I've been in HR for years and was also frustrated with the formal, and reactive - uninspiring - approach to reviews. They were often full of irrelevant (and/or demotivating) content, no one wanted to do it, and it was never very actionable (learnings were often too late).
I've created a tool that checks in regularly via email with the team, takes their pulse, and facilitates back and forth communication on goals. There's basically no admin, just more transparency and communication.
Here is the site -> http://www.pinglabs.co/. I can send along some screen shots if anyone is interested. You, or anyone in this forum, can use Ping for free. Just get in touch.