Table of Contents
What are review cycles?
By creating a performance, 360º, leadership, or project review in Leapsome, you are launching a review cycle. A review cycle is a specific timeline of steps that asks for feedback from different teammates based on the scope and timeline you define as an admin. Once you determine the review questions, the timeline of the review, and who is to be assessed, Leapsome automatically handles sending the right questions to the right people at the right time.
This article describes how to set up a review cycle, from creating the template to launching and using the template to start a review.
If you need recommendations or guidance on which type of assessment you should run, check out our best-practice blueprint for reviews.
Note: Are you setting up a review automation? Then you may also look into our automation framework for probation period assessments.
Setting up a review template
1. Base settings
To create a new review template (used at any time to launch a review cycle), go to the 'Reviews' tab > 'Templates,' > 'Create Template.'
The name of your review template will show up in all notifications related to your 360°, performance, or leadership assessment. Pick an easily identifiable name, such as '360° Performance Review'.
The description is optional and can contain the reason for the assessment or general guidelines for giving good feedback. All participants will see this description when filling out their assessment.
These are people that will have access to the review cycle's analytics and settings. By default, the person creating the cycle will be the first owner, and you can add as many owners as you like.
Please note: At this stage, you can define if HRBP's should have access to the review cycle and should see the progress of employees that are assigned to them. If the option is enabled, HRBP's can edit contributors (e.g. peers), but can not make any other changes or add participants.
2. Scope – who is assessing the reviewee?
Leapsome offers three customizable best-practice assessments:
- Performance Review: In this scenario, each employee will write a self-evaluation and will be assessed by their manager. After the assessment, the employee will discuss the results with the manager and sign the results digitally.
- 360° Assessment: This assessment adds the perspective of peers and direct reports of the person being assessed (the reviewee) if they have any. While direct reports are automatically pulled from your employee directory, peers can be 'nominated' by the reviewee or the manager and can be either internal colleagues or external collaborators. You can also define the minimum / maximum number of peers required for a reviewee. You can also limit the number of times someone can be nominated as a peer in a given review round to avoid any one person needing to provide too many peer assessments.
- Leadership Assessment: This scenario enables upward feedback towards managers. Each participant (manager) will write a self-evaluation and can be assessed by direct reports or nominated peers.
As you can see below, the scope (i.e., those included in writing an assessment of the participants in the cycle) consists of several customizable settings. This allows you to adjust the scope to the needs of your company.
By turning on self-assessment, every participant in the cycle will need to assess themselves.
By turning on managers, the managers of every participant in the cycle will assess the participant (reviewee).
By turning on direct reports, if any participant in the cycle has direct reports, all of the direct reports will need to assess the reviewee.
By turning on peers, every participant in the cycle will either nominate or be assigned peers who will write an assessment of the reviewee.
Suppose you've turned on the 'Peers' option. In that case, you can then determine who chooses the peers. They can be nominated by the reviewee; approved automatically or by the manager; selected by the manager or the admin of the cycle; or external to the company.
By default, line managers will assume the manager role for their direct reports included in the review cycle. If you want to replace them with project managers for a specific cycle, enable the option 'Replace all direct managers with a designated project manager in this cycle' and select the person that will assume the project manager role. Instead, this person will give manager feedback for the participant (that person can also be chosen when actually launching the review and can be left blank when creating the template).
By turning on the manager assessment, you will also determine whether managers will be able to share the results at any time once they have completed the review. Disable this if you are running calibrations and if you wish to control when managers can share their assessments. This can be re-enabled after calibration.
You can also choose to automatically update the manager if reporting line changes during the cycle. With this setting active, managers will be updated immediately within the cycle, when they are updated in the 'Users & Teams' section. Read this article on what can be changed in an active review cycle.
Watch this video to get a detailed guide on setting up the questionnaire.
Using your skill framework
Before you set up your first assessment, set up your skills & values. You can then compare these scores across people and time to help understand where specific teams or people need help and see how employees are improving over time.
Skills can either be general (applicable to anyone in the company) or team-specific (applicable only to members of specific teams).
By turning on 'Team-specific skills,' the system will recognize which team a participant in the cycle is on and prompt people to review them on those team skills. For example, both sales and marketing teams could be participants in the same review cycle, but they would be assessed on different team-specific skills.
Leapsome will include your current set of defined skills when you activate the cycle.
Please note: If you change / edit an existing skill in your development framework, these changes will apply to all previous / ongoing cycles!
Base questionnaire and role-specific questions
This step allows you to define the questions asked during each assessment. Perspectives differ and might require different questions. That's why each question can be flexibly targeted.
For example, you can include a question in the template that the manager will only see and answer. To choose which people will respond to which question, click the checkbox next to them under the question.
To compare perspectives effectively in the analytics module, we recommend targeting different groups with the same question (i.e., asking peers, managers, direct reports, and reviewees the same question to see how their responses differ).
