Create a Best-Self Review® cycle

This article walks through the steps of creating a Best-Self Review® cycle. You can leave the set up process at any step— your draft is saved after you give it aname, and you can access it at any time on the Best-Self Review® dashboard.

You can include self, manager, peer, and/or upward reviews in a review cycle, and it's possible to create review cycles that include any combination of these review types.

In this article, you will learn...



Before you begin the process of creating a review cycle, make sure that you've completed the tasks laid out in the 'Before the cycle begins: set the stage' section of our "What to expect: I'm a review admin" Help Center article.


Create a review cycle

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

2. You will land on the 'Review cycles' page. In the top right corner of the page, click the Create a new review cycle button.

3. On the "Review name" page, enter the name you'd like to use for the new cycle. Be specific when choosing a name so that you can easily find it later (e.g. "Q1 2022 Company-wide Review").

4. On the "Review type" page, select the types of reviews you'd like to include in your review cycle.

Possible review types are:

We support all combinations of these four review types except: Peer + Upward, Upward only. If you're planning to hold a peer-only review cycle, check out our "Hold a peer-only review cycle" Help Center article for more information.

If you include peer reviews in your review cycle, you will be asked to choose between participant initiated (default) and peer initiated.

If you hold a manager-only review cycle, you have the option to hide the review cycle from participants. Selecting this option means that the people who are being reviewed by their managers will not see the review cycle in 15Five, will not be able to access any data related to the review cycle, and will not receive notifications.

If you check the box next to "Hide this review cycle from participants," peer reviews will be manager initiated, meaning that managers will be responsible for nominating peers to write peer reviews about their direct reports.

5. On the "Cycle collaborator" page, select people to serve as cycle collaborators in your review cycle. Cycle collaborators have the same permissions as review admins (with the exception of creating review cycles, managing question templates, and deleting review cycles), but only for a specific review cycle.

6. Next, enter in your review cycle milestones (i.e. due dates) on the "Review milestones" page. If these change during the course of your review cycle it's okay— review milestones can be changed during an active review cycle.


Assuming that manager reviews are included in your review cycle, this page is also where you can add calibration sessions to your review cycle. Holding calibration sessions allows you to see the distribution of Private Manager Assessment review ratings across team managers and adjust those ratings in real-time. To include calibration sessions in your review cycle, check the box next to "Include calibration sessions in this review cycle", then select a due date. The 'Calibration due by' milestone should fall after the 'Manager reviews due by' date and before the 'Start sharing on' date.


'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 our "Edit review settings for an active cycle" Help Center article. See our "Change manager review author for a review cycle participant" Help Center article for information on changing a participant's manager during a review cycle.



Though you are required to set a review cycle end date, the cycle will stay open for review submissions until a review admin or cycle collaborator 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 on the "Review participants" page. 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 'All active, invited, and created users': This option allows you to include all individuals in your organization— whether they are active in 15Five yet or not. This option is especially helpful if you are in the process of rolling out 15Five and want to begin with a review cycle. Read more about active, invited, and created statues in our "'Manage people' page: Active, Inactive, and Deactivated" Help Center article.

Using the option 'All active users': This option means that all individuals whose accounts are active at the time of review cycle creation will be included in the review cycle.

Using the option 'Everyone, except some people or groups': Selecting this option means that all active, created, and invited individuals will be included as participants in the review cycle, except selected individuals or group members.


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, respectively). If needed, these excluded people can be added as cycle participants at a later time by following the steps in our "Add or remove a review cycle participant" Help Center article. If you don't want a person to be included as a participant in the review cycle, and you don't want them to be responsible for writing any reviews, you should globally exclude them in Best-Self Review® feature settings.

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. Decide whether or not you want to include Objectives in the review cycle. In addition to checking the box next to "Include Objectives in this review" in this section, to include Objectives in the review cycle the following must be true: 1) the Objectives feature within 15Five is being used by participants, and 2) Objectives questions must be included in the self/manager question template you're using for the review cycle.


If you choose to include objectives in your review cycle, all open and closed objectives will be included by default, and self-development objectives will not be included. These settings cannot be changed.

In the next step of the review cycle creation process, you will be asked to select a timeframe for which objectives will be included.

10. 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.



15Five's default templates are science-backed and cover all aspects of best-self management. Check out the 15Five default templates in-app to see what questions are asked.



If you select Jan 1-Jun 30 as the "timeframe of Objectives to be included," all applicable Objectives and Key Results that have start and end dates within January 1st-June 30th will be included in the review cycle. The only people who will see objectives questions are those who own at least one objective or key result that falls within this set timeframe.

11. 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. 

12. 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.


13. 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

    Our "Clone review cycle" option allows you to easily duplicate the settings of an existing review cycle. Simply follow the steps below to get started.

    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, then select Clone review cycle from the dropdown menu.
    4. From here, the setup process will be the same as the steps above.