Best-Self Review® cycles have many moving parts. As a result, we get a lot of one-off questions about functionality. This list addresses commonly asked questions that may not have fit into a particular Help Center article.
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Review cycle options/functionality
Q: What review types can I create?
A: There are four types of reviews that can be included in a Best-Self Review® cycle: self, manager, upward, and peer. We support all combinations of these four review types.
Q: What are the options for repeating a review cycle?
A: Quarterly and bi-annually. At this time, there is no option to make a custom frequency.
Q: Can I run a review cycle based on hire date?
A: Yes. Check out this article for more details.
Q: What do the icons next to my upcoming review cycles mean?
A: The triangle shaped icon with an exclamation mark in the middle is a caution to review admins that the review cycle was set up over seven days ago, or was edited recently and requires confirmation prior to launching. If the cycle isn't confirmed, the review cycle will not launch at the scheduled date. The checkmark icon means that the cycle was confirmed, and it will launch at the scheduled date as input in the review cycle's settings.
Review type logistics
Q: Is it possible to hold a self-only review cycle?
A: Yes! You can hold a self-only, manager-only, upward-only, or peer-only review cycle.
Q: Which people can be added as participants in an upward-only review cycle? Who writes reviews?
A: In upward only reviews, only people who have direct reports in 15Five can be added as participants. Their direct reports will get notified so they can write upward reviews about their managers.
Q: Which people are added as participants in upward + peer review cycles? Who writes reviews?
A: In upward + peer reviews, anyone can be included as a participant. People without direct reports will essentially go through a the peer review only.
Best-Self Review® feature settings
Q: What does the maximum peer limit do/mean?
A: The 'maximum peers' field in the 'review settings (in-app link) is a limit for how many peers you can nominate. This limit does not restrict you from accepting "x" amount of peer nominations. Learn more here about accepting/rejecting peer nominations. For example: I can only nominate 3 peers to review my performance. However, if 15 people nominate me to review them, this limit will not restrict me from accepting all of those peer nominations.
Q: What time zone is a review cycle set to by default?
A: As a review administrator, when editing review cycle milestones, the input time will abide by the company's time zone. If a participant has a different time zone than the company's, any email communications regarding the cycle that displays the full date and time will abide by the user's time zone as input in their account settings.
Q: What is the difference between excluding a group or individual(s) from the Best-Self Review® global settings (in-app link) and excluding a group or individual(s) from a specific cycle?
A: Globally excluded groups or individuals cannot be participants, will not be asked to complete a self review, will not be asked to complete manager reviews, will not be asked to complete an upward review, and cannot be nominated as a peer.
Cycle specific excluded groups or individuals will not be asked to complete a self review, may be asked to complete manager reviews, may be asked to complete an upward review, and can be nominated as a peer. If needed, these excluded people can be added as cycle participants at a later time.
Q: Can I add or remove a participant from an active cycle?
A: If you are a review administrators, you can add or remove a participant from an active cycle up until the cycle has ended. Use the 'Manage participants' link in your review 'Overview' page. Click the gear icon to see the 'Manage participants' option.
Q: What happens if a participant doesn't have a manager in a review cycle?
A: If a participant doesn't have a manager in a review cycle, they'll be able to see peer and upward reviews submitted of them upon review submission. For example, if the CEO doesn't have a manager, all peer reviews submitted about them will become visible to the CEO as soon as they're submitted. The same logic applies to upward reviews.
Please note that whether or not a participant can see the identity of review authors depends on settings that were selected during review cycle creation. You can read more about visibility options in our "Visibility settings for Best-Self Review®" Help Center article.
Q: What happens if my direct manager changes during a cycle?
A: See this article for specifics.
Q: How do I ask the same question in all reviews?
A: You have to create that question in each template. Learn more about how to create question templates for reviews here.
Q: Are optional questions available in Best-Self Review®?
