Hold a calibration session

Calibrations in 15Five make it easy for contributors to make more objective assessments of performance by giving them the ability to view, compare, and adjust answers to quantitative (i.e. opinion scale, multiple choice, and yes/no) Private Manager Assessment questions. Holding a calibration session allows calibrators to see the distribution of review ratings across team managers and adjust those ratings in real-time.

Calibration sessions should be held after the manager review deadline has passed and all manager reviews have been submitted. If there are outstanding manager reviews, you can send a nudge to give managers one last chance to submit before the calibration sessions begin.

In this article, you will learn...



Once a manager submits their manager review AND the manager review due date has passed, managers will see a note on their manager review (above the private manager assessment questions) that says 'This review is being calibrated!'. When that message appears, managers will no longer be able to edit the private manager assessment answers via the manager review or summary.

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Access a calibration session

  1. Click on Best-Self Review® in 15Five's main, left-hand navigation bar.
  2. Click on the name of the review cycle you want to hold a calibration session in.
  3. Open the 'Calibrations' tab.
  4. Click into the name of the calibration session you want to hold.

Hold a calibration session

To begin, schedule a calibration meeting that includes all calibrators. We suggest appointing a moderator or secretary for the session to help take notes and keep the meeting on track.

Check out our "Calibrations 101: Process and Best Practices" Help Center article for best practices and tips on how to hold a calibration session.

Continue reading for information about how to interact with a calibration session. Please read this section in its entirety before making changes to best utilize the calibration session feature and your time.

Calibration session header

At the top of the page, you'll notice the name of the session and the contributors. If you need to change the calibration session name, add additional contributors, or change what review cycle participants are included in the session, click '...' to the right of the session and select 'Edit' from the dropdown menu.

Session results

Next, you'll notice there are two bar graphs under the 'Session results' header. These stats display private manager assessment answers for the people included in the session. So if there are 6 participants included in the session, the bar charts will reflect the PMA answers for those 6 people. Contributors can reference these graphs before, during, and after the sessions to see how the stats have changed.

Some questions to ask yourself while looking at these graphs are:

  • Should everyone in the session be ready for a raise?
  • Should everyone in the session be at risk for low performance?

Private manager assessment answers

As you scroll down, you'll see a list of cycle participants included in the session, as well as the private manager assessment answers their managers gave about them. This is the section in which you'll make changes to private manager assessment answers. We save changes regularly while the session is open and changes are being made. So if someone leaves the page while editing and comes back, the changes will remain.



You can use the up & down arrows next to header names to sort participant names or answers alphabetically. This makes it easy to organize by what answers were given to a question— for example, if you want to calibrate answers for everyone whose manager said 'Yes' to the question 'Is [Name] ready for promotion?' first, simply use the up/down arrow next to that question column.


  • If there's a participant in the calibration session that is also included in another calibration session, any changes you make to their review will be reflected immediately across all other session they're involved in.
  • If you see white horizontal rows while viewing the calibration session, that means the manager review wasn't submitted. The PMA answers will only appear in the list once the manger review has been submitted.


Click on a participant's name to open their review summary page, which contains all reviews written about them.

Use the filter to search for people, groups, group types, etc. This might be more helpful if the session contains multiple teams or a large number of participants.

To change an answer, hover over the cell, click '...'., then choose the calibrated answer.

Once a change is made, the cell will become yellow and note the original answer (crossed out) and the calibrated answer.



To reiterate, we save changes regularly while the session is open and changes are being made. So if someone leaves the page while editing and comes back, the changes will remain.

Activity feed

Any changes that you make will be logged in the activity feed at the bottom of the page.

Contributors and anyone else who has visibility into a calibration session (that is, review admins and cycle collaborators) can use the activity feed to make note of what is changing and why, as well as hold discussions as needed. This information is extremely important, as it can be referenced by contributors and review administrators in the future. Either click the icon under a change in the activity feed to leave a comment on that change, or use the "Add a comment" field to post a new comment. You can @mention other contributors, as well as review admins and cycle collaborators who are not appointed as contributors, in your comments.

Next steps

Now that the calibration session has been held and all desired changes to private manager assessment answer have been made, your work in the session is complete. Your next step is to lock the calibration session. Until the calibration session is locked, managers will not see updated answers in the manager review or summary, nor will you be able to download the information from the calibrations report. Locking a session is the final step and all sessions should be locked before the 'Calibrations due by' date.

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