This article walks through how to manage and customize your organization's global review settings. Use this article to inform you, a review admin or account admin, as you set Best-Self Review® settings. The settings you select will be applied to all future Best-Self Review® cycles. Changes can be made to these settings up until the start date of a Best-Self Review cycle; however, changes made to these settings after a cycle has started will not retroactively apply (with a few exceptions, which are denoted in this article with an asterisk*).
If you'd like to edit review settings for an active review cycle, check out our "Edit review settings for an active cycle" Help Center article.
If you're a review admin who is setting up a review cycle, check out our "What to expect: I'm a review admin" Help Center article for additional support and guidance!
Access your company's global review settings
- Click on the Settings gear in the upper, right-hand corner of your 15Five account.
- Select 'Features' from the drop-down menu.
- Click to open Best-Self Review® settings.
Manage review administrator(s)*
This is the section of your settings in which you appoint review admins. Review admins are the folks who control almost all aspects of a review cycle: they can manage company settings for review cycles, create/manage review cycles and question templates, report on review results, and, importantly, view answers on all submitted reviews. Before you launch a review, make sure the right people are appointed as review admins. There isn't a limit as to how many review admins you can appoint— it all depends on your preferences and the size of your organization.
Relevant Help Center article 💡: Manage review administrators
Only account admins can be appointed as review admins. Add a new account administrator by following these steps.
While review admins are the only role that are set in review settings, they aren't the only administrative roles you can appoint in a review cycle! Cycle collaborators and custom Best-Self Review® roles are also available. Check out our "Roles in a Best-Self Review® cycle" Help Center article for more information about those roles and how to assign them to individuals.
Exclude groups or individuals from your reviews
We understand there might be people you want to exclude from participating in reviews— for example, contractors or interns. Add those folks to this section to globally exclude them from participating in any future review cycles or being asked to write any reviews about others.
Globally excluded groups or individuals cannot be review cycle 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 reviewer.
This setting is not the same as excluding a group or individual during the process of creating a review cycle. Excluding a person from a specific review cycle simply means they will not reviewed in that review cycle. They can still be nominated as a peer, will still be asked to write an upward review if their manager is a participant in the cycle, and will still be asked to write manager reviews if their direct reports are participants in the cycle.
Set default visibility for review cycles
Privacy is a big deal, which is why we want you to choose the ideal visibility setting for your organization's review cycles.Our options for review visibility are:
- Hierarchy visibility: Review answers can be viewed by the individual, their manager, anyone above their manager (i.e. their manager's manager, their manager's manager, and so on), review admins, and cycle collaborators. If visibility settings are set to hierarchy, you will see the option to include Private Manager Assessment results.
- Basic visibility: Review answers can be viewed by the individual, their manager, and review admins.
In this section you can also determine whether or not you want new managers to have visibility into their direct reports' previous review cycles in which they did not serve as the manager. Simply check the box next to "Visibility into all past reviews" to grant that visibility to managers.
No matter which visibility option you choose, it is worth noting that reviews only become visible once they're submitted: no one can see unsubmitted, in-progress reviews with the exception of the review author themselves. For a more granular breakdown of each review type's visibility, check out our "When do reviews become visible to others?" Help Center article.
Who should see Private Manager Assessment (PMA) results?
By default, private manager assessment results are only visible to a person's direct manager, review admins, and cycle collaborators. However, review admins or account admins can elect to make PMA answers visible to the entire manager hierarchy for a review cycle participant OR to the review cycle participant themselves.
- Selecting Participant means that PMA answers will be visible to the review participants themselves.
- Selecting Hierarchy means that PMA answers will be visible to a participant's hierarchy (that is, anyone above their manager). You can only select this option if you selected hierarchy visibility above.
Direct managers and additional managers past reviews visibility
By default, direct managers and additional managers can only see current and future reviews for people they manage, but you can grant them visibility into past review results if desired.
- Checking the box next to All direct managers can view past reviews will grant direct managers visibility into past review results for all of their direct reports.
- Checking the box next to All additional managers can view past reviews will grant default additional managers visibility into past reviews results for the person/people they're an assigned as the default additional manager for.
