Performance Reviews for the most part are at best neutral, but at many companies tend to be a hindrance on performance. Usually they’re really just about annoyingly filling out a form every period to document what you’ve done.

Wharton suggests a new solution. The true goal of performance reviews is to open up communication.

Culbert suggests a form of performance “preview” which he defines as discussions that take place when there is still time to get good results. I’d say frequent discussions while doing the work that involve boss and subordinate in continuing feedback and adjustment to circumstances as it relates to the overall mission or missions. In that way, there’s no formal meeting and feedback is continuing.

360-degree feedback works well at those companies that are dedicated to its use at every management level. It involves individuals being reviewed not just by their bosses, but by their subordinates, peers and, if appropriate, their customers and suppliers. GEICO (now a successful Warren Buffet company) uses 360 at every level. The feedback is intended to be anonymous and the idea is to have more than one evaluator.

We’d talk about “forced rankings” here but there’s no point. They are not a realistic alternative in spite of the fact that GE and Jack Welch brag about them. They foster competition instead of cooperation and are useless in the average company.

Oh yeah, and forced rankings into 25/50/25 buckets or something like that are useless. Don’t do it.