Familiarize yourself with employee data options

One of the primary first steps that you, as an account admin, must take to launch 15Five at your organization is to organize employee data in a strategic way that enables you to make the most of 15Five. In this article, we discuss employee data organization options so you have the knowledge needed to make the right decisions for your organization.

15Five offers the following options to organize employee data:

  • Groups
    • Group types
    • Smart Groups
  • Attributes
    • Demographic attributes
    • High Potential attribute


As a general rule, we suggest using groups to organize people into segments that you want to be able to take action on in 15Five and that are not based around sensitive information, since group membership is public. Attributes should be utilized to organize people into segments based on sensitive data.

Groups overview

With groups in 15Five, you can create subsets of people to organize your company based on business units, departments, locations, common interests, and more. These groups can be pulled into specific features across 15Five for segmenting, reporting, and filtering.

How groups work with different features

  • OKRs: You can assign an Objective to a group.
  • Check-ins: You can create group-specific Check-in questions, manage Check-in options (such as due day and frequency) by group, and manage Check-in visibility settings by group.
  • Best-Self Review®: You can include/exclude a group from a review cycle or calibration session, as well as ask group-specific competency questions.
  • Reporting: You can run any report based on group membership.
  • Other: You can @mention groups anywhere in 15Five.

Group visibility

  • Employees can see which groups they’re in via their account settings or ‘About’ tab.
  • Anyone can see what groups another employee is in using the ‘About’ tab. This is important to note, because you don’t want to create a group for something that should be private.

Group types

A group type is a category or folder to store groups in (e.g. departments, locations, special interest groups, etc.). There is no limit to the number of groups within a group type an employee can be in.

Example group types you can create: 

  • Groups of folks you want to create OKRs for
  • A group of people you want to exclude or include in review cycles, 
  • Groups of people you want to ask Check-in questions to.

Smart groups

Smart groups are groups that are automatically created and managed based on the manager. Enabling Smart Groups decreases the manual work of managing team-specific groups in a company by automating the process. As teams change, these groups will automatically update: so admins don't have to worry about assigning someone to or un-assigning them from a group.

Additionally, the existence of Smart Groups means that account admins can filter data by Smart Groups to show information for everyone who reports to a specific reviewer. This data can be helpful in driving adoption and increasing engagement.

Smart Groups allow managers to easily pull information on, change settings for, and manage questions for their direct reports. With Smart Groups enabled, all managers in 15Five will have a group that contains their direct reports. That means that they can...

Some things to note about smart groups

  • When configuring smart groups, make sure to enable the “Show all Smart Groups to admins” option, so admins have visibility into them. 
  • A manager isn’t considered as a member of their own smart group— they are just appointed as the group admin.
  • It is not possible to create objectives for smart groups.

Attributes overview

Attributes are labels that can be applied to employees, and typically contain sensitive information. You can create custom attributes, or use 15Five’s default attributes. An employee’s attributes can be viewed on their account settings page.

By default, the following attributes are included in 15Five:

  • Email
  • Employee ID
  • First name
  • Last name
  • Start date
  • Hire date
  • Job title
  • Job description
  • Location
  • Strengths
  • Timezone

How attributes work with different features

  • Engage: Attributes can be carried into the Engage platform as groups so admins can filter engagement survey results based on attributes.
  • Other: You can fill the ‘Smart date’ attribute for employees to ensure they don’t have access to 15Five prior to your launch date.


Visibility of attributes differ based on the attribute itself. Admins can set custom view and edit permissions for some attributes on the ‘Manage attributes’ page.

Demographic attributes

Demographic attributes in 15Five allow HR admins to report on key employee trends through the lens of their workforce’s demographics. Breakdowns by demographics and key defining characteristics of an employee are critical to helping people leaders uncover and address problems within their company before they become too big to solve. Learn about enabling and populating demographic attributes in this article.

The following demographic attributes are included in 15Five:

  • Birth date 
  • Ethnicity
  • Gender
  • Race
  • Salary

How demographic attributes work with different features

  • Engage: Engagement Admins can filter results by demographic attributes (called "hidden groups" in Engage).
  • Best-Self Review®: HR admins can filter company review results by demographic attribute.
  • Check-ins: HR Admins can filter the "Submitted Check-ins" and "Reviewed Check-ins" reporting dashboards by demographic attribute by following the steps below.


  • Only HR admins and an employee themselves can see an employee’s demographic attributes. These can be viewed in the employee’s account settings.

High Potential attribute

It’s important for modern HR teams to have the ability to identify high performing employees in their organization so they can work towards retaining top talent. That’s where 15Five’s “High Potential” attribute comes into play. HR admins can use this hidden attribute to identify employees that have the potential to make a big impact on the organization.

How the HiPo attribute works with different features:

  • In the future, we plan to expand the high potential feature— allowing you to filter engagement survey results, performance review results, Pulse scores, and more to see how your high potential employees are doing. Keep an eye out for future releases in the "What's new at 15Five?" section of our Help Center.


  • The High Potential attribute can only be seen and managed by HR admins, and appears on an employee’s account settings page.
  • Employees, their managers, and account admins cannot see whether or not a person is rated as high potential.