Best-Self Review® for review admins

It's time for your team to participate in a Best-Self Review cycle! This article walks through what a review cycle looks like for you- a review admin- from start to finish. Check out the additional resources in each section for walk-throughs and context.

This article includes...

Access and availability

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

Before the cycle begins: set the stage

Before you create a review cycle there's some behind-the-scenes work you, a review admin, are responsible for.

Manage Best-Self Review® feature settings

Your company's global review settings dictate default settings for all review cycles you create. Check out our "Manage company review settings" Help Center article for steps on how to manage review settings, as well as context regarding what each setting entails.

Appoint administrative roles for your review cycle
Various administrative roles exist for Best-Self Review® cycles, and it's important to make sure the right people are appointed to those roles to ensure a successful review experience. 

Notable administrative roles include...

  • Review administrators: Can manage company settings for review cycles, create review cycles and question templates, manage active review cycles, delete review cycles, and, importantly, view all submitted reviews. Review admins can also manage peers for participants and share/finalize review results with participants.
  • Cycle collaborators: Have the same permissions as review admins (with the exception of creating or deleting review cycles), but only for the cycle(s) that they are added as a collaborator for.
  • Custom roles: 15Five gives you the ability to create custom administrative roles that give individuals only the permissions they need. Maybe you’re holding a review cycle with every department in your company, but you want to grant someone visibility into only one group’s review results. Or perhaps you don’t want someone to have full review admin visibility into review cycles, but you want them to be able to manage review settings and cycle participants. Whatever your use case, custom roles can help you tailor review permissions in a way that works for your organization. Custom roles can be assigned at any point during a review cycle.

Additional resources:
Help Center article 💡: Add or remove review administrators
Help Center article 💡: Add or remove cycle collaborators
Help Center article 💡: Create and assign custom Best-Self Review® roles

Manage review-specific email notifications
Doing reviews at a company can feel like directing an orchestra—there are a lot of moving parts and people to manage. To take the burden off of review admins, we automatically inform review participants of important milestones, remind them when something is due, and send emails that are action-based (meaning when someone takes an action, the email is triggered). While most of our emails are automated, we do allow review admins to manage some review emails from the company notifications page. Additionally, here's a full list of email notifications that may be sent out during a review cycle.
[Optional] Create answer templates

An answer template is a set of opinion-scale ratings that can be applied to opinion-scale questions in a question template. 15Five's default answer template is: strongly disagree, disagree, neutral, agree, strongly agree. But if you prefer to use a different scale, you can create a custom answer template.

Answer templates can be reused and applied to any opinion-scale question in a review cycle.

Decide how you want to add questions to your review cycle
If you're a review admin tasked with creating a Best-Self Review® cycle, you know that crafting effective questions is essential to collecting meaningful feedback. Fortunately, 15Five gives you options when it comes to adding questions to your review cycle.

Question templates contain the questions that will be asked to cycle participants. Each review type (self/manager, peer, and upward) gets its own question template, meaning that there can be up to three different question templates used in a review cycle.

There are three options for adding questions to a review cycle:

  1. Using 15Five's default question templates
  2. Cloning existing question templates and making edits
  3. Creating custom question templates

Read more about each of these options.

[Optional] Create a Performance Ratings+ template, formula, and rubric

With 15Five's Performance Ratings+ tool in Best-Self Review®, you can automate numerical scores for participants in the review cycle. This is done using a custom formula that combines aggregate scores from self and/or manager review answers. Performance Ratings+ can also be pulled into the HR Outcomes Dashboard to measure employee performance.

Performance Ratings templates are applied to question templates. Check out the "Use Performance Ratings+ in a review cycle" section of our Help Center for more information.

Create the review cycle
Now it's time to create your review cycle. Check out our "Create a Best-Self Review® cycle" Help Center article for steps.

During the review cycle: It's show time!

You launched your review cycle - now what? This section walks through scenarios and logistics that may prove helpful as your team completes the review cycle.

Add or remove participants

We understand that changes happen. If you find yourself in a situation in which you need to either add or remove participants to/from an active review cycle, you can do so by following the steps in our "Add or remove a review cycle participant" Help Center article.

