Gathering performance information from a variety of sources increases objectivity and ensures all factors impacting performance are considered. This information should include objective data like sales reports, call records or deadline reports. Other valuable information includes: feedback from others, results of personal observation, documentation of ongoing dialogue, records of any external or environmental factors impacting performance. Many reviews also include an employee self-evaluation. Other documents that help define performance objectives include: past performance appraisals, current departmental and organizational objectives and documented standards related to career goals.
In order to gather feedback from other employees, organizations will often use a 360° feedback process. Along with the completion of a self-assessment, selected peers, subordinates, and manager(s) are asked to contribute feedback around pre-identified areas. The feedback is based upon specifically identified skills or competencies and the final results are compared against the employee's self-assessment. This type of feedback increases self-awareness and in some cases is used to support the performance evaluation process.
Objectivity is essential when evaluating performance and it begins with clarity about job expectations and evaluation methods. Certain checks and balances can be built in to ensure objectivity. Managers commonly make mistakes when they conduct evaluations and the first step to minimizing those errors is to acknowledge they exist. Consistent processes organization-wide contribute to fairness and objectivity. Access to information allows others to check the validity of the process. Obviously, not all employees need access to other employees' performance appraisal results, but processes like calibration meetings will help ensure consistency. In the calibration process, managers with employees in similar positions meet and discuss the appraisals before they are finalized and shared with the employees. A calibration meeting helps establish the reasons individuals are awarded various performance rankings, educates managers about the process across the organization and promotes consistency. It also provides validation for manager's decisions, if appropriate.