Performance reviews are pretty much standard operating procedure at most organizations these days. But I’ve never liked them very much. They’re awkward, tense meetings, and I honestly don’t think employees or the employer gets much out of it. The truth is, you should be reviewing your employees pretty much every day.
Tweak small not big. Talk to them about their performance on a regular basis or project by project. Influence research indicates that you’ll have much more impact guiding employees through many small corrections rather than waiting until once a year and unloading on them all at once.
If you store things up and do the “yearly dump” I think it creates many more hard feelings. Employees need to be reviewed, encouraged, and corrected. But do it as the problems (or good stuff) happens. Don’t wait until they’ve forgotten what the reprimand was about in the first place.