15Five question templates for Best-Self Review®

Before starting a review cycle, you need to create or decide on a question template(s) to use. If you know what questions you want to ask for each review, feel free to create a template that is uniquely your company's! On the flip side, you might be new to reviews and aren't sure what to ask. Or maybe, you just want to use our science backed templates right off the bat (keep reading to learn more about the science behind each template). Not a problem. We have 15Five question templates built into our Reviews feature, ready for you to use. 

If you plan on including self+manager, peer, and upward reviews in your cycle, you will need three separate templates. 1️⃣ Self+manager reviews need their own template. Yes, self+manager templates are always the same template and cannot be split up. 2️⃣ Peer reviews need their own template. 3️⃣ Upward reviews need their own template. 

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Tip

If you like the default templates, but want to customize them slightly by adding some of your own questions, you can clone any default template and then edit it.


Pre-made self+manager template

The self+manager template contains the questions that will be asked on both the self and manager reviews. You will notice two versions of the same question in each section below. That is because the participant gets asked one question on their self review and the participant's manager gets asked a similar question on their manager review of the participant. 

Growth & development section

Examples of growth & development default questions:

  • What are your top three strengths and how did you apply them to your work since your last review? (Self review)
  • What are [Name]'s top three strengths and how did they apply them to their work since the last review? (Manager review)
  • What are up to three wins you want to celebrate since your last review? What led to those wins? (Self review)
  • What are up to three wins you want to celebrate with [Name] since their last review? What led to those wins? (Manager review)
  • Where would you like to improve? What are up to three opportunities for growth to focus on before your next review? What next steps do you want to take? (Self review)
  • Where would you like [Name] to improve? What are up to three opportunities for growth you want [Name] to focus on before the next review? What next steps do you want them to take? (Manager review)
  • What impact do you want to have on the company before your next review? What next steps do you want to take? (Self review)
  • What impact do you want [Name] to have on the company's next quarter? What next steps do they need to take? (Manager review)

Company values section (optional)

This section will be blank/non existent in the 15Five default self+manager template. If you have added company values for your company, you can clone the default template and add in company value questions. If you have not added company values, you can add them on your Best-Self Reviews settings page.

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Note

Standard answer format for company value and competency questions is opinion scale.

Examples of company values questions:

  • Rate your contribution to the company value : Cultivate Health & Vitality (Self review)
  • Rate [Name]’s contribution to the company value : Cultivate Health & Vitality (Manager review)
  • Rate your contribution to the company value : Always Be Learning & Growing (Self review)
  • Rate [Name]’s contribution to the company value : Always Be Learning & Growing (Manager review)

Competencies section (optional)

This section will be blank/non existent in the 15Five default self+manager template by default. If you have added competencies for your company via the 'Manage features' page, you can clone the default 15Five template and add in competency questions. If you have not added competencies, you can add them on your Best-Self Review® settings page. You can also create competencies while creating the question template, if you don't want to navigate back to your settings while creating the template. Competencies can be group specific or for all participants. There is an entire page dedicated to competency results, under Team's and Company's results, when the review cycle comes to an end. 

Examples of competency questions:

  • Problem-solving (opinion-scale question from rarely to always demonstrates)
    • Having an appetite and thirst for problem solving. Understanding, untangling and ultimately helping to solve complex problems. Becoming comfortable "quarterbacking" and driving understanding results towards a solution
  • Taking ownership (opinion-scale question from rarely to always demonstrates)
    • No excuses. Accountable and positive, even in difficult conditions. Taking ownership of problems and challenges within and outside the domain and don’t pass the blame to others
  • Decisiveness (opinion-scale question from rarely to always demonstrates)
    • Resolving issues within the team and making meaningful decisions quickly. Driving others to make decisions quickly too. Valuing “progress over perfection” and ensuring the team is unblocked, making constant progress

Private manager assessment section (manager review only)

Private manager assessment questions are also managed via the self+manager question template. The 'Private manager assessment' piece of Manager reviews is only visible to the manager who completed the review and the review admins. Additionally, the 'Private manager assessment' includes future focused questions inspired by research from Deloitte and highlighted in the April 2015 HBR article, Reinventing Performance Management, by Marcus Buckingham and Ashley Goodall. Questions 1 - 3 are taken directly from Deloitte, question 4 has been adjusted and Question 5 is 15Five's addition.

