Alternative annual review

It’s the time of year when civil servants are going through their annual reviews. I can’t say I’m missing it.

But it has got me thinking about how I assess my own performance now I’m solo, in a way that doesn’t involve being put in a box on a grid.

I have made 4 criteria to assess my performance against and measured my performance using a highly unscientific evidence base of what I think, and what people tell me they think. I plan to do this every year.

1. Do people hire me?

So far, 2 organisations have, and I’m working full time.

Verdict: Strong performance

2. Do I achieve what I want to in a project?

So far, a qualified yes. I often have unrealistic expectations of what I can achieve. At Public Health England we took longer to get started than I hoped, but we are cranking through our projects now and are meeting realistic, but stretching, expectations. It’s too early to say on my second project.

Verdict: Promising performance

3. Do the people who hire me like my work?

On the first project, yes they do. On the second project, they do so far, but it’s too early to tell properly. I hope they will!

Verdict: Promising to strong performance

 4. Do the people who work with me like my work?

Thinking about how I’d review myself has made me realize that the feedback of people who aren’t my bosses are very important to me. I get most personal satisfaction in work from a member of my team or colleague saying that they think I’m a good boss or that I’m doing a good job. This is happening more and more at PHE, which is making me very happy. I don’t have a 100% success rate here, though. But I must remember that part of my job is doing things that people won’t like.

Verdict: Improving performance


I conclude that I am doing a good job. I have two development points for the next year: being realistic about what I can achieve within any project and not being dispirited if not everyone likes what I do.

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