A: Yes. When creating a question for a review, there is a 'required question' toggle that can be switched off for optional questions.
- Q: Can I ask managers a question on the manager review without asking the same question on the self review?
- A: Yes! If you want to ask a question on the manager review only (you do not want the question to appear on the self review), you can leave the self review question field blank and only fill in the manager review question field. The inverse is also true. To ask a self review only question, leave the manager review question field blank. The question will still appear on the summary even if it is only asked on the self review or manager review.
Q: What answer types are available?
A: Text (free response), Yes/No, Opinion scale (Likert), Multiple choice
Q: What order do questions appear in for a review cycle participant?
A: The display order of questions matches the order that questions appear in on the question template.
Q: When is the kick-off email sent to all participants?
A: The kick-off email is sent to all participants, regardless of whether or not they're active in 15Five, on the day that the cycle begins. The kick off email is sent out at 8:23am in the company's time zone.
If the cycle starts on the same day it is created and/or activated, emails will go out immediately upon activation. Emails will not wait until the next day at 8:23am to be sent. Learn more about what email notifications are sent out during an active cycle here.
Q: Can I give someone visibility into a review cycle participant's review results?
A: Yes— there is a role called review viewer that is available per review cycle or for all cycles. Review viewers have read-only permission into a participant's review results.
Q: Is it possible to hide a person's review results from their manager?
A: No. By default, a person's manager, review admins, and cycle collaborators can always see a person's review results. There's no way to disable this visibility.
Q: Are my reviews (peer and upward) anonymous?
A: That will depend on the settings that were set up by the review administrators prior to the cycle starting. If you are not sure what settings are in place, feel free to ask a review administrator. To learn more about the possible visibility setting in a review cycle, check out this breakdown.
Q: Can 15Five's Support Team change review settings to make peer and upward reviews anonymous during an active cycle?
A: Yes. As long as you want to change settings to go from more visibility to less visibility, we can make this change. For example, we can change their peer transparency setting if it’s currently set to fully transparent and you want it to be fully anonymous, but we can not change it if it’s the other way around.
Q: Can review administrators see their own reviews if the setting is anonymous?
A: If the settings for a cycle are partially or fully anonymous, review administrators will not be able to see their own peer and upward reviews. Other review administrators will have access to the reviews, but not the review administrator who is being reviewed. Additionally, the CSV download will also be anonymous to the review administrator for their own reviews (if the review administrator tries to download the responses to see the answers).
Q: Can review admins see Private Manager Assessment answers written about them?
A: This depends on settings determined by the review admin that created the review cycle. By default, the answer is no— a review admin cannot access private manager assessment submitted by their manager. However, it's possible that the review admin set the review cycle up to allow for either hierarchy or participant view of Private Manager Assessment answers. Please refer to our "Manage visibility options for private manager assessments" Help Center article for more information about these options.
Q: Can new managers see past reviews of their new direct report?
A: By default, new managers cannot automatically see past reviews of their direct reports. However, if the "All direct managers can view past reviews" setting is enabled in Best-Self Review® feature settings, managers do have visibility into past reviews. New managers can also be granted visibility to results in a past review cycle if they're added as a review viewer or additional manager for the direct report.
If a person's manager is changed during an active review cycle, the new manager can see all reviews submitted about the participant in that cycle, and can view and update the prior manager's private manager assessment (if the prior manager submitted a manager review before being removed as the manager).
Peer nominations and reviews
Q: Can I limit the number of times a peer nominates me?
A: No, but you can decline nominations after a given number. 15Five has a default peer nomination throttle of 4; meaning after you have been nominated by 4 different peers, there will be a warning icon by your name that is visible to your review administrators and managers.
Q: What is the difference between participant initiated and peer initiated peer reviews?