Examples of private manager assessment default questions:

  • [Name] is ready for a promotion today
  • [Name] is at risk for low performance
  • Plus 3 additional questions.

Pre-made peer template

The peer review template is where peers can submit feedback about cycle participants. Peers are either nominated by a participant (participant initiated) or nominate themselves to review a peer on their own (peer initiated)- depending on the cycle settings. The peer's job is to include information about the participant’s development, including constructive feedback to help them increase performance and goal orientation. To learn more about giving effective feedback, see this article

Growth & development section

Examples of growth & development default questions:

  • What are [Name]'s top strengths?
  • What is [Name] doing well that contributes to the progress of their work goals?
  • What can [Name] improve to make better progress on their work goals?

Company values section (optional)

This section will be blank/non existent in the 15Five default peer template. If you have added company values for your company, you can clone the default template and add in company value questions. If you have not added company values, you can add them on your Best-Self Reviews settings page.

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Note

Standard answer format for company value and competency questions is opinion scale.

Examples of company values questions:

  • Rate [Name]’s contribution to the company value : Cultivate Health & Vitality
  • Rate [Name]’s contribution to the company value : Always Be Learning & Growing

Competencies section (optional)

This section will be blank/non existent in the 15Five default self+manager template by default. If you have added competencies for your company via the 'Manage features' page, you can clone the default 15Five template and add in competency questions. If you have not added competencies, you can add them on your Best-Self Reviews settings page. You can also create competencies while creating the question template, if you don't want to navigate back to your settings while creating the template. Competencies can be group specific or for all participants. There is an entire page dedicated to competency results, under Team's and Company's results, when the review cycle comes to an end. 

Examples of competency questions:

  • Problem-solving (opinion-scale question from rarely to always demonstrates)
    • Having an appetite and thirst for problem solving. Understanding, untangling and ultimately helping to solve complex problems. Becoming comfortable "quarterbacking" and driving understanding results towards a solution
  • Taking ownership (opinion-scale question from rarely to always demonstrates)
    • No excuses. Accountable and positive, even in difficult conditions. Taking ownership of problems and challenges within and outside the domain and don’t pass the blame to others
  • Decisiveness (opinion-scale question from rarely to always demonstrates)
    • Resolving issues within the team and making meaningful decisions quickly. Driving others to make decisions quickly too. Valuing “progress over perfection” and ensuring the team is unblocked, making constant progress

Pre-made upward templates

Upward reviews are completed by direct reports/employees about their manager who is participating in a review cycle. We have two default upward review templates ready for you to use. One is titled '15Five template - Manager Effectiveness' and the other is titled '15Five template - upward questions'.

The 15Five template- Manager Effectiveness speaks to the adage, "What can be measured, can be improved" and focuses on helping you understand what a manager’s performance & effectiveness means and how to measure them. Ultimately, the goal is to help managers understand what it means to be effective in their roles by providing clarity and expectations of their behaviors. This template contains 28 questions for direct reports to complete about their manager. 

The 15Five template - upward questions is a shorter template with only 13 questions, but it still research backed and focuses more on growth and development, than manager expectations; although manager expectations section still exists in this template. 

Growth & development section

Thriving managers have thriving teams! Help managers become aware of their greatest strengths and include future focused questions that promote continual growth and development. Research shows strengths-based development conversations increase performance, engagement, and long-term well-being.

Examples of growth & development default questions:

  • What are [Name]'s top strengths?
  • What is one thing [Name] currently does as your manager that you'd like [Name] to continue to do?
  • What is one thing [Name] doesn't do frequently enough as your manager that you think [Name] should do more often?
  • What is one thing you'd like [Name] to start doing as a manager?
  • What is one thing [Name] can do to help you be more effective in your role?

