Create and manage performance ratings formulas

Performance ratings formulas are used to calculate a person's performance rating. In a formula, you determine how much weight answers given in a person's self review vs. manager review(s) will have on their performance rating, which question sections will be included in a person's performance rating (and how much weight those sections will have), and which opinion-scale questions in a question template will be considered in the calculation of their performance rating. This article walks through how to create and manage performance ratings formulas in 15Five.

In this article, you will learn:

Access and availability

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

Create a performance ratings formula



You should create a performance ratings formula for a review cycle after creating the question template (or deciding to use one of 15Five's default question templates) and before creating a rubric.

  1. Click Best-Self Review® in 15Five's main, left-hand navigation.
  2. Open the 'Template configuration' tab.
  3. You are now on the 'Template configuration' page, which houses question templates, performance ratings formulas, and rubric formulas. Scroll down to the 'Performance ratings formulas' section and click the Add weight to a template button.
  4. 'Name & Description' section: Provide a name and description for your ratings formula. The name and description you provide will only be visible to review admins, and can be edited later on if desired. Then, click Continue.
  5. 'Question template' section: Select the question template you want your performance ratings formula to apply to. In the dropdown menu, you will only see existing self/manager question templates. Click Continue.
  6. Select the weight of Self Reviews vs Manager Reviews: Select how much self and manager reviews, respectively, will be weighed in performance ratings. As a reminder, peer and upward reviews cannot be considered in performance ratings.


    At 15Five, we use a 30:70 ratio (30% self, 70% manager). We give 30% weightage to self because we want individuals to feel like their performance rating isn’t entirely one-sided. We’ve also recognized that high performers often rate themselves more critically, while lower performers might inflate their scores. This is another reason to consider giving a low weight to self-reviews.

  7. Include/Exclude question sections: Toggle on/off question sections to dictate whether or not they should be included in performance ratings. You can use the + icon next to a question section to manage which specific opinion-scale questions you want to include. If a question section doesn't include any opinion scale questions, the option to include that section will be turned “off” and grayed out.



    We don't recommend including Manager Effectiveness questions into your Performance Ratings+ formula, because these 8 questions were specifically developed to be included as a factor in the configuration of your Manager Effectiveness Indicator (MEI). Having answers to these questions factor into both your MEI AND your Performance Ratings can become confusing!

  8. If you choose to include objectives in the performance rating formula, you will have the option to choose whether or not you want the objective's progress to be included in the calculation. If you want the individual's progress on the objective to be included in the calculation, leave the box checked for Objectives progress.
  9. Add value to sections: Assign weights to each question section. The total sum of all section weights should equal 100%. When you're done, click Continue.


    The screenshot above is a sample formula based on our approach at 15Five. We recommend giving about 30% of the weight in your Performance Ratings+ formula to your behavior-based questions (Company Values and Competencies) and about 70% of the weight to your results-based questions (Growth & Development, Objectives, and Private Manager Assessment).

  10. ‘Summary’ tab: Confirm details for your performance ratings formula, then click Create.

What's next?

Now that you’ve created your performance ratings formula, it’s time to create a rubric. Whereas performance ratings formulas determine how review participants’ overall performance ratings will be calculated, rubrics are used to categorize what different performance ratings score ranges mean.

View, edit, or delete performance ratings formulas

  1. Click Best-Self Review® in 15Five's main, left-hand navigation.
  2. At the top of the page under "Best-Self Review®", click to open the 'Template configuration' tab.
  3. You are now on the 'Template configuration' page. Scroll down to the "Performance ratings formulas" section.
  4. To manage a performance ratings formula, click ... to its right and select the appropriate option from the dropdown menu.


    You can only delete formulas that are not currently in use. Whether or not you can edit a formula depends on whether or not it's being used in a review cycle in which reviews have already been submitted. Once a review is submitted in a review cycle, it's not possible to edit the applied formula.

Edit which formula is being used in an active review cycle

Suppose you made a mistake in a performance ratings formula and have already launched the review cycle. In this case, you can edit the formula or create a new performance ratings formula and apply it to the cycle using the steps below.



You can only edit the formula until the cycle's first review is submitted. Once that happens, it is not possible to change the performance ratings formula.

