Skip to Content
View site list


Pre-Bid Projects

Pre-Bid Projects

Click here to see Canada’s most comprehensive listing of projects in conceptual and planning stages


Procurement Perspectives: Conducting a self-assessment of your organization

Stephen Bauld
Procurement Perspectives: Conducting a self-assessment of your organization

Virtually all organizations of any size incorporate some form of self-assessment into the assessment process, even if the intent in so doing is only to streamline the completion of the assessment form.

Under self-assessment, each member of the organization is asked to assess his or her own performance with respect to a list of stated criteria.

The fundamental assumption underlying self-review is that each worker is almost always the person who is most familiar with his or her own work and the conditions under which that work must be carried out.

For example, in procurement employees rate themselves on several criteria, usually with a formal survey form and suggest improvements.

Generally, each person will be asked to provide examples that illustrate or support the assessment that is being given. Since endless self-praise is of little value, some of the questions on the form will be designed in such a way that virtually require self-critique on the part of the individual concerned.

Questions of this type might include:

Identify two areas in which you are currently weak that could be improved through additional training.

Discuss skills that you would like to acquire and explain how they would relate to your job.

Discuss two instances over the past year that have not come out as well as you expected and explain how you would go about improving performance if the problems were to arise again.

However, care must be taken in asking such questions. Push the process too far and employee morale is likely to suffer.

Self-assessment has considerable value in that it creates the clear impression that the process is not limited simply to top-down criticism.

A properly structured questionnaire will allow each person who is being assessed the opportunity to tell their side of the story. It will help to clarify each worker’s own goals and understanding of the organization.

It has the favourable aspect of paying due regard to each worker’s dignity and self-respect, by involving them as equals in the review process. By doing so, it is argued, the assessment is more likely to increase commitment to organizational action plans and so lead to a more satisfying and productive result.

The assessment process is of value to the organization only insofar as it focuses on matters that are relevant to overall organizational performance.

The relationship between the leader carrying out the assessment and the subordinate being assessed is germane to this question only to the extent that it influences (i.e. has an impact on) the performance of the organization.

Unfortunately, since leadership is a human process, all too often the nature of the personal relationship between the leader and subordinate influences the outcome of assessment. A leader is more likely to rate a subordinate favourable if he or she gets along well with that subordinate than if they do not like each other.

In short, there is a dark side to the evaluation process.

It presents one of the most inviting environments for playing favourites, especially where the evaluation given is likely to lead to an increase in compensation or enhance the prospect of a promotion.

In many organizations, complaints about such favouritism and punishing perceived trouble-makers are rampant.

For instance, in many organizations, salary adjustments will be targeted at three broad classes of performer: the average, excellent and very poor employees.

With traditional reviews, employees are rated by a single person who may be biased or have an incomplete view of their work.

Organizations need to factor as much control and oversight into evaluation as they do in other areas of human resource management to ensure the decisions made reflect a balanced view.

Even where outright favouritism does not exist, the evaluation process can be corrupted by carelessness; the halo effect, in which a subordinate’s strengths in one area spread to other areas.

Stephen Bauld is a government procurement expert and can be reached at Some of his columns may contain excerpts from The Municipal Procurement Handbook published by Butterworths.

Recent Comments

comments for this post are closed

You might also like