Getting started guide for employees

Congratulations! Your team has chosen to bring 15Five to your organization. You'll quickly see the value and benefits of how 15Five can unlock your potential as an employee. This guide is your one-stop shop to help get you started with 15Five, providing you with descriptions of our features and additional resources. So sit back, relax, and learn how you can get the most out of 15Five!

The guide is suited for everyone. Once you read this guide and understand 15Five from an employee's perspective, check out the manager and account administrator guides, if that applies to you.

Video 🎥: 15Five Functionality and Best Practices for reporters 


What is 15Five? Why does this matter to me?

At this point, you may have already received your 15Five welcome email and logged in—that's great! Before you get too far, let's get to know the basics of 15Five and why it's an exciting time for you as an employee. 

  • 15Five's features will give you space to have a voice. Your manager, senior leadership, and even executives now have deeper insight into, for example, your priorities, objectives, recognition, which can all lead to more effective 1-on-1 conversations with your manager.
  • Our mission at 15Five is to create highly-engaged, high-performing organizations by helping people become their best selves. 15Five is on a mission to help you become your best-self by focusing on your strengths (and putting them where others can see them), drawing attention to your wins (no matter how small), and making sure that there is a record of your amazing work over time. Read this article to learn how you can develop into your best-self using 15Five as a way to track your performance!
  • Have you ever had a wonderful collaboration with a colleague and wanted to shout from the rooftops how hard they worked, or how they brought their strengths and knowledge to a project? Using High Fives to give recognition is an example of how you can enhance the existing culture in your organization—like a real life high five, but more amplified. 

Permissions

As you may already know, the heart of 15Five is what we call the Check-in. More on the Check-in feature in a minute. For now, it is important to know that your manager is responsible for reviewing your Check-in, so by default they’ll have visibility. In addition, there are other opportunities for people within your organization to see your Check-in. A few examples of how people can see your Check-in are: if someone is above you in the organization's hierarchy, if you’re in the same group and a setting called group viewing is enabled, if they follow your Check-in, or if the other person is a global viewer. Don’t worry—you won’t need to keep a list of each person who can see your Check-in. Your Check-in will list out anyone who has visibility in the side panel.


My account

  • The 'My settings' page contains your personal settings for 15Five, some of which you can manage and some of which are for your manager or an account administrator to manage. Some settings that are managed here: your email, your manager, your location if it’s different than the company, your group membership, and your Check-in due day.
  • The 'My notifications' tab can be used to customize what emails or Slack notifications you'll receive from 15Five. Boxes can be checked or unchecked to denote what notifications you want to receive, if any.
  • Last but not least, the 'Vacations' tab can be used to log your time out of the office—so you don't receive reminder emails and your Check-ins will not be due during that time. 

Home and my profile

  • If you click on Home (the first option in your left hand menu), you'll be taken to your 'Profile' page. Your profile includes various tabs that contain information about you and your interactions with 15Five. Each tab has different visibility permissions.
  • The 'Highlights' tab is essentially an overview of your recent and upcoming activities in 15Five, such as to-dos and objective progress.
  • The 'About' tab consists of all questions/details that your account administrators, reviewers, and teammates would like to know about you.
  • The 'Career vision' tab outlines your current career information and your career trajectory. It helps your manager develop a career path for you, knowing what your dream job title is. This tab can drive discussion when it comes time for quarterly or annual reviews.
  • The 'Activity' tab shows all of your latest Check-in submission, 1-on-1, and Objectives data.
  • The 'Wins & challenges' tab is a space to collect and track the things that went great and the things that didn't go so well over time. You can add 15Five items to your wins & challenges after you have submitted your Check-in. Your reviewer can also add items to your wins & challenges, but they cannot see the items you added and you cannot see items that they have added.
  • Your profile should not be confused with your account settings (mentioned in the section above). 

15Five's features

Above we talked about how 15Five can help you be your best-self and on the flip side, ways you can contribute to your organization. Let's take this conversation a step further and dive into the features that will help you achieve this.

Check-in

  • "It’s time to fill out your Check-in." If you haven’t changed your notification settings, then this may sound familiar and you should have received an email prompting you to complete your Check-in. Your Check-ins may be due weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly—depending on company settings.
  • If you love extra details and want a video walkthrough, watch our functionality and best practices video! If you want to learn more about the science and philosophy behind 15Five, read about the magic of 15Five! And if you love actionable lists, read these 15 tips for writing your Check-in!

Pulse

  • Since one main purpose of the Check-in is to reflect on the last week or weeks, we start with the Pulse check. The Pulse check will get you in reflection mode by starting off your Check-in with the question, “How did you feel at work this week?” Take a moment to ask yourself—are you feeling 1=closer to awful, or 5=closer to amazing? If you have additional comments to share about what lead you to feel that way, there's an optional comment box.

