit increase.

It’s a waste of time.

But it is nice to pretend that we employ introspective, mature adults. I love the idea that my employees can see deep within themselves and discover truths about their performance through the annual review process. And I really wish I could go back and rewrite my very first self-assessment. I would tell my boss, “I suck. I’m destined for a career that rags on Human Resources. Fire me now.”

Hindsight. 20/20.

Previous post:

Next post: