Use 15Five's default question templates

Before creating a review cycle, you need to decide how you want to add questions to the review cycle. Many companies choose to use our pre-built default question templates, which are science-backed and ensure you're asking powerful questions that foster growth and conversation. If you're unsure of what questions to ask in a review cycle, we suggest using this option.

In this article, you will learn...

You'll also learn about 15Five's 5 default question templates:

Access and availability

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

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Tip

If you like a default template but want to customize it slightly by adding, editing, or removing some questions, you can clone the default template and then edit it to fit your needs.


Apply a default question template to your review cycle

You can apply any of the default question templates to a review type (self/manager, peer, or upward) in a review cycle by following the steps below.

Decide which template you want to use

  1. Click on Best-Self Review® in 15Five's main, left-hand navigation.
    BSR.png
  2. Click into the 'Template configuration' tab in the top navigation.
    Template-Config-New.png
  3. Scroll to the 'Active question templates' section of the page. Here you'll see all of 15Five's default question templates (they all list "15Five" as the 'Created by' user).
    Default-Question-Templates.png
  4. To read through the questions included in a template, click on the template's name. You can also preview what questions will look like for different employees in your company.
  5. If you like a default template but want to make changes, you can clone and edit it.

Select a default question template during cycle creation

  1. Click on Best-Self Review® in 15Five's main, left-hand navigation, then click the Create a new review cycle button in the top, right-hand corner of the page.
    CreateReviewCycle_copy.png
  2. Fill out details for your review cycle. When you reach the 'Question template' section, select the name of the default template you want to use. It's as simple as that!
    Apply-Default-Templates.png

Self & manager questions template

15Five's default self & manager template contains the questions that will be asked in both self and manager reviews. You will notice two versions of the same question in each section of the question template— reason being, 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.

The sections included in the default self & manager questions template are listed below, along with example questions included in each section. To see all questions included in the template, click on "15Five template - self & manager questions" in the 'Active question templates' section of the "Template configuration" page (in-app link).

Growth & development section

In this section, we ask strengths-based development questions to increase motivation and performance.

Examples of growth & development default questions:

  • Self review: What are up to three wins you want to celebrate since your last review? What led to those wins?
  • Manager review: What are up to three wins you want to celebrate with [Name] since their last review? What led to those wins?
  • Self 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?
  • Manager 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?
  • 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: What impact do you want [Name] to have on the company's next quarter? What next steps do they need to take?
Company values section

Here, review writers are asked to reflect how the participant is living out company values that have been added for your company. If your company hasn't added any values, these questions will not appear in your review cycle.

The answer format for company value questions is five-point opinion scale: "Lives counter to the value" > "Rarely lives out the value" > "Sometimes lives out the value" > "Often lives out the value" > "Always lives out the value".

Examples of company values questions:

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

In this section, review authors are asked to rate a participant on how well they demonstrate specific company-wide, group, and role competencies. If your company hasn't added competencies, these questions will not appear in your review cycle.

The answer format for competency questions is four-point opinion scale: "Never demonstrates" > "Rarely demonstrates" > "Often demonstrates" > "Always demonstrates". 

Examples of competency questions:

  • Problem-solving (opinion-scale question from never 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 never 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 never 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
Manager effectiveness section

The "Manager effectiveness" section of the self/manager question template allows managers to reflect on how their direct reports (in manager reviews) and/or themselves (in self reviews) live out 15Five's Manager Effectiveness competencies using a five-point Likert scale ("Never demonstrates" > "Rarely demonstrates" > "Sometimes demonstrates" > "Often demonstrates" > "Always demonstrates"). Manager effectiveness reviews are one factor that can be included in the "Manager Effectiveness Assessment" section of your organization's Manager Effectiveness Indicator.

15Five's Manager Effectiveness competencies are:

  1. Demonstrating Business Acumen: Analyze complex situations, anticipate future trends and possibilities, and develop plans that take into account various factors and contingencies across a business environment.
  2. Setting Goals: Prioritize work and define measurable objectives that an individual or organization wants to achieve. Identify the desired outcome or results and develop a plan to reach that goal.
  3. Enabling Productivity: Create an environment or provide resources and tools that allow individuals to work efficiently and effectively toward achieving their goals. Identify the factors that may hinder productivity and find ways to eliminate or mitigate them.
  4. Giving and Receiving Feedback: Provide or get information about performance, behavior, or actions with the intention of improvement or the continuation of doing something well.
  5. Influencing Others: Affect people's beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors. Have an awareness of people, their values and needs and use this knowledge as a means to drive organizational impact.
  6. Supporting Career Growth: Help individuals to develop the knowledge, skills, and experience they need to achieve their career goals. Mentor, train, coach, and provide opportunities for learning and growth.
  7. Building Strong Teams: Foster their team to work well together, be committed to a common purpose, and achieve their goals efficiently and effectively together.
  8. Developing Yourself: Stay organized, focused, and productive while also managing their teams effectively.
Objectives section

This section of the question template allows managers and participants to reflect on the performance of objectives a participant was responsible for completing over a select time period (which you will set during the process of creating the review cycle).

