Best practices for Best-Self Review® timelines

When you're ready to create a review cycle, you need to have deadlines in mind. This article walks you through what each review cycle milestone means and best practices for setting deadlines. Though this is an all-inclusive list of possible cycle deadlines, you may not see or need all of them— it depends on which reviews are included in the cycle and whether you are including calibrations.

Access and availability

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

Set milestones in a review cycle

As you create a review cycle, you'll be asked to set milestone dates (i.e. deadlines) for each step. The dates you select in this steps determine when 15Five will send out automated emails to keep participants and review writers on track. 



Review milestones are "soft," meaning reviews can still be submitted and shared after the milestone passes. Individuals who miss a deadline can still submit reviews up until the review cycle is locked.

The following milestones may be included in a review cycle:

Start date
  • What it is: The day your review cycle will launch.
  • Best practice: 15Five suggests starting your cycle on a Tuesday or Wednesday — when things aren't as hectic as Monday, but participants still have most of the week to begin nominating peers or drafting their self reviews.
End date
  • What it is: The day your review cycle will end.
  • Best practice: 15Five typically sees cycles that last 3-6 weeks, depending on whether peer and/or upward reviews are included.
Peers are nominated by
  • What it is: The deadline by which employees or their managers should select peers.
  • Best practice: 15Five suggests review admins give employees 5-7 days to nominate peers. Nominating a peer after this deadline could slow down the review process and could result in the nomination not being accepted and the peer review not submitted before the results are released. Keep this soft deadline in mind when you are setting your deadlines; notice any holidays that may interfere, if multiple participants or managers are going to be OOO during that time, or any other factors that could lead to this deadline being missed.
Peers are approved by
  • What it is: The deadline by which managers must approve or deny peer nominations for their direct reports.
  • Best practice: 15Five suggests review admins give managers 3-5 days to approve or deny peers. If managers do not have time to approve or deny the peer nominations by this deadline, they could automatically be approved. Auto approval settings are managed by review administrators via 'Manage features'.
Self reviews due by
  • What it is: The date that review cycle participants should submit their self reviews by.
  • Best practice: 15Five suggests review admins give participants 5-7 days to complete their self review. Once a participant has submitted their self review, it will become visible to their manager. Drafts will not be visible to the managers.
Peer reviews due by
  • What it is: The date that peers should submit their peers reviews by.
  • Best practice: 15Five suggests giving peer reviewers approximately 5-7 days after the "Manager approve peers by" deadline to complete their peer review(s).
Peer initiated feedback due by
  • What it is: If peer initiated feedback is included in the cycle, this is the date that all peers should have their peer initiated reviews completed.
  • Best practice: No best practice needed! Peer initiated reviews do not require a nomination and approval process. Peers can initiate writing a review of someone else, complete the review, and submit without needing anyone's assistance. 
Upward reviews due by
  • What it is: The date that direct reports should submit upward reviews of their managers by.
  • Best practice: Upward reviews can be due around the same time as self reviews.  
Manager reviews due by
  • What it is: The date that managers should submit their manager reviews by.
  • Best practice: 15Five suggests giving managers an additional 5-7 days AFTER the self review deadline to complete the manager reviews. The point here is to give managers time to focus on managing their team's self reviews before the manager reviews are due.
Calibrations due by
  • What it is: The date that all calibration sessions need to be completed and locked by. This deadline is very important because the date that follows is the 'Start sharing on' deadline—which is the green light for managers to start sharing the results of the reviews. If calibrations are not complete, reviews will be shared with the uncalibrated answers included.
  • Best practice: 15Five recommends the 'Calibrations due by' date be approximately two weeks after the 'Manager reviews due by' date. This gives two weeks for calibration sessions to be held and locked. In order to save time on calibrations, we recommend you create the calibration sessions as soon as the cycle becomes active. Preparing the sessions ahead of time will give you the full two weeks to hold the sessions. If you ever need more time to calibrate reviews, move this date AND the 'Start sharing on', 'Finalize by', and 'Cycle end' dates.
    If you want time to debrief after sessions before allowing managers to share results, set the 'Start sharing on' date approximately five days after the 'Calibrations due by' date.
Start sharing on
  • What it is: The date that managers can start sharing submitted reviews and the summary on. The summary is still editable after this date. Sharing reviews gives the participant visibility into all submitted reviews and the draft summary answers left by the manager. Sharing typically happens shortly before or during the final meeting between manager and participant. 
  • Best practice: 15Five suggests the 'Start sharing reviews on' date be 1-2 weeks before the cycle end date. This gives review admins time to nudge managers who still need to share reviews before the cycle ends.

This review phase includes the Summary (written by the manager), the final meeting, the 'Share results' step—finalizing reviews happens after the final meeting. The Summary should compile information from all reviews that were written about a specific employee; this compilation is written by each manager. The 'Share results' step is typically taken after the summary has been drafted by the manager and is always taken after calibrations have been completed. If managers do not 'Share results,' the employee will not be able to see the reviews that were written of them. Once the meeting has been held and all feedback is final, the manager will 'Finalize results' (next deadline).

Finalize by
  • What it is: The deadline for any remaining review submissions, all final changes to summaries complete, final meetings to be held, and any changes to be made before essentially locking the reviews for the participant.
  • Best practice: Since this is the last deadline for the cycle before the end date, give people a buffer of a few days to a week before the cycle end date. After finalizing, no edits on any reviews can be made and further review submissions are not allowed. It is extremely important that managers be aware of what finalizing means because finalized reviews are locked. 

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