It's the one meeting countless employees inevitably come to dread each year: the annual performance review. Also known as an employee assessment, the purpose of the annual performance review is to sum up each worker's accomplishments and shortcomings from the previous year and outline goals going forward. In many cases, you'll also be told whether you're getting a raise or bonus during your performance review. And that right there is enough to make the process unbearably stressful.

Not only do annual performance reviews have the potential to induce needless anxiety, but they can also be overwhelming for employees, even when they're notably positive. That's because in most cases, managers will aim to pack a ton of feedback and information into a single meeting, leaving workers struggling to take it all in.

Two professionals reviewing paperwork at a desk


But there's some good news on the performance-review front, and it's that these assessments may increasingly start going away. That's one key prediction from Glassdoor's just-released job trends and disruptions report, which states that for years, a growing number of high-profile companies have been abandoning the annual performance review, and that smaller companies are apt to follow suit.

Goodbye, performance reviews?

Nearly 50% of HR leaders have either done away with annual performance reviews or are considering doing away with them. Why the shift? For one thing, research shows that performance reviews don't result in better employee output. In fact, they might serve the opposite purpose of discouraging workers and making them feel insecure.

One major problem with the annual performance review is that it happens only once a year, as the name clearly implies. As such, these assessments tend to harp on past performance rather than future development, and they offer little opportunity for employees to solicit feedback, which is something they're more likely to benefit from when given regularly.

The result? Rather than stick to a single yearly performance review, companies are instead turning to more frequent, less formalized check-ins. These focus on constant development rather than specific milestones that may or may not have been met.

In fact, a growing number of companies are encouraging managers to hold weekly one-on-one meetings so that they can check in with employees, sync up, and gather feedback from one another. These meetings also send workers the message that their bosses are not only accessible but also invested in their happiness and success.

But abandoning the traditional yearly performance review achieves an equally important goal: separating pay increases from manager feedback. In any given organization, it's wise to create an atmosphere wherein money isn't the sole or even primary motivator for employees to do their best. And while there's nothing wrong with rewarding employees for meeting or exceeding expectations, a healthy separation of the two not only helps take the pressure off, but sets the stage for a more fulfilling career.

Only time will tell whether more companies large and small come to eliminate the annual performance review. But one thing's for sure: Replacing one major yearly meeting with a series of casual sit-downs is apt to take some of the pressure off for employees. And that's reason enough to embrace this change.