The answer format for objectives questions is a five-point opinion scale: "Significantly below expectations" > "Below expectations" > "Met expectations" > "Above expectations" > "Significantly above expectations".

The following questions are included in this section:

  • In your opinion, how was your completion of all objectives and key results you owned? Please explain any contextual factors (e.g., stretch vs non-stretch, changing priorities) in the comment field.
  • In your opinion, how was [Name]'s completion of all objectives and key results they owned? Please explain any contextual factors (e.g., stretch vs non-stretch, changing priorities) in the comment field.
Private manager assessment section (manager review only)

The Private Manager Assessment is a set of questions that appears in the manager reviews of Best-Self Review® cycles. In this section of the manager review, managers answer future-focused questions to help make career decisions about a direct report.

By default, the Private Manager Assessment contains 5 future-focused questions inspired by research from Deloitte and highlighted in the Harvard Business Review article, Reinventing Performance Management. These questions help reduce bias and can help managers more objectively assess performance and promotion readiness over time.

The questions included in 15Five's default Private Manager Assessment are:

  • [Name] is ready for a promotion today. [Strongly disagree - Strongly agree]
  • [Name] is at risk for low performance. [Strongly disagree - Strongly agree]
  • Given what I know of [Name]’s current performance, and if it were my money, I would award them the highest possible increase and bonus. [Strongly disagree - Strongly agree]
  • Given how well I know [Name] works with others, I would always want them on my team. [Strongly disagree - Strongly agree]
  • Given what I know of [Name]’s performance, if [Name] got a job offer somewhere else, I would feel [Relieved > Accepting > Neutral > Anxious > Distressed]

The following questions are also asked in this section of the default self & manager question template:

  • Indicate [Name]‘s overall impact based on their demonstration of company values. [Progress required > On track > Exceeding]
  • Select the response that most closely matches [Name]‘s potential. [Questionable fit > Needs coaching > High potential]
  • The overall performance designation for [Name] is: [Below expectations > At expectations > Above expectations > Outstanding > Exceptional

Peer questions 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.

Blog post🕺: 9 Ways To Give Effective Employee Feedback

The sections included in the default peer questions template are listed below, along with example questions included in each section. To see all questions included in the template, click on "15Five template - peer questions" in the 'Active question templates' section of the "Template configuration" page (in-app link).

Growth & development section

In this section, we ask strengths-based development questions to increase motivation and performance.

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?"
  • What can [Name] improve to make better progress on their work goals?
Company values section

Here, review writers are asked to reflect on how the participant is living out company values that have been added for your company. If your company hasn't added any values, these questions will not appear in your review cycle.

The answer format for company value questions is a five-point opinion scale: "Lives counter to the value" > "Rarely lives out the value" > "Sometimes lives out the value" > "Often lives out the value" > "Always lives out the value".

Examples of company value 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

In this section, review authors are asked to rate a participant on how well they demonstrate specific company-wide, group, and role competencies. If your company hasn't added competencies, these questions will not appear in your review cycle.

The answer format for competency questions is a four-point opinion scale: "Never demonstrates" > "Rarely demonstrates" > "Often demonstrates" > "Always demonstrates". 

Examples of competency questions:

  • Problem-solving (opinion-scale question from never 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 never 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 never 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

Ad Hoc Peer Review template

The default Ad Hoc Peer Review template is intended for use in situations where you want to launch a one-off, peer-only review cycle that enables relevant project-based feedback in a timely and lightweight fashion. Ad hoc peer review cycles are intended to help managers understand how their direct reports are doing on cross-departmental or team projects, so they can facilitate effective growth conversations.

The sections included in the default Ad Hoc Peer Review template are listed below, along with example questions included in each section. To see all questions included in the template, click on "15Five template - Ad Hoc Peer Review" in the 'Active question templates' section of the "Template configuration" page (in-app link).

Growth & development section

In this section, we ask strengths-based development questions to increase motivation and performance.

Examples of growth & development default questions:

  • What is [Name] doing well that contributes to the progress of this project?
  • What can [Name] improve to make better progress on this project?
Competencies section

In this section, review authors are asked to rate a participant on how well they demonstrate specific company-wide, group, and role competencies. If your company hasn't added competencies, these questions will not appear in your review cycle.

The answer format for competency questions is a four-point opinion scale: "Never demonstrates" > "Rarely demonstrates" > "Often demonstrates" > "Always demonstrates". 

