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New Feature Update: The Best-Self Review™

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Holly Kennedy

What would a performance review look like if we were to invent it today?

We asked ourselves that question in early 2017 and we’re excited to announce the latest addition to 15Five, the Best-Self Review™! This revolutionary process is our answer to the traditional annual employee performance review, which is often biased and counterproductive.

We teamed up with Alan Colquitt, author of Next Generation Performance Management, to explore ratings & compensation in performance management. Check out the video above to learn more.

Traditional performance evaluations were created during the Industrial Revolution, a time when producing efficient and repeatable outcomes were valued most. When it comes to modern innovative knowledge-work, these stack-ranking performance appraisals driven by command-and-control management often backfire by negatively impacting employee motivation and even decreasing performance.

Guided by research on positive psychology and the growth mindset, we’ve created the Best-Self Review as a performance management solution to maximize the growth and development of your people. Using a method called evidence-based product design, we looked at the academic literature on employee performance reviews, pulled out the actionable insights and built that research-backed wisdom into 15Five.

You can learn more about why we created the Best-Self Review from our CEO David Hassell here. If you’re interested in the research that guided our product decisions, Courtney Bigony, Director of People Science at 15Five, explains more about our evidence-based approach.

Here are several of our latest product initiatives and available features. All of these updates are intended to maximize employee development and growth.

What is the Best-Self Review?

Simple setup
Due to the often sensitive nature of performance evaluations, a specific review administrator will need to be assigned. The review admin(s) will have full control over the review cycle creation, question templates and visibility of in-progress and completed answers.

When activating Best-Self Review for the first time, you can:
– Assign a review administrator(s)
– Exclude team members from reviews (such as contractors or interns)
– Define review viewing permissions
– Add your company values (this will enable quick setup of Question templates later)

When creating your first review cycle, you can:
– Choose to create a one-off, quarterly or bi-annual review cycle
– Select the 15Five question template or create your own reusable custom question set
– Include milestone dates for submission
– And finally, customize your kick-off email messaging


Asking the right employee self review questions
We’ve created a recommended question template for anyone to use right out of the box. Our questions are guided by research from positive psychology to enable the growth mindset and include an additional set of future-focused questions inspired by Deloitte that are private to the manager assessment.

If the 15Five question template isn’t for you, that’s no problem. You can create a custom question template with a variety of question format options.

Easy to complete
One of the most time-consuming parts of the traditional performance review is answering the questions themselves. Many issues come into play such as recency bias, which is the tendency to evaluate someone based on their most recent performance instead of the entire review period, and difficulty objectively assessing team member performance.

We’ve provided a handy Resources section within our performance management software that you can reference when completing your Self or Manager Reviews, which collects qualitative and quantitative highlights from the past quarter. This includes relevant answers from your regular check-ins, High Fives, Objectives, Wins/Challenges and more.


Tracking results
Both during and after an employee review cycle has been completed, review admins can track the progress of the whole company at any point. Managers can do the same with any team members that report to them in 15Five. If you notice any individuals who are past due, you can send a gentle nudge to prompt them to complete either their Self or Manager Reviews. Review admins can also export answers as a CSV at any point for further analysis.

Tracking results

What’s next
Look out in early 2018 for the Best-Self Review to also include 360 Reviews and Upward Feedback!

15Five Employee Performance Software Profile

In the last two years, the 15Five performance management suite has grown substantially beyond the initial weekly check-in. In 15Five, you can also track OKRs, make the most of your 1-on-1 meetings and celebrate wins, both big and small with High Fives.

And now, with 15Five Profile, all of this valuable information is visible in one place. 15Five Profile is your own personal 15Five homepage. You can quickly see your highest leverage work goals for the week and monitor your impact to unlock your potential and help you on your journey to being your best self at work.

Highlights are only visible to you. This is where you’ll find your highest leverage To d0s for the week, as well as active Objectives to keep them top of mind.


Every metric and detail you log into 15Five each week is now aggregated in one central place for an accurate and objective view of your performance and workplace engagement.


Career vision
Research  shows that aligning a person’s role responsibilities with their strengths is an excellent method for improving employee engagement at work. This section allows you to gain clarity on your role, discover your strengths and envision your career trajectory.

Career vision

Wins and challenges
Wins & challenges is only visible to you. Keep track of what you worked on by adding answers from your 15Five throughout the quarter to prevent recency bias and prepare for performance appraisals. Managers can also flag wins & challenges for their direct reports when reviewing their 15Fives.

Wins & Challenges

We hope you enjoy these new features! Stay tuned for more product features and updates, coming soon!

Holly is Head of Product at 15Five, continuous performance management software that includes weekly check-ins, objective (OKR) tracking, peer recognition, 1-on-1s, and reviews. When not buried deep in 15Five’s roadmap, Holly is busy renovating her home just outside Amsterdam, learning Dutch & feeding her travel bug!

Image Credit: Zachary Nelson on Unsplash