These settings are all or nothing, meaning that checking the box next to "All direct managers can view past reviews" will grant all direct managers visibility into all past reviews for all of their direct reports; the same goes for the "All additional managers can view past reviews" setting. If you'd prefer to grant specific people visibility into specific review results, consider adding them as review viewers.
Featured Help Center article (linked above)💡: Add a review viewer for a participant
The 'Company values' section of your review settings is where you can add your organization's core values. But what, you may be asking, does this have to do with a review cycle? When you're creating question templates to use in your Best-Self Review® cycle, you will see a 'Company values' section. In this section, you can add questions that allow review authors to reflect on how the person they're reviewing reflects your company's values. Pretty cool, huh?
Company values that are added after a review cycle has begun will not be retroactively included in that review cycle. You can decide whether a company value question is group-specific or for all participants when you are creating a question template.
Relevant Help Center article 💡: Manage company values
Featured Help Center article (linked above)💡: Create, edit, and manage question templates
Blog post 📝: How To Renew Your Core Values To Keep In Pace With Business Growth (7 min read)
Job competencies are demonstrable and measurable clusters of knowledge, skills, behaviors, and attitudes that an employee needs to perform their work functions successfully. There is an optional 'Competencies' questions section that you can include in review cycles that allows review authors to rate on how the person they're reviewing demonstrates specific job competencies. You will be asked to create competency-specific questions during the process of creating a question template.
Competencies that are added after a review cycle has begun will not be retroactively included in that review cycle's questions. You will be able to decide whether a competency question is group-specific or for all participants when you are creating a question template. Review admins and cycle collaborators can report on company competency results when the review cycle comes to an end.
You can add competencies for your organization either via bulk import or in 'Competencies and Paths' feature settings. You can also edit competencies one-off in 'Competencies and Paths' feature settings. There is no limit to how many competencies you can add to this section.
Featured Help Center article (linked above)💡: Create or clone a question template
Featured Help Center article (linked above)💡: Competency assessment results reporting for my company
Want to add competencies for only select roles or groups that aren't relevant to the entire company? When creating a new question template, you have the ability to add new competencies that will only appear inside that question template. You can assign these competencies to either 1) all review participants, or 2) only select groups. This opens the space for you to program group-specific competencies. If you want to add competencies for a specific role, simply create a group that contains all people in that role and assign your custom competencies to that group.
Set settings for Objectives in review cycles
The 'Objectives' section of your global review settings is where you select whether or not you want objective-related questions to be included in reviews. If this option is enabled, you will see an 'Objectives' question section when creating self/manager question templates. Here you can add questions regarding performance/completion of objectives and key results owned by the person being reviewed.
The criteria for including objective questions in a review cycle are: 1) both the 'Objectives' and 'Best-Self Reviews®' features are enabled in your company's 15Five account, 2) the "Do not include any objectives in reviews" box is unchecked in your company review settings, 3) objective-specific questions are included in the question template you use for the review cycle, and 4) the person being reviewed owns at least one objective or key result that matches the criteria set by the review admin who creates the cycle.
Select which types of objectives you want review cycle participants to be rated on: company-wide, group, and/or individual. Self-development objectives are always excluded. When setting up your review cycle, you will be able to choose the timeframe of objectives that will be included in that review cycle.
Featured Help Center article (linked above)💡: Create or clone a question template
15Five's Performance Ratings+ tool allows you to automate numerical scores for review cycle participants based on a custom formula that combines aggregate scores from self and/or manager review answers.
If you turn the Performance Ratings+ feature on, that means that review admins will see the option to include performance ratings during the Best-Self Review® cycle creation process.
If Performance Ratings+ is enabled, you will have the option to select a visibility option. The visibility option you select in your global Best-Self Review® settings will appear as the default for any future review cycles for your company, but the review admin creating the cycle will still see the option to select a different visibility option.
- Performance rating is visible to review participants means that review cycle participants will be able to see their performance rating when review results are shared with them by either their manager or a cycle collaborator.
- Performance rating is hidden from review participants means that review cycle participants will not be able to see their performance rating anywhere in 15Five.
Additional managers are people besides a review cycle participant's direct manager that have the ability to write a manager review about them in a Best-Self Review® cycle. If you check the box next to Include additional manager reviews in rating calculation, additional manager answers will be factored in the calculation of performance ratings. The weight of all manager reviews is equal— for example, if a participant has one direct manager review and two additional manager reviews, then each one’s weight for manager reviews would be ⅓.