Change who is responsible for writing reviews about a person or edit participant settings
At any point during a review cycle, you can change who is responsible for writing reviews for a participant, or add a read-only review viewer (previously called "additional manager") for an individual (so someone other than a person's manager can see their review results). Check out the "Manage participant settings, review authors, and reviews" section of our Help Center for articles that walk through how to manage participant settings during an active review cycle.
Nominate peers for a participant

This is only relevant if peer reviews are included in a review cycle. While the review cycle participants themselves and their managers typically nominate peers for a participant, review admins and cycle collaborators also have the ability to do so.

Either participant-initiated or peer-initiated peer reviews can be included in a review cycle. In participant-initiated peer reviews (the default peer review cycle), either the review cycle participant themselves, their manager, a review admin (you), or a cycle collaborator can nominate peers for the participant. The manager, a review admin (you), or a cycle collaborator can approve, decline, or remove peer nominations for a participant. In peer-initiated peer reviews, peers volunteer to write peer reviews of participants; there is no nomination or approval process.

Help Center article 💡: Manage peer nominations for a review cycle participant

Nudge people to submit their reviews

If you want to remind your team and gently nudge them to complete a review, you have the ability to "nudge" them, and 15Five will send them an email notification.

Help Center article 💡: Send nudges during an active cycle

Report on a cycle's progress
At any time during a review cycle, a review admin can run a progress report. The report includes all participants, a participant’s peers, a participant’s direct reports, submission dates, a participant’s answers, and multiple other fields.
[Optional] Create calibration sessions

15Five's Calibrations feature helps HR leaders and managers make more fair, objective, and transparent assessments of performance and talent decisions with ease. In calibration sessions, calibrators can see the distribution of review ratings across team managers and adjust those ratings in real time. If you're planning to include calibrations in your review cycle, it's best to create the sessions and assign contributors prior to all results being in— so that contributors have more time between the manager due-by date and the calibrations window to spend actually holding the calibration sessions.

Help Center article 💡: Create a calibration session

The results are in...

Once all reviews have been submitted, it's time to hold calibration sessions, get results to participants, and start analyzing review results.

When do reviews become visible?

Visibility is always a sensitive subject, especially when it comes to reviews. What reviews are visible? To whom? At what time do they become visible? These are all valid questions that vary from review to review. Check out our "When do reviews become visible to others?" Help Center article for all of your visibility questions.



The level of visibility will depend on the review settings that were in place before the cycle began.

[Optional] Hold and lock calibration sessions

Calibrations in 15Five help HR leaders and managers make more fair, objective, and transparent assessments of performance and talent decisions with ease. Calibrations in 15Five make it easy for calibrators to see the distribution of review ratings across team managers and adjust those ratings in real time.

Once a calibration session(s) has been created and manager reviews have been submitted in a Best-Self Review® cycle, it's time to begin holding calibration sessions. Once you've held the calibration session, you should lock the session.

Share and finalize review results with participants

Once a participant's manager completes their review summary, they will schedule a final meeting with them to discuss review results, share review results with them, hold the meeting, make any desired edits to the summary, then finalize the review results. This process is typically handled by managers, but review admins and cycle collaborators also have the ability to share and finalize review results.

Help Center article 💡: Complete, share, & finalize summaries

Unshare/reopen review results

Once review results have been shared with a participant, edits to previously submitted reviews can no longer be made. However, if edits do need to be made, as a review administrator, you have the ability to unshare/reopen their review results, so that the necessary individual can edit their review, and then re-submit the updated review. Cycle collaborators also have the ability to do this for any participant in the review cycle, and managers are able to do this for their direct reports in the cycle.

Help Center article 💡: Undo shared and finalized reviews

View and analyze review results
Holding a review cycle is only part of the it's time to report on results and use them to guide conversations, inform compensation conversations, and promote organizational change. Check out the "Analyze review results" section of our Help Center to learn more about the data-rich reporting options 15Five offers.

After the cycle

Lock the review cycle

Locking a review cycle means that users will no longer be able to submit reviews or edit any details within the cycle. This should only be done when the review cycle is fully completed and all summary meetings have been held.



To confirm the cycle has been locked, go back to your ‘Reviews’ tab and check for a lock icon next to the cycle.

Download or print review details

If you would like to view and analyze review data for specific employees, you can download or print the results from within their specific review page after the results have been shared and finalized. Check out our "Download my company's review results" Help Center article for instructions on how to do so.

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