@Cafe41 - I wanted to say that at the company where my husband works they usually have the employee perform a self assessment of their overall job performance and what areas the employee feels that he or she needs to develop.
The manager then takes this information and develops the performance appraisal according to how he views the employee’s performance. I think that when a company does this is makes the performance appraisal runs smoother because it forces the employee to take into account their strengths and areas of relative weaknesses.
If the communication is good between the manager and his staff the results of the self appraisal and the manager’s appraisal should not be too far off. I really like this performance appraisal method because if there is a big disconnect between how the employee views their job performance and what the manager thinks of the employee’s performance the manager will be made aware of this perception that the employee has and will be able to give quantitative feedback and make the case stronger in the performance appraisal so that the employee can see where they were deficient and not argue about it because the facts will be spelled out.