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Calibration in performance reviews

When using performance ratings for employees, it’s important to apply consistent standards across the organization. A common practice to achieve this is to calibrate and adjust ratings based on conversations between different managers and HR. Small Improvements gives you a few ways to handle this process. 

Restricting the review sharing dates

Normally managers can decide when they want to share their assessment with their employees. For calibration, you can turn on the ability to restrict the date from which the manager can share their side of the review, and also when the overall ratings can be locked down. This allows you time to go over the manager’s reviews to ensure they conform to company standards.

Turn it on in your review cycle timeline: 

  • Cycle Starts: The first day people can begin working on their assessments. You can set this for a date in the future and have the kick-off email sent automatically.
  • Deadline for reviewees: The last date for employees to share their self-assessment. This is the same as in a non-calibration cycle.
    The Grace Period an optional extension for employees to grant more time, not shown as a date to employees directly.
  • Deadline for reviewers to write: The last date reviewers can add or edit content in their assessments.
  • Calibration Period: This is the time after the deadline to write content and before the first date that managers can share. HR Admins can go over the reviewers’ content during this period and make suggestions or adjustments.
    You can choose to allow managers to adjust the overall rating during this period, or lock that down as well.
  • Reviewers share and revision: When the calibration period is over, your managers will be able to share their assessments. You can also allow them to edit the content of their reviews and to change the overall ratings for their employees.
    The HR team has the ability to update the overall ratings in bulk (see below). If you’ll be doing so, you may want to disable the manager’s ability to edit the overall ratings during this time.
    The Grace Period an optional extension for employees to grant more time, not shown as a date to employees directly.
  • Everyone should sign by: This date applies to both reviewers and reviewees. It’s the deadline for signing their reviews.

Bulk updates of reviewer ratings

As an admin can easily export, change, and import ratings, allowing for maximum flexibility in your calibration process. Click the Admin menu in your review cycle to find the “Import Reviewer Ratings” option.

You’ll see a pop up menu. Drag your import file to upload. The file you import has to include the columns “Reviewer LoginID” (users’ email addresses) and “Overall Reviewer Rating” (new ratings).

Review the information on the confirmation screen before clicking the “Change Ratings” button. The confirmation screen tells you how many ratings will change, how many will remain the same, and whether there are any issues with the imported ratings. Confirm twice to complete the import.


To bulk update ratings, you can import an Excel or CSV file from a previous Review Cycle export or use one of the following templates:

Updated on June 9, 2021

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