Priorities and Objectives

  • Features like Priorities and Objectives can help you stay organized as you work hard to crush your goals—no matter how big or small they are! Learn more about the science and methodology behind setting goals using 15Five.
  • Priorities in your Check-in are short-term goals and tasks that ask the question “What do you intend to accomplish between now and your next Check-in?” Creating a prioritized list of goals allows your manager to know what you’re planning on working on throughout the Check-in period. If you want to see step-by-step walkthroughs on how to set priorities, mark priorities as complete, edit priorities, and more, view this article on setting priorities and tracking accomplishments. If Priorities had a motto it would be, "Do less, then obsess."
  • While Priorities are short-term goals on your Check-in, typically managed on a weekly or bi-weekly cadence, Objectives use the OKR Methodology to create the long-term goals you want to accomplish—we advise creating them quarterly. Objectives are what the organization, a group, or an individual wants to accomplish, and are typically quantitative or subjective, ambitious, and time-bound. Key results are concrete, specific, and measurable, and should describe how you will accomplish the objective and what you're measuring along the way.
  • What’s even better than understanding the science and methodology behind Priorities and Objectives? Understanding how these two features can come together to help you achieve your biggest goals. You can associate the two by linking a priority to an objective you own.

Questions

  • As you complete your Check-in you’ll be asked to answer a set of questions that were created for you by your account administrators or your manager. Questions give you a space to share details about your week(s) with your reviewer. Questions are just one of many ways you can communicate with your manager. Whether you have something to share about what’s going well or what challenges you’re facing, you can convey all of that via the questions. It’s important for your manager to see this and get an understanding of what you’re working on, areas you might need help, or ways you’re making progress toward your goals. Your manager will be able to engage with your answers (and the rest of your Check-in) by liking or commenting. You may find by answering these questions, you've created items that will be discussed on your next 1-on-1!
  • Keep in mind some of the additional actions you can take when interacting with your own Check-in. Outside of adding talking points to your 1-on-1 agenda, you can add answers to wins & challenges—which will prove to be handy come Best-Self Review® time. 

1-on-1 agenda

  • You’ve submitted your Check-in—wahoo! Now you can decide what is beneficial to discuss during your scheduled 1-on-1 with your manager. 1-on-1s should focus on what matters most, like specific roadblocks and/or challenges, without wasting valuable face time on status updates. 1-on-1 talking points allow for a collaborative agenda by both the manager and the direct report. Studies show that when the agenda is prepared by both participants, you can have a more meaningful and collaborative discussion during your 1-on-1.
  • While holding your 1-on-1 conversation, action items may come up as a result of some of your talking points. Action items can be assigned to either participant (manager or direct report usually) for some additional accountability. Action items are included in the 1-on-1 summary email along with talking points, and shared notes. The summary is sent to both participants. 

High Fives

  • Do you ever catch a colleague working their hardest, living out a company value, or lightening someone's load and want to shout from the rooftops how great of a job they’re doing? High Fives will allow you to express gratitude, knowledge, and appreciation which help generate positivity into the organization. It’s a beautiful cycle, when people receive High Fives they’re going to do more of that behavior that caused the positive impact.

Best-Self Review®

  • Utilizing Best-Self Review® is another step you can take towards being and becoming your best-self. Performance reviews using researched-backed question templates help shift the focus of the conversation to strengths and future development—and that is precisely what Best-Self Review® does. You’ll have a list of resources from all of your 15Five activities to help you respond to the review questions in an unbiased manner. Resources include wins & challenges, High Fives, previous reviews, and objectives.
  • Best-Self Review® is used in addition to the 1-on-1 and Check-in to strengthen the manager and direct report relationship. The review process in 15Five gives each individual a voice and an opportunity to reflect on their recent progress, while also getting growth and development feedback from their manager in a fair and safe one-on-one setting.
  • Best-Self Review® is the name of the feature in 15Five and also refers to a Best-Self Review® cycle. Best-Self Review® cycles include a self review (you write a review about your own progress) and a manager review (your manager writes a review about your progress).
  • The 360° Best-Self Review® has the same self review and manager review mentioned above, but takes things a step further to include an upward review(s) where direct reports are asked to review their manager’s performance, and/or peer reviews where people are asked to review their teammate's performance.
  • A Peer Only Review cycle will allow you to gather timely and relevant feedback from peers about a project, regardless of existing hierarchy. While participants will benefit from the light-weight review to foster continuous performance improvement, managers will also understand how their direct reports are doing on their cross-functional projects. Just as the name suggests, the only reviews included in a Peer Only Review cycle are peer reviews. 

Request Feedback

  • Request Feedback is a feature that empowers individuals to be in the driver’s seat of seeking advice/feedback, the moment it's needed. When people first request feedback, they’re likely more open to receiving feedback and they’re more likely to act on the feedback received. This component of 15Five is all about getting you the feedback you need, on the subject you want feedback on, from the people you want feedback from, and on your time!

Engagement+

  • 15Five’s Engagement+ exceeds traditional employee engagement surveys with its evidence-based and innovative approach. Our templates (ready to use out of the box) rigorously measure what matters—employee engagement and thriving—by looking at the elements that create the environment for people and organizations to reach their full potential.
  • Regarding Engagement+, your job as an employee is to provide honest answers and optional contextual feedback. Rest assured: your identity will never be revealed to anyone in your company. We're here to help bring change to your company! Change comes when people feel safe to share, and psychological safety is a component of this feature.

The science (it's fun!)

Our product decisions are guided by industrial, organizational, and positive psychology research from some of the world’s top universities. If you’re interested in some light reading on the science behind all things 15Five, you’ve come to the right place!

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