Calibration

Content

Overview of Calibration

The purpose of calibration for most organizations is to ensure that employees are being fairly assessed. Each person interprets performance differently, so coming together to discuss employee ratings and verify that those ratings have equivalent meaning across managers is essential for a more objective review.

Within Betterworks, Super Admins and HR Admins (scope applied) can create a calibration cycle. A calibration cycle refers to a time period over which this exercise is done. A cycle usually consists of several meetings to discuss specific groups of employees. These meetings are represented as sessions.

Configuring Calibration

You'll need to engage the help of your Program Architect to design your calibration program. They'll then need to create a custom template with all of your required calibration settings (on the backend) before you can begin configuring calibration in the Betterworks user interface.

Enable Calibration

Super Admins can enable the Calibration module from within the Admin module:

Admin → Program Management → Calibration → Settings

Once there, toggle the feature on and refresh your internet browser to see the Calibration module:

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The Calibration module will only be available to Super Admins and HR Admins (scope applied). You can rename the Calibration module by going to:

Admin → Platform Configuration → Organization Branding → Naming → Calibration

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Note: You can use all of your custom fields as talent records or filters. However, this option is not enabled automatically and should be discussed in more detail with your Program Architect.

Set Up A Conversation

The source of calibration talent records is a scheduled conversation. Once a scheduled conversation exists, a calibration cycle can be created and talent records can be mapped to direct report and manager questions.

Admin → Program Management → Conversations → Settings → New