  1. Click Best-Self Review® in 15Five's main, left-hand navigation.
  2. You will land on the Best-Self Review® dashboard. From here, locate the review cycle you want to edit settings for under "Active review cycles". Click ... next to the review cycle, then select 'Edit review cycle' from the dropdown menu.
  3. Click Edit next to the "Performance Ratings+" section.
  4. Use the dropdown menu to select a different Performance ratings formula. When you're done, click Save.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How are performance ratings calculated?

Performance ratings are calculated using the formula below:

When normalizing the opinion scales, we calculate them using the following formula:


For example, let's say that you created a Performance Ratings formula in which manager reviews were weighted at 100%. The manager rated an employee all 3s, and questions were rated on a 4-point scale. The employee's performance rating would be 66%.




We use "1" as the minimum value because, otherwise, all of the normalized scores would be skewed more positively. This means that if a person is rated 1 on all included questions, their performance rating would be 0%.

Who can see performance ratings formula names and descriptions?

Only review admins. A cycle's performance ratings template name will appear in lists for creating a review cycle or editing an active review cycle, and the description only appears on the 'Template Configuration' page.

Can review cycle participants see their performance rating?

This depends on your organization's review settings. In the "Performance Ratings+" section of Best-Self Review® feature settings, admins can select whether or not participants will be able to see their performance ratings when review results are shared with them.


What review types can be included in a performance ratings formula?

Answers from self reviews, manager reviews, and additional manager reviews can be included in a formula. Account admins can opt to include answers from additional manager reviews in performance ratings calculations in the "Performance Ratings+" section of Best-Self Review® feature settings.


The weight of all manager reviews is equal— meaning that, if this setting is enabled and a participant has one direct manager review and two additional manager reviews, each one’s weight for manager reviews would be ⅓. 

Which question types can be included in the Performance Ratings+ calculation?

Only opinion-scale questions can be included.

If a question appears on only the self review or the manager review, can it still be included in the ratings template/calculation?

 Yes— it can be included in the ratings calculation.

What happens to a person’s performance rating if I reopen a review for editing?

Performance ratings get automatically re-calculated when included review answers are edited/revised.

Can I weigh a question in the section heavier than other questions in that same section?

No. You can remove some questions within the section from being included in the calculation (see step #7 in the "Create a performance ratings formula" section of this article), but you cannot weigh one question in the section more than another question in the same section; all questions included from within the same question section will be weighed equally. However, different question sections can be weighed differently.

Is there a limit to how many performance ratings formulas I can create?

No, but only one performance ratings formula can be applied to any given review cycle.

What happens if an employee doesn't have any answers for a question section included in the formula?

Employees are not penalized if they don’t have any questions in their review for a specific question section. For example, if an employee doesn’t have any Objectives, and the “Objectives” question section is weighted 20%, that 20% will be distributed across the other question sections! TLDR: they won’t be “dinged”.

Can I use more than one performance ratings formula in a single review cycle?

No— you can only have one performance measurement formula in a cycle. Because of this, if you want to measure performance differently between different teams in your organization, you should create separate review cycles for them and apply different performance ratings to those review cycles.

Can I factor group-specific questions and/or competencies into a person’s performance rating?


What is the checkbox for Objectives progress in the objectives section of my performance ratings formula?

This is where you can determine whether or not you want the individual's progress on the objective(s) to be factored into the calculation. By including the progress, the subjective assessment of the objectives progress is averaged with the true objectives progress with equal weights. If you don't want the progress included in the calculation, just uncheck the box next to objectives progress.
Screenshot 2023-10-19 at 9.35.15 AM.png

Can a Review admin add or remove a formula from an active cycle?

Yes, a review admin can edit the active cycle and add a performance ratings formula (and rubric) to an active cycle. This must be done before the first review is submitted.

Can I change which formula is applied to the review cycle during an active review cycle?

Yes, but only before any reviews are submitted.

Can I edit an in-use performance ratings formula?

Yes, but before the first review is submitted. Once it is used in a cycle that has reviews shared, you will not be able to edit the values in the template.

Can I change which question template a performance ratings formula is built off of?

No. Once a performance ratings formula is created, it’s not possible to change which question template it is associated with. You will need to create a new performance ratings formula off the correct question template.

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