Create a Best-Self Review® cycle

Good work! You have added company values and competencies, double-checked all Best-Self Review® settings, created a custom question template (or are using the default 15Five template), and are ready to get a Best-Self Review® cycle running for your people! This article will walk you through the steps of setting up a review cycle. You can leave the set up process at any step—your draft is saved after you give it a name, and it will appear in the Review cycles list.

Create a review cycle

1. Click on Best-Self Review® in the left navigation of 15Five.


2. You will land on the 'Review cycles' tab.

3. In the top right corner of the page, click the Create a new review cycle button.


4. Enter the name you'd like to use for the new cycle and then click Continue or scroll down. You will want to be specific in this title so that you can easily find it later. For example: "Q4 2020 Company-wide Cycle".


5. Select which review cycle type you'd like to run. By default, Self & Manager Review will be selected.

  • If you want to run a 360 Best-Self Review, click the Peer Review and/or Upward Review options and customize accordingly.
  • On top of self & manager reviews, you have the option to include peer (participant initiated or peer initiated) and/or upward reviews (managers who are participants in the cycle will have upward reviews written of them by their direct reports).
  • The last option is a Peer Only Review cycle where only peer reviews will be written of participants.


6. Next, enter in your dates for the review—we call them 'Review milestones'. If these dates need to be updated after the cycle has been created or begun, see this article.

This is also where you can add calibrations to your review cycle, assuming that manager reviews are included. Managers reviews must be included because you calibrate Private Manager Assessment answers, which are only included in manager reviews. If you choose to enable calibrations for the cycle, you will need to set a 'Calibrations due by' milestone which falls after the manager review due by date and before the start sharing on date. Think of the time between manager reviews being due and when reviews start to be shared as the calibrations window. 


'Share and finalize reviews' milestones allow for a specific sharing window to exist in within the review cycle. Essentially, managers cannot share reviews until a certain date, eliminating the issue around sharing reviews too soon and allowing for calibration sessions to be held and locked before results are shared. Last but not least, managers have a finalize by date to ensure they are finalizing the review results on time. 

These dates are all required. That being said, if you do not want to restrict when managers can share and/or finalize, you can set these two dates to match your cycle start and end dates. 




Edits to the cycle, dates, participants, settings, etc can be made up until the cycle becomes active. If changes to an active cycle need to be made, see this article. See this article for information on changing a reviewer during a review cycle.



Though you set a review cycle end date, the cycle will stay open for submissions until a review admin manually locks the cycle.

7. Choose whether this is a one-time review or if you want to repeat the review quarterly or semi-annually. If needed, this setting can be updated at a later time.

When setting up a review to Repeat quarterly or Repeat bi-annually, the review will launch on the same day as you created it 3 or 6 months in the future (for example, today's date + 3 months for quarterly, or today's date + 6 months for semi-annually). Review admins will need to approve the cycle in order for it to begin again. An email will be sent to review admins 7 days prior to the upcoming start date and ask them to confirm the cycle.

8. Decide who will participate in the review cycle. Only review cycle participants will have reviews written about them. People who are not participants will not have reviews written about them, but may still be asked to write manager, upward, and/or peer reviews about someone who is a participant.


Using the option 'Everyone, except some people or groups'- You can exclude certain people or groups, or can choose to only include certain people or groups. This is a cycle-specific exclusion. People excluded here will not be excluded in the next cycle unless specified again.


Cycle specific excluded groups or individuals will not be asked to complete a self review, but can be nominated as a peer or asked to write upward or manager reviews (if their manager or direct reports are participants in the review cycle). If needed, these excluded people can be added as cycle participants at a later time by following these steps.

Using the option 'Only specific people or groups'- You can choose to only include certain people or groups if listing inclusions is easier than listing exclusions. This is helpful when only a small group of people are participants in the cycle, like a cycle for 'Sales' only.


9. Select which question templates you would like to be used for each type of review. The template options will include all of 15Five's default templates as well as any custom templates you have created. To preview the template, click View.Screen_Shot_2021-05-26_at_11.58.03_AM.png



15Five's default templates are science-backed and cover all aspects of "best-self" management. To view the 15Five default templates, click here. To read more about the 15Five default templates, see this article.

10. Keep scrolling to see a review cycle summary section that contains all chosen review cycle settings, participants, milestones, etc. This is mainly an FYI section. However, you can use the Edit links to the right of any setting to update it before creating the cycle. 

11. At the bottom of the summary page, you will see a field named 'Kickoff email.' Make sure the box next to this option is checked if want a review kickoff email to go out to review cycle participants. 


Click the Edit button to alter the subject line and body of the email. The kick-off email will be sent at 8:23 am in the company's timezone on the day the cycle begins. The email will not be sent when the cycle is created unless the start date is today and 8:23 am in the company's timezone has already passed.


12. After you've confirmed that everything is correct, click the orange Create review cycle button. You must click the button in order for the review cycle to be scheduled/started.




We’ve designed Best-Self Review to be lightweight, easy to schedule and easy to complete. Our recommendation is that you run your review cycle for a period of no longer than 4 weeks, but we believe in allowing you the flexibility of specifying your own milestone due dates.



Do your people need help figuring out how to fill out their reviews? Check out our Best-Self Review® help docs for participants!

    Clone a review cycle

    If you want to update a cycle or restart it entirely, we offer a way to clone an inactive cycle or update the cadence of an already active cycle.

    1. Click on Best-Self Review® in the left navigation of 15Five.


    2. Find the review cycle you want to clone under 'Active review cycles', 'Upcoming review cycles', or 'Ended review cycles'.

    3. Click on the ... to the right of the cycle and click Clone review cycle.
    Screen_Shot_2021-04-26_at_10.47.49_PM.png4. From here, the setup process will be the same as the steps above. 

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