Examples of competency questions:

  • Problem-solving (opinion-scale question from never 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 never 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 never 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

Upward questions template

Upward reviews are completed by direct reports about their manager. We have two default upward review templates ready for you to use: "Upward questions" and "Manager Effectiveness." The upward questions template is the more lightweight option, with only 10 questions.

The sections included in the default upward questions template are listed below, along with example questions included in each section. To see all questions included in the template, click on "15Five template - upward questions" in the 'Active question templates' section of the "Template configuration" page (in-app link).

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 that 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] can do to help you be more effective in your role?
Manager effectiveness section

The "Manager effectiveness" section of the upward review question template allows direct reports to reflect on how their direct manager lives out 15Five's Manager Effectiveness competencies using a 5-point Likert scale ("Never demonstrates" > "Rarely demonstrates" > "Sometimes demonstrates" > "Often demonstrates" > "Always demonstrates"). Manager effectiveness reviews are one factor that can be included in the "Manager Effectiveness Assessment" section of your organization's Manager Effectiveness Indicator.

15Five's Manager Effectiveness competencies are:

  1. Demonstrating Business Acumen: Analyze complex situations, anticipate future trends and possibilities, and develop plans that take into account various factors and contingencies across a business environment.
  2. Setting Goals: Prioritize work and define measurable objectives that an individual or organization wants to achieve. Identify the desired outcome or results and develop a plan to reach that goal.
  3. Enabling Productivity: Create an environment or provide resources and tools that allow individuals to work efficiently and effectively toward achieving their goals. Identify the factors that may hinder productivity and find ways to eliminate or mitigate them.
  4. Giving and Receiving Feedback: Provide or get information about performance, behavior, or actions with the intention of improvement or the continuation of doing something well.
  5. Influencing Others: Affect people's beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors. Have an awareness of people, their values and needs and use this knowledge as a means to drive organizational impact.
  6. Supporting Career Growth: Help individuals to develop the knowledge, skills, and experience they need to achieve their career goals. Mentor, train, coach, and provide opportunities for learning and growth.
  7. Building Strong Teams: Foster their team to work well together, be committed to a common purpose, and achieve their goals efficiently and effectively together.
  8. Developing Yourself: Stay organized, focused, and productive while also managing their teams effectively.

Manager Effectiveness template

Upward reviews are completed by direct reports about their manager. We have two default upward review templates ready for you to use: "Upward questions" and "Manager Effectiveness."

The Manager Effectiveness template speaks to the adage, "What can be measured, can be improved," and the questions included in this template reflect that. 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 13 questions for direct reports to complete about their manager.

The sections included in the default Manager Effectiveness template are listed below, along with example questions included in each section. To see all questions included in the template, click on "15Five template - Manager Effectiveness" in the 'Active question templates' section of the "Template configuration" page (in-app link).

Growth & development section

Thriving managers have thriving teams! Help managers become aware of their greatest strengths and include future-focused questions that promote continued growth and development. Research shows that 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] can do to help you be more effective in your role?
Manager effectiveness section

The "Manager effectiveness" section of this question template allows direct reports to reflect on how their direct manager lives out 15Five's Manager Effectiveness competencies using a five-point Likert scale ("Never demonstrates" > "Rarely demonstrates" > "Sometimes demonstrates" > "Often demonstrates" > "Always demonstrates"). Manager effectiveness reviews are one factor that can be included in the "Manager Effectiveness Assessment" section of your organization's Manager Effectiveness Indicator.

15Five's Manager Effectiveness competencies are:

  1. Demonstrating Business Acumen: Analyze complex situations, anticipate future trends and possibilities, and develop plans that take into account various factors and contingencies across a business environment.
  2. Setting Goals: Prioritize work and define measurable objectives that an individual or organization wants to achieve. Identify the desired outcome or results and develop a plan to reach that goal.
  3. Enabling Productivity: Create an environment or provide resources and tools that allow individuals to work efficiently and effectively toward achieving their goals. Identify the factors that may hinder productivity and find ways to eliminate or mitigate them.
  4. Giving and Receiving Feedback: Provide or get information about performance, behavior, or actions with the intention of improvement or the continuation of doing something well.
  5. Influencing Others: Affect people's beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors. Have an awareness of people, their values and needs and use this knowledge as a means to drive organizational impact.
  6. Supporting Career Growth: Help individuals to develop the knowledge, skills, and experience they need to achieve their career goals. Mentor, train, coach, and provide opportunities for learning and growth.
  7. Building Strong Teams: Foster their team to work well together, be committed to a common purpose, and achieve their goals efficiently and effectively together.
  8. Developing Yourself: Stay organized, focused, and productive while also managing their teams effectively.

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