What is an employee goal or objective?
Employee goals are simply statements of what the employee is to achieve in his or her job. They serve as the targets for performance, and are also useful, and sometimes essential when it comes time to determine if the employee has done his or her job well.
There are no universally accepted uses of the terms employee goals, and employee objectives, so you'll find somewhat different definitions in different companies. However, if we needed to make a distinction between the two (and we usually don't out in the real world), an employee objective is usually more specific and precise than a goal.
In terms of making performance management work, it's worth spending more time setting clear goals and objectives with employees as opposed to spending more time in performance appraisal.
Unfortunately, in practice, many companies that use rating scales don't even set clear goals with employees, and because of that they run into problems and disagreements during performance reviews.