In order to encourage employees' improvement, it is important to evaluate their performance. There are two distinct methods for evaluating staff: Objective evaluations and subjective evaluations. Both evaluation types offer distinct advantages and disadvantages. Managers should understand each before they decide which to use in their own staff evaluations.
In an objective evaluation, the evaluator does not make any judgments about the performance of the person being evaluated. An example of an objective evaluation is a multiple-choice test of the employee's work-related knowledge. This is a completely objective evaluation method, because the evaluator does not make a judgment call about whether the answer is right or wrong; there is an objective, correct answer that the employee is evaluated against.
A subjective evaluation requires the evaluator to make judgment calls about the performance of the person being evaluated. For instance, rather than looking at whether or not an employee attained an objective goal, the evaluator might look at how well the employee performed her duties. Although subjective evaluations may be influenced by objective facts, in the end, the evaluator must evaluate the employee's performance according to her personal perspective.
Benefit of Objective Evaluations
The key benefit of an objective evaluation is that the evaluator's views and biases do not affect the evaluation. It is even possible, often, to have the evaluation performed by a computer, which is completely objective in its interpretation of data.
Benefit of Subjective Evaluations
The benefit of subjective evaluations is that it allows managers to place emphasis on what they think is most important, thereby shaping the evaluation to fit the needs of the department or company.
Limitations of Objective Evaluations
While objective evaluations may be fair and free of biases, they can be overly simple, and do not provide managers with an opportunity to have their own input on the employee's performance. They may, therefore, provide limited value for managers.
Limitations of Subjective Evaluations
Subjective evaluations are open to interpretation, so one evaluator may be very different from another. This can be unfair to employees, who may be evaluated more harshly based on an individual's personal perspective.