The purpose of this paper is to propose a new approach to talent management that consists of averaging performance appraisal and assessment center ratings for in-depth identification of lawyers’ talents.
The approach’s adjustment was examined using a 61 senior-lawyer sample from a Portuguese law firm. Comparisons between assessment center and performance appraisal ratings were analyzed using paired-sample t-tests and a kernel density function, and predictive validity was assessed with Pearson correlations. Evidence of both a general performance factor and two additional factors was verified using principal component analysis. Varimax rotation was used to verify three broad factors with job profile’s three broad areas.
Results suggest support for the assessment center’s predictive validity. Its lower and more variable ratings overcome performance appraisal rating bias. Adjustment of the new approach to lawyers’ overall talent identification (the general factor) and each lawyer’s relative talents (three broad factors) was observed.
This study contributes to the body of knowledge regarding the substantive existence of a general performance factor, and adds to empirical research concerning talent management, which is lacking. However, generalizability requires broader samples and replication.
The approach is a methodology that informs career management, high-flyers’ identification, talent mapping, development, succession planning, team composition, and diversity analysis. For lawyers, objective feedback allows benchmarking talent and managing one’s career.
This study pioneers empirical research that develops methods for identifying talent in law firms, vital for firm sustainability.
The authors appreciate the very helpful insights and comments of Rainer Kurz, Saville Consulting’s Research Director on earlier versions of this paper. Susana Almeida Lopes appreciates Rainer Kurz personal support for complex data interpretation and Saville Consulting’s support to her PhD, regarding free tool use and training.
Lopes, S.A., Sarraguça, J.M.G., Lopes, J.A. and Duarte, M.E. (2015), "A new approach to talent management in law firms : Integrating performance appraisal and assessment center data ", International Journal of Productivity and Performance Management, Vol. 64 No. 4, pp. 523-543. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJPPM-08-2013-0147
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