Adding custom questions
You can also add custom questions to your assessment. These questions can be open-ended, multiple-choice, or rated (on the default or a custom scale). Here are a few best-practice questions you can use.
Please note: If you change an existing question in a template, this will change that question in all past / current cycles which contain this underlying question!
If you add or remove a question from a template (or change the order of questions), this will not affect existing cycles!
Adding private questions
By adding a custom question, you have the option to enable private questions. Answers to private questions are only visible for admins and the manager (of the reviewee). They can be recognized in the assessment by a lock icon next to the questions. The reviewee will not see the answers to these questions.
Please note: Total scores won't be displayed to reviewees if private questions are included in the review questionnaire.
If you're using Leapsome's goal module, you can include the goals a participant owns or contributes to in your assessment cycles. To do, enable the corresponding option. This will automatically create a question for every goal that is active and non-private, where those reviewing the person will be asked to give a comment or rating on their progress. If the reviewee is listed as managing a goal, and not as the owner or contributor, then those goals will not be presented in their review cycle as "active individual goals."
Goals will look like this in the review:
Customizing the default scale
You can modify the scale for all scaled questions choose the option to weigh questions at the bottom of the questions section. We recommend defining a default scale for all cycles in the admin settings and not changing it for each review. Changing it for one review will normalize all of your analytics to 100. You can also decide whether you want to hide numbers and only show labels in the reviews (this will also normalize the results to a 100 point scale).
Changing the visibility and anonymity settings
As you can see in the screenshot below, you can define what admin, managers of participants in the review, and the participants themselves should see and when. You can choose different levels of anonymity (like hiding the contributor's name from the participant but showing it to the owner of the cycle).
When setting the assessments of peer results or direct reports to anonymous, there are two options.
'No (Anonymous)' means that the score and comment of each person are shown, but their name is not associated with the score / comment.
'No (Anonymous, aggregated results only) means that the total average score from those peers / direct reports will show in the radar chart at the bottom of the review, but their individual ratings on specific skills or questions will not be displayed in the radar chart(you'll need at least 2 answers from peers to show peer scores, and 2 answers from direct reports to show direct report scores). You can see more on this here.
Defining a timeline
In the final steps before kick-off, you will pre-define a timeline for your template.The platform will use this to automatically send emails to all participants and reviewers, reminding them to fill out their reviews by the appropriate deadline. Be mindful that the timeline will be calculated in calendar days, not business days, for each stage in the cycle.
The actual steps and dates will depend on your cycle setup (i.e., the inclusion of self-evaluations, 360° assessments, and manager assessments). You can edit these steps during the assessment process, so don't worry if you're not sure about the best intervals right away.
Please note: Leapsome uses soft deadlines, meaning participants can continue to write their assessment even after a deadline has passed and until the review cycle has closed.
Receiving automated reminders
While the dates mark the official kick-off of each step, the platform manages the process as efficiently as possible. If a process step completes earlier and all prerequisites for the next step are met, it will automatically move to the next step.
All review notifications will be sent out by Leapsome automatically. You can customize the text of each message. There are three types of notifications in reviews:
Review kick-off: All participants of the cycle will be notified as soon as the cycle starts.
Review Daily Digests: Next to the cycle kick-off, notifications start being sent two days after kick-off. Peer approval notifications are only sent after the peer nomination deadline passed.
All participants with new tasks will be notified. There are no notifications if there are no new tasks.
Review Reminders: All participants with overdue tasks (tasks opened for more than three days and fewer than 75 days) will be notified on Tuesdays. There are no notifications if there are no overdue tasks. Notifications start at least two days after kick-off.
If you're satisfied with your settings, you can confirm the template setup by clicking 'complete setup.'
Kicking off a review cycle based on the template
Once you have finalized your review template, you can easily kick-off your review by clicking 'Create new cycle based on this template' underneath the template name:
You will have the option to review each of the steps you set up in the process described above. In addition, you can select the participants (reviewees) and the concrete timeline for the cycle. To find out how you can proceed you can watch the video below or / and read the description.
1. Selecting participants
Participants are the employees that will be assessed in this cycle. You can add all employees to a cycle or filter by adding or excluding employees using these selection options:
- By team
- By individual user selection
- By location
- By custom attribute
You can also exclude based on tenure. For example, you can include employees who have been with the company for more than X weeks, meaning anyone with the company less than X weeks will not be reviewed.
Peers will be nominated after your cycle kicks off. Each participant's manager and direct reports will be pulled from your 'Users & Teams' settings (if you're using one of our HRIS integrations, this data is auto-synchronized). If the manager changes before kick-off, it will be updated accordingly.
If no manager is defined, the platform assumes that the cycle owner will write the manager assessment.
2. Adjusting the timeline
When setting up the timeline for the review cycle, you'll get a suggested start date and subsequent dates based on your settings from the template. In the cycle, you can still edit each date.
3. Completing setup
In the last step, you'll finalize your setup. The review cycle will be kicked off on the chosen date.