Company values section (optional)

This section will be blank/non existent in the 15Five default upward template. If you have added company values for your company, you can clone the default template and add in company value questions. If you have not added company values, you can add them on your Best-Self Reviews configurations page. There is an entire page dedicated to competency results, under Team's and Company's results, when the review cycle comes to an end. 

How you achieved a goal is as important as what you achieved. This section focuses on how your people live the company values and help shape the company culture.

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Note

Standard answer format for company value questions is opinion scale.

Examples of company values default questions:

  • Rate [Name]’s contribution to the company value : Cultivate Health & Vitality
  • Rate [Name]’s contribution to the company value : Always Be Learning & Growing

Manager expectations section (optional)

These questions should be used to help managers grow and develop into their best selves, rather than for evaluative purposes. First clarify expectations that hold managers accountable in key areas that drive engagement and performance. Direct reports can then assess if their manager meets these expectations and continually strives to improve.

Examples of manager expectations default questions:

  • [Name] admits when they make mistakes and makes it safe to fail by framing mistakes as a learning opportunity.
  • [Name] is a positive energizer. They uplift and boost my mood and leave me feeling elevated, energized, and motivated.
  • [Name] regularly recognizes me for my contributions and celebrates wins, both big and small.
  • [Name] grants me autonomy and allows me to be self-directed.
  • [Name] regularly provides context and shares important information, such as updated company priorities, that may impact my work.

The Manager effectiveness: Upward review template includes additional manager expectation questions. Here are those additional questions:

  • [Name] regularly clarifies my role responsibilities, performance expectations, and standards of excellence.
  • [Name] cares about me both personally and professionally.
  • [Name] helps me see how my individual objectives align with the company objectives.
  • [Name] creates an inclusive and effective team environment for collaboration.
  • [Name] admits when they make mistakes and makes it safe to fail by framing mistakes as a learning opportunity.
  • [Name] is a positive energizer. They uplift and boost my mood and leave me feeling elevated, energized, and motivated.
  • [Name] regularly recognizes me for my contributions and celebrates wins, both big and small.
  • [Name] grants me autonomy and allows me to be self-directed.
  • [Name] regularly provides context and shares important information, such as updated company priorities, that may impact my work.
  • [Name] sets clear vision, strategy, and expectations for our team.
  • [Name] regularly helps me remove roadblocks that inhibit me from making progress on my work.
  • [Name] is someone I WANT to follow, not someone I HAVE to follow.
  • [Name] understands me and my work preferences (e.g., how I like to give and receive feedback, how I like to be recognized, the type of environment I need to be in to do my best work).
  • [Name] and I have regular and recurring one-on-one meetings at least monthly.
  • [Name] and I set performance, project, and/or task goals together and I am included in that goal setting process.
  • [Name] gives me actionable, ongoing and real-time feedback about my goal progress that helps me improve my performance.
  • [Name] helps me understand my top strengths and align my work with those strengths.
  • [Name] has had a meaningful discussion with me about my career development in the past three months and provides me with personalized opportunities for growth.
  • [Name] frequently asks for feedback from me about how they are doing in their role.
  • [Name] provides constructive feedback in a supportive and compassionate way that helps me grow.
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Note

Competencies/competency questions are currently not available for upward reviews.


Keys to Success

  • Assess your Best-Self Review frequency (twice/year, quarterly, monthly etc) - look into the data and how often you are including upward reviews. Are you already using upward reviews to measure manager effectiveness? Or are you shying away from various review types? Switch up the manager effectiveness template with the regular upward template to continuously manager growth, development, and effectiveness.
  • Keep your review templates for self+manager and peer lightweight if your frequency is more than twice a year. 
  • Recognize and use the tool tips throughout the templates and reviews to understand the goal behind a section or question.
  • If a question template is close to what you would to ask, but you would like to make some minor additions/changes, just clone the default template and make your changes. Now you have a combination of 15Five's default templates and your unique company questions.
  • If you are including upward reviews in a cycle: Communicate the upward review questions to managers in advance (ideally at least one quarter in advance); so that managers have a fair understanding of what's expected of them.
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Tip

Leverage the same questions in each review cycle (or in every other review cycle) to lead to continuity of reporting.

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