Calibrations help HR leaders and managers make more fair, objective, and transparent assessments of performance and talent decisions. Once a review cycle begins, Review admins or Cycle collaborators can start creating calibration sessions.

In this article, you will learn...

Access and availability

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

Are you more of a visual learner? Check out this video ⬇️

Steps to take before creating a calibration session

Confirm your manager review question template

Double-check that the self/manager review question template you're going to use in your review cycle has the right questions in sections that you will include in the calibration session (i.e. Private Manager Assessment, Company Values, Competencies, and/or Objectives).

Help Center article 💡: Decide how you want to add questions to your review cycle

Create a review cycle that includes calibrations

Create the review cycle, ensuring that the following criteria are met:

  • Review types: In the "Review type" section, select the option to include manager reviews.
  • Calibration setting: In the "Review milestones" section, select the option to include calibrations in the review cycle.
  • Milestones: As you set milestones, be sure to give your team enough time to comfortably and fairly assess all reviews in calibration sessions. Calibration sessions can begin after the "Manager review due by" milestone and must be locked by the "Calibrations due by" milestone. We recommend giving your team 2-3 weeks to hold calibration sessions, depending on the size of your organization and the number of calibration sessions you are likely to have.
Strategize how you'll organize calibration sessions

Since you can include as many calibration sessions in a review cycle as you want, you can choose whose review results you will calibrate in separate and distinct calibration sessions and who should calibrate those sessions.

How you lay out your sessions is up to you. Some common breakdowns we see are by department, manager, level, or role. You can base this on your company/department dynamics, psychological safety, and the logistics of holding multiple sessions. Just keep in mind that the more sessions you create, the more time you'll need.

For example, you may decide to hold separate calibration sessions for each role. As you appoint Contributors for Customer Success Managers, you may choose to appoint the Manager of the Customer Success Team, the VP of the Customer Experience Department, and an HR delegate, who will also moderate the session.

Create a calibration session

Once a review cycle begins, you can begin creating calibration sessions using the steps below.

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



    If you want to copy and modify the settings of an existing calibration session, you can clone it instead of creating a new session from scratch.

  5. Name your calibration session: Select a name that's specific enough that you and other Contributors will be able to identify who is included in the session.
  6. Include review sections: Select which manager review sections you want to include in the calibration session.

    Learn more about each of these question sections
    • Company values: In company value questions, managers rate their direct reports on how they live out your values.
    • Competencies: In competency questions, managers rate their direct reports on how they exhibit their job competencies— the measurable patter of knowledge, skills, abilities, behaviors, an other characteristics an individual needs to perform successfully in their role.
    • Objectives: In objectives questions, managers reflect on their direct reports' objectives performance since their last review.
    • Private Manager Assessment (PMA): The Private Manager Assessment (PMA) questions in 15Five lay the foundation for an unbiased review by asking managers what they would do with each team member, rather than what they think of that individual.
  7. Appoint contributors: Select Contributors for the session. Contributors are the people who are responsible for holding a calibration session— that is, discussing results and making changes as needed. Anyone can be a contributor, but they're usually managers, skip-level managers, leadership, and HR. Contributors can see review answers for all individuals included in the session, except their own manager's answers about them.


    We recommend including 3-5 contributors for each session, depending on the number of people whose results you are calibrating. Aim for a balanced representation of managers, leadership, and HR in calibration sessions to ensure diverse perspectives and fair evaluations. We also recommend appointing a Moderator to make sure everyone in the session has an equal opportunity to share their insight.

  8. Include participants: Select the participants whose results will be reviewed in the session.
  9. Exclude individuals from the calibration session: If there are individuals who meet the inclusion criteria you selected in the last step and whose results you don't want to include in the session, add them here.
  10. Click Create session or Create session and add another.

What happens next?

As manager reviews are submitted, calibration sessions will populate with answers to review sections were included in the calibration session. Once the "Manager reviews due by" milestone has passed, calibration sessions can begin. Check out our "Hold a calibration session" Help Center article for next steps.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Who can see calibration sessions?

Review admins and Cycle Collaborators can see all calibration sessions. Contributors can see calibration sessions they're appointed as a Contributor in. Visibility includes all manager review answers included in the session (e.g. Private Manager Assessment ratings, Company Value ratings, Competency ratings, and/or Objectives ratings).

Can a Contributor see their own information in calibration sessions?

By default, Contributors cannot see their own information in sessions they're a contributor in. The exception here is that Contributors will have visibility into their own Private Manager Assessment answers if visibility into the Private Manager Assessment was granted to participants during review cycle creation.

What roles and associated permissions are there in calibration sessions?
  • Review admins and Cycle collaborators can create calibration sessions, view answers in all calibration sessions, and lock calibration sessions.


    Review admins and cycle collaborators are not added as Contributors by default, and must be appointed as such if you want them to have the ability to edit answers in a calibration session.

  • Contributors can view and change manager review answers in calibration sessions they're a Contributor for.
Can managers edit their reviews after calibration sessions begin?

Managers can edit their reviews until the "Manager reviews due by" milestone, which managers can see in the Review details box that appears on the left-hand side of any manager review.

Once the "Manager reviews due by" milestone has passed, managers will no longer be able to edit any answers from sections included in the calibration session.

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