A: Participant initiated peer reviews include the participant making nominations, the manager approving/denying those nominations, and the nominated peer accepting/declining those nominations. This is 15Five's suggested approach to peer reviews. Peer initiated peer reviews include any participants initiating a peer review of any other participant, without the other person asking for feedback- think of it as unsolicited. The initiation, filling out of the peer review, and submitting the peer review are done without any approvals. 15Five does not suggest this option unless your company is familiar with effective and actionable feedback and the option for managers/review administrators to remove answers is enabled. For more information, including the research behind the two options, see this article.
Q: Why don't I see the option to nominate a specific person as a peer?
A: Managers cannot nominate their direct reports as peers for themselves. The reason is: direct reports are should be asked to complete upward reviews of their manager instead. If we allowed direct reports to also be peers for cycles that include upward reviews, the direct report(s) would be duplicating efforts.
Any globally excluded persons or groups will not be available for peer nomination.
If running a Peer Only Review cycle, there are no restrictions on peer nominations. Managers, direct reports, anyone that is not excluded can be a peer in a Peer Only Review cycle.
Q: Can managers nominate peers for their employees?
A: Yes, managers can nominate peers for their employees through the 'Peer nominations' page, up until the 'Manager approval' deadline.
Q: Can review administrators and cycle collaborators nominate/manage peers for participants?
A: Yes, by following these steps.
Q: Can I, as a manager, remind my employees to nominate peers? The deadline is approaching.
A: Yes, there is a nudge option in the 'Peer nominations' tab.
Q: How can peers be nominated after the peer nomination, peer approval, and manager approval deadlines have passed?
A: Peers can be managed by managers up until the 'Manager approval' deadline. You can update the review deadline dates up to the final deadline.
Q: What happens if my manager hasn't approved/denied my nominations by the manager approval deadline?
A: If your manager has not approved or denied your nominations before the manager approval deadline, there are a couple things that could happen. The outcome depends on your company's cycle settings, which are listed below.
Either, auto-approve peer nominations for employees if the nominations are made past the manager approve by date.
Or, always require managers to approve peer nominations, even if the manager approve by date has passed.
Q: I am a review administrator, can I download a report of all the peer nominations and their statuses?
A: Yes, you sure can. The 'Peer nomination status' report is available for review administrators only. See this article for a full walkthrough.
Make changes to an active review cycle
Q: I'm a review administrator, can I extend review deadlines from within my account?
A: Yes, review administrators can now change all review deadlines from within app. See this article.
Q: Are changes to competencies automatically updated in an active review cycle?
A: They are not updated automatically. To update, you will need to navigate to the competencies section of your account, and click Apply changes.
Write and edit reviews
Q: Can I be asked to complete a peer review if I'm not a participant in a review cycle?
A: Yes: you may be asked to complete a peer review for a teammate, even if you are not a participant in the cycle. If you are nominated, you will get an email asking you to accept or decline the nomination. If you accept, you will ONLY be asked to complete a peer review.
Q: Can I be asked to only complete a manager review if I'm not a participant in a cycle?
A: Yes: you may be asked to complete a manager review for your direct report(s), even if you are not a participant in the cycle. If one (or more) of your direct reports is a participant in a cycle, you will be asked to complete a manager review. You will ONLY be asked to complete a manager review(s). Globally excluded users will not be asked to complete peer reviews.
Q: Can I be asked to only complete an upward review if I'm not a participant in a cycle?
A: Yes: you may be asked to complete an upward review for your manager, even if you are not a participant in the cycle. If your manager is a participant in a 360 review cycle, you will be asked to complete an upward review. You will ONLY be asked to complete an upward review. Globally excluded users will not be asked to complete upward reviews.
Q: Can I appoint more than one person to write a manager review of an individual?
A: Yes. If you'd like someone other than a person's assigned manager to write a manager review about them, you can appoint them as an additional manager. A person can have up to five (5) additional managers in a single review cycle.
Q: Is it possible for a person to be asked to write an upward review of their additional manager?
