Samuel A. Culbert, professor at UCLA, has a great article up on Bloomberg Businessweek as part of a new book he's written. He's proposing that we dump the traditional performance review in favor of, wait for it, The Performance Review. The fact is that we most companies do performance reviews incorrectly and it is little more than an opportunity for companies to justify withholding salary increases based on perceived shortcomings, even if those shortcomings have already been addressed. Managers need to do proactive communication on an ongoing basis. Regularly scheduled meetings need to be scheduled and KEPT (no more pushing the meeting out week after week). Communication with your staff needs to be a priority. I know that the day-to-day stuff gets in the way, but managers need to set time aside to constantly improve their staff, which will improve performance. Too often goals are set in performance reviews and the only time they are discussed is during the review. Nothing else is said during the year about how well the person is doing towards that goal, what can be done to improve their performance towards said goal, etc. By having regularly scheduled meetings where goals, along with other items, is discussed, the employee knows they need to be showing constant progress in that area. The manager knows how the person is doing and can provide coaching if needed. If your company is still doing performance reviews the old way, give this article a read and maybe the book too. But then start to think about how to improve the performance review in your organization. It cannot happen overnight, so start now so that you can take advantage of improvements along the way.