You don’t have to go farther than your own personal experience to know that annual reviews completely fail to motivate, inform, or protect people. If you’re own experience is not enough try comparing notes with peers, reading JoelOnSoftware, and PeopleWare by DeMarco.
If you’ve got a great performance from an individual, a review is likely to hamper it. If you’ve got a great team then individual reviews are likely to sabotage it. Really. This is 100% true and there’s plenty of research to back it up.
Managers – if you are relying on performance reviews to create great employees and teams then you’re feedback is way way way (way) too late. If you are relying on inventive pay to build your feedback is not only too slow but likely to cause more problems then you imagine. Most of these systems only show employees that they are not valuable and build up your (the manager’s) ego. If that’s not intuitive to you then you need to educate yourself. Read and learn. It’s not too late!
Here’s an NPR article supporting the evidence: Annual Job Review Is ‘Total Baloney,’ Expert Says. Employee performance reviews should be eliminated, according to Samuel Culbert: “First, they’re dishonest and fraudulent. And second, they’re just plain bad management.” The UCLA business professor has written a new book expanding on that view.