A: No. A person can only be asked to write one (1) upward review in a given review cycle. If upward reviews are included in a review cycle, participants are asked, by default, to write an upward review of their manager in the review cycle. If desired, review admins or cycle collaborators can change who a person is asked to write an upward review about. Another workaround would be to include peer reviews in your review cycle and nominate the person's additional manager as a peer.
Q: Is it possible for a person to write more than one upward review in a review cycle?
A: No— any given person can only write one upward review in a review cycle. If you want a person to give feedback about a person who is not their direct manager in the review cycle, a workaround would be to include peer reviews and have them write a peer review about that person.
Q: Why am I not being asked to write an upward review?
A: There are multiple reasons why your upward review might not be showing.
- If your manager is not a participant in the cycle, then you will not be asked to submit an upward review. The reason being, you will only have reviews written OF you if you are a participant in the cycle. Additionally, you will only be asked to complete a review OF someone, if they are a participant in the cycle. You cannot submit peer reviews of someone who is not a participant. You cannot submit manager reviews of your direct reports unless they are participants. You cannot submit upward reviews of your manager unless your manager is a participant in the cycle.
- If your manager was deactivated or removed from the current cycle, then you will no longer be asked to submit an upward review. See bullet point #1 for reasoning.
- If your direct manager was changed after the cycle began, and you have not already submitted an upward review of your previous manager, you WILL NOT be asked to complete an upward review of your new manager. The reason being, you do not have sufficient evidence to write a fair upward review of someone who just became your manager.
Read more about the different scenarios when adding, removing, or changing managers
Q: At what point am I no longer able to submit my reviews (self, manager, upward, peer)?
A: Past-due reviews (self, manager, peer, and upward) can be submitted up until the cycle has been locked by a review administrator or until the reviewee has had their review results finalized. Additionally, any review that is submitted after the results of the cycle have been shared will automatically be shared and visible to the participant at the time of submission. Learn more here about when what review becomes visible when in a review cycle.
Q: At what point am I no longer able to edit my reviews (self, manager, upward, peer)?
A: Reviews (self, manager, peer, and upward) can be edited up until the results have been shared. Past due reviews can be submitted up until the cycle is locked or until the reviewee has had their review results finalized. However, once the sharing of results happens, the reviews are no longer editable as they have been seen by all parties. Learn more here about when what review becomes visible when in a review cycle.
Q: What happens to a review when it gets reopened for editing?
A: A review that has been reopened for editing will temporarily be unavailable for managers and review administrators to view. The review will reappear when resubmitted by the review writer.
Share and finalize review results
Q: I'm a manager: Why is there a lock icon by the Summary tab for my direct reports?
A: The 'Summary' tab will show a lock icon until the manager review has been submitted for the participant.
Q: Can a manager or review administrator prevent a peer review from being shared?
A: A manager/review administrator cannot “edit” the peer review response, but review administrators do have a couple options to limiting what is shared with participants on peer and upward reviews.
Managers and/or review administrators may be able to remove answers from being shared with the participant. This setting must be enabled in Best-Self Review® feature settings (in-app link) before the review is started. It can be enabled by selecting the second or third options under 'Release peer and upward feedback'. 'Release peer and upward feedback' is found in Best-Self Review® feature settings (in-app link). Review administrators can also enable a setting that will hide peer and/or upward feedback in their entirety from the participant, meaning the peer and/or upward reviews will not be shared verbatim. This setting must be enabled before the review is started. It can be enabled using the 'Peer review transparency' and 'Upward review transparency' settings. Select the Hidden option. These settings are also found in Best-Self Review® feature settings (in-app link).
Q: When a review cycle ends, if managers haven't clicked "shared results" what happens to the reviews? Do the employees ever see the results?
A: Review administrators can lock the ended cycle and upon locking, can choose to share all results that haven't been shared yet. Essentially the review administrator can share all results and lock the cycle in one final step. If review administrators do not lock the cycle and release the results, the reviews will not be shared with participants.