Relevant Help Center article 💡: Performance Ratings+: 101
Peer review settings
Peer review type
This section impacts how peers are selected for review cycles. Our options for peer selection are:
- Participant-initiated: Review cycle participants nominate peers to complete a peer review about them. This is the default setting for peer selection.
- Peer-initiated: Peers get to select who they wish to write a peer review for. We only recommend using this option if your people know what makes peer feedback effective and actionable. If used incorrectly, peer-initiated reviews can lead to diminished psychological safety and fairness.
Help Center article 💡: Peer reviews: participant initiated vs peer initiated
Selecting peers for peer reviews
Select how many peers you want review cycle participants to have the option to nominate. We recommend that each employee nominate three to five peers. This maximum number only prohibits a participant from nominating more than "x" number of peers and does not stop a participant from accepting x, 15, 20, etc nominations. This setting does not apply when peer initiated peer reviews are selected for a cycle.
Approving peer nominations
Once participants nominate their peers, approval is required. Choose whether you want the nominations to be auto-approved to prevent roadblocks in the process.
Peer review transparency
Select how participants see their peer review answers and peer identities.
We recommend making peer reviews visible to participants. Consider training employees to give better feedback. Check out our "9 Ways To Give Effective Employee Feedback" Blog post for tips.
- Shared: Participants will see all peer answers verbatim.
- Hidden: Participants can see a summary of their peer reviews written by their manager.
Everyone, reviews are fully transparent to participants: Identities of peers will be shown regarding peer reviews—meaning participants can see who wrote what about them.
Everyone except for the participant: Peers' identities will be transparent to review administrators, the participant's manager, and the participant's hierarchy (if applicable).
No one, reviews are fully anonymous to everyone who can see the review: Peers' identities will be hidden from everyone. No exceptions, even review administrators and managers
Upward review transparency
- Shared: Managers will see all their upward review answers verbatim. Though all peer answers will be shown verbatim, you can manage the peer identity setting below.
- Hidden: Managers can see a summary of their upward reviews from their manager, but will not see upward answers verbatim. This is a bulk setting and will apply to all upward reviews in the cycle.
- Everyone, reviews are fully transparent to managers: Identities of direct reports will be shown regarding upward reviews—meaning managers can see who wrote what about them.
- Everyone except for manager: Direct reports' identities will be transparent to review administrators and the manager's hierarchy (if applicable).
- No one, reviews are fully anonymous to everyone who can see the review: Direct reports' identities will be hidden from everyone. No exceptions, even review administrators.
Release peer and upward feedback
We encourage managers to share all peer and upward feedback with their direct reports, but this might not always be appropriate. Control what feedback is released.
Options for releasing feedback:
- All answers will be shared and no answers can be removed
Allow review admins to hide answers from being shared or send answers back to a review writer for edits before results are shared
Allow review admins and managers to hide answers from being shared or send answers back to a review writer for edits before results are shared
If an answer is removed, it will only be removed from visibility for the participant. Review admins, managers, and hierarchies will still be able to see the answer.
Automatic manager updates in active cycle*
By default, if a review cycle participant's direct manager in 15Five is changed during an active review cycle, their manager in the review cycle is also updated to that new manager. If you'd prefer for manager changes not to impact review cycle managers, uncheck this box.
If you use SCIM or SSO to import managers to 15Five, we suggest unchecking this box to prevent a person's manager in a review cycle from being updated during an active review cycle, which can cause manager review drafts to be lost.
Select if you’d like employees to acknowledge and sign off their Best-Self Review® results were shared with them and discussed with a manager.
Help Center article 💡: Review Acknowledgement
Review kick-off email
Kick off your review cycle with an announcement to your participants; give them insight into the review process, timeline and point people to get in touch with if they have questions.
We recommend you introduce the review cycle to your team members. We’ll automatically include relevant information about the schedule and deadlines.
Disable Best-Self Review
Disabling the Best-Self Review feature will remove the tab from the main 15Five header for all users. All your review data will be saved in case you choose to re-enable this feature at a later date.
NEXT STEP: Now that you've set your default company review settings, it's time to create question templates for your review cycle!