Best-Self Review®: 101

15Five firmly believes that individual high performance is a natural byproduct of someone being, and becoming, their best self. The Best-Self Review® is a revolutionary new performance management practice that shifts the context for employees from one where they are judged and graded, to being supported on their journey of continued success. Using research-backed question templates and the ability to aggregate an individual's wins, challenges, and progress on key objectives, Best-Self Review® eliminates bias and steers the conversion toward growth and forward-looking performance.

Access and availability

⛔️ Required access to Best-Self Review®.
👥 This article is relevant to all roles.
📦 This feature is available in the Perform and Total Platform pricing packages.

Science 🔬: The science backing Best-Self Review®

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Key features of a Best-Self Review®

Growth and Development questions: Reflect on your accomplishments and opportunities for growth that relate to the progress of your work goals. Instead of simply grading past performance, this section aligns employee efforts with company objectives. Managers can focus on wins, since research shows that strengths-based development conversations increase motivation and improve performance.

Company values: How you achieve a goal is as important as what you achieved. The Company Values assessment allows employees to reflect on how they contributed to the core company values and mission. This process keeps values top of mind for employees and guides the everyday decisions they make.

Competency assessment- After competencies have been added via 'Competencies and Paths feature settings' (in-app link) or in a specific question template, competency assessment is a research-backed approach to gauge an individual’s skills and behaviors that drive performance. It gives employees and managers the ability to objectively and more holistically measure performance over time, identify skills and perception gaps, and enhances transparency in the review process. In the 'Company's results tab' we have a dashboard that will display competency results and allow you to analyze your team or company's competency assessments.

Wins & challengesWith standard reviews, managers either reflect on an employee’s most recent work (which provides an inaccurate picture of actual performance) or they are forced to sift through a mountain of notes and emails. Weekly 15Fives allow employees and managers to easily flag wins and challenges and view progress on key objectives and recognition. All of the information required to have an accurate picture of employee performance is now aggregated into one place that’s accessible when completing a Best-Self Review®.

Private manager assessment:  Research shows that it’s important to separate salary and development conversations, however, performance needs to be assessed throughout the year. The Private Manager Assessment includes five future-focused questions on employee promotion readiness and eligibility for compensation increase or bonus award.

The Private Manager Assessment is a section in manager reviews that includes five future-focused questions inspired by research from Deloitte and highlighted in the Harvard Business Review article, Reinventing Performance Management. These questions help reduce bias and can help managers more objectively assess performance and promotion readiness over time.

The questions are:

  1. [Name] is ready for a promotion today. (Strongly disagree - Strongly agree)
  2. [Name] is at risk for low performance. (Strongly disagree - Strongly agree)
  3. Given what I know of [Name]’s current performance, and if it were my money, I would award them the highest possible increase and bonus. (Strongly disagree - Strongly agree)
  4. Given how well I know [Name] works with others, I would always want them on my team. (Strongly disagree - Strongly agree)
  5. Given what I know of [Name]’s performance, if [Name] got a job offer somewhere else, I would feel: (Relieved, Accepting, Neutral, Anxious, Distressed)


The Private Manager Assessment section of the manager review works to reduce the idiosyncratic rater bias. Adam Grant recommends companies triangulate the Private Manager Assessment (the Deloitte questions in the default self+manager template) with as many objective measures of both results and behaviors as possible. Resources for Your Review (which includes past 15Fives, Objectives, etc...) helps to ensure the Private Manager Assessment is triangulated with as many Objective results as possible. The Competency Assessment helps to ensure the Private Manager Assessment is triangulated with as many behaviors as possible. This process (the private manager assessment triangulated with both results and behaviors) helps to ensure a more objective and fair review.

Cycle management:  Review Admins, like executives and the HR team, can manage and customize review cycles by selecting when reviews are due and when milestone meetings between employees and managers should take place. Set automated emails to remind any stragglers to complete their reviews so that employees are receiving timely feedback across the entire organization.

Best-Self Review® Dashboard: HR teams often struggle the most at review time, because coordinating, tracking, and cataloging reviews can be cumbersome. Reviews can all be easily managed and tracked from one beautifully designed dashboard. HR can see company-wide progress and drill-down in every review. Managers can see their team’s progress, and employees see their review, as well as the status of their manager’s review.

Having effective reviews

Workplaces today look sound and feel significantly different than they did in the past. Technology is also responsible, especially easy to use, data-driven software that’s replacing outdated, heavyweight paper processes like payroll and benefits administration or the dreaded annual performance appraisal.  Millennials are creating a new, flexible, and purpose-driven culture. In a statement about the future of work, Gallup said it best, “the when, where, why, and how of work are changing.” What exactly does that mean?

  • The When: It is now a priority to work remotely, via flexible schedules. Millennials want to eliminate the pressure to stay stuck at a desk all day and want the flexibility to work from anywhere during the times when they work best. Technology is changing the way we communicate, and many are replacing email with more frequent, real-time, collaboration software that can be used on the go, like Slack.
  • The Where: Cubicles are a thing of the past. Now office plans are open and encourage serendipitous chance meetings, play, and collaboration.
  • The Why: The new workforce is purpose-driven. Millennials are interested in finding work and workplaces that suit their identities and lifestyles. They want to work with meaning and purpose. They want their job to fit their life, not the other way around.
  • The How: Management is shifting from top-down command and control styles to flatter structures where employees have more responsibility and autonomy. Now, management is relational, not transactional. Millennials want more than just a manager. They want a manager, a coach and a mentor. They want to leverage their strengths to do what they do best every day. They want the quality of learning and development that can only come with receiving ongoing feedback, collaborating on clear goals, and work that challenges but doesn’t frustrate.


If you're unsure of what questions in ask in your review cycle, we suggest using our default question templates, which we specially developed based on research completed by People Science experts. 15Five provides the following default question templates: self & manager questions, Manager effectiveness, upward questions, peer questions, and Ad Hoc peer review. These templates can be viewed on the "Template configuration" page (in-app link).

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