Guide on Writing Employee Accomplishments
(Progress Review/Annual Appraisal Input)
This is an opportunity for you to emphasize those things you accomplished during this performance year that you believe are the most indicative of your contributions to the Agency's Vision, Mission, and goals. This input is voluntary*. Your input does not relieve your Rating Official of his/her responsibility to assess your contributions.
* Prior to the progress review meeting with his or her rating official, the employee is strongly encouraged to submit a written self assessment documenting his or her accomplishments since the last formal performance meeting with his or her rating official.
First, get your performance plan for this year out. Second, gather any other reference documentation, such as notebooks, planners, etc., that you have used during this performance year. These documents will help jog your memory on what you have done over the last year. Most importantly, think about your accomplishments that have contributed to the Agency's Mission. Everyone contributes to the Mission, either directly or indirectly.
What are Accomplishments?
Accomplishments are the products or services (the RESULTS) of doing your job (not tasks or activities). Accomplishments are generally described using nouns and are those "things" (products or services) that have resulted from your individual work activities and efforts. If you carry out the duties and responsibilities that have been assigned to you, your accomplishments are your contribution to the achievement of the Agency's Vision, Mission, and goals. Even if you are not directly involved with a specific Agency or organization's project, program, or goal, your Rating Official should have explained your organization's goals and objectives and how your work is aligned with/contributes to those goals and objectives.
- While writing an effective self assessment takes some effort, it does not have to be lengthy; however, your self assessment should provide your supervisor with a clear picture of your performance and contributions.
- The self assessment is not an exercise in good writing. Rather it is an opportunity for you to describe your major contributions and how your work meets or exceeds the performance expectations.
- Documenting everything you accomplish during the appraisal period is not expected. You are encouraged to keep a journal/notes/file throughout the appraisal period to record significant activities as they occur. This makes the self assessment activity easier to complete and keeps the self assessment specific and relevant to the elements and standards in the performance plan.
To write specific examples of your accomplishments, think in terms of cause and effect –
"Drafted A that resulted in B which contributed to C." Do not leave it to your Rating Official or others to presume contribution.
For example, stating, Published three technical journal articles during the performance year" implies contribution but does not directly state one. A more specific example might be, "Published three technical journal articles on <technical subject> which resulted in <some desired advancement in the technology> in direct support of our <specify goal.>
Tips on How to Write Effective Accomplishment Statements:
- Modify your thinking from the activity (generally described using verbs) which is the action taken to produce the result, to the accomplishment (generally described using nouns) which is the product or service (the result) of your activity.
- Limit to 2 pages, if possible (first inclination is to overwrite it – the more is better philosophy). Instead, (1) be concise, (2) Use Plain English, and (3) Use bullets, not lengthy paragraphs.
- Arrange by performance element. It is easier for the supervisor to link the accomplishments to each individual element.
- Describe the accomplishment. Be specific about what you did. Don’t be vague or use general terminology.
- Describe the impact, result or outcome of accomplishment. Did it enhance a work process? Did it have an impact on a customer? Did it help the organization achieve its goals?
- Use your performance plan as a guide – address the standards. It is sometimes helpful to report your accomplishments in terms of standards: (1) Quality - how well was the work done; (2) Quantity - how many were produced; (3) Timeliness - did you meet the deadline(s); and (4) Cost effectiveness - did you work within the cost budget?
- Do not use “I” statements. Instead, use action verbs that describe the specific role in accomplishment such as “Managed”, “Reviewed”, “Launched”, “Conducted”, “Revised”, “Issued”, or “Drafted.”
- Refer to journals, weekly, activity/status reports, calendars, previous accomplishment reports, etc. TIP – Create a MS Word file or folder to record your accomplishments throughout the year.
- Avoid laundry lists. Too much information gives the impression you didn’t do anything specific.
- Proof read your report. Use Spell Check and Grammar Check.
- Do not hide your light under a rock. Your supervisor is not going to remember all the details of what you did during the year. Do not underestimate the importance of what you accomplished during the year. If you don’t report it no one else will.
- If you are part of a project or team: (1) report your specific contribution (i.e., memos, research, etc.) that was part of the overall team effort, and (2) if the project was not completed, report on the milestones you completed as part of the project.
- Include any kudos/thank yous from your customers. Those customers can be either internal (fellow staff members) or external (employee/managers in other bureaus).
- You can list that you chaired a meeting or project team that yielded specific results, but do not report that you attended a meeting or conference. Attendance is not a result.
- During the course of the year, we all get assignments, projects, etc. that are not in the performance plan. Be sure to capture those in your accomplishments.
As a "partner" in the performance management process, you have a responsibility and an obligation to yourself to "Toot Your Own Horn!"