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Hogan Lovells to Discontinue Yearly Performance Reviews
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Hogan Lovells. Photo courtesy of Law.com.

Summary: Hogan Lovells is changing the way it provides associate feedback. 

Millennials are known to have different work expectations than the generations before them, and successful employers know that to keep these young workers they must adapt some of their old organizational models.

  
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One major employer in the legal world to make this shift is Hogan Lovells. According to Law.com, the Big Law firm is overhauling the way it provides feedback to associates by creating a new program called “Pathways.”

Previously, associates could learn about their performances during a yearly evaluation, but now they can ask partners and other firm professionals to provide feedback throughout the year.

Established in 2010, Hogan Lovells is a multi-city, global law firm with almost 2,600 attorneys. Law.com said that it had been studying the effects of a yearly performance review for 16 months and concluded that it should be scrapped for consistent feedback.

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“When it came time to make important decisions—who should be advanced, who should become a partner—we never went back and read the reports because they were in a sense detached from the process of managing development,” Steve Immelt, CEO of Hogan Lovells, told Law.com. “We thought the system we had was broken in a number of respects and not really delivering what our people needed and wanted.”

Allison Friend, Hogan Lovells Chief Human Resources Officer in the Americas, stated that the firm is encouraging “flash feedback,” meaning associates get at least three people’s reviews of their performance every three months. She said that flash feedback can encourage people to have more engagement with those they work with.



Immelt added that the company shift may be an adjustment but that they designed the program so that people could adapt.

“Even saying that the old system was broken didn’t mean that this was the right solution,” Immelt said. “This does change the approach, and we all know how lawyers don’t like things to change, so we wanted to be sure this was going to be an approach people would adapt and pick up.”

Hogan Lovells’ change comes at a time when other firms are also adjusting their practices to match the expectations of their younger workers. For instance, “Reed Smith was testing a real-time feedback app for associates last year, and Drinker Biddle added quarterly performance reviews on top of its annual appraisals a few years ago,” Law.com stated.

The Pathways program will be rolled out globally and is expected to be enacted by next year.

“Pathways is focused on growth and development, not compensation. We’ve separated the feedback process from conversations about compensation,” Friend said. “As to partnership, it doesn’t determine who is on a partnership track. However, we do talk regularly with associates in the program about what paths they want to take, including partnership.”

What do you think of Hogan Lovells’ Pathways Program? Let us know in the comments below.



 

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