Open up any traditional management book and chances are you’ll find a chapter dedicated to annual performance reviews and their merits for both the professional and personal development of employees. An opportunity to reflect of the past 12 months, set new goals for the 12 ahead and boost employee performance.

And perhaps that was once true –  it still might be in certain circumstances – but, in a fast-paced world where 12-month goals are no longer the norm, it seems that these annual reviews are becoming obsolete. Companies must rethink their performance management systems to make them more flexible, agile and encouraging continuous development.

A more effective alternative to these annual performance reviews is to implement regular “check-ins” with  employees, regular meetings to provide them with continuous opportunities to self-evaluate, act on negative feedback but also receive positive feedback, and improve. Regularity is the key, whether these meetings are quarterly, monthly or bi-monthly. The more frequent and real-time the feedback, the more effective and actionable it becomes. Not only will these meetings be less dreaded by employees, they will most certainly improve overall productivity and morale!

We are the sports practice of global advisory firm Burson Cohn & Wolfe. We provide strategy and communication advice for sports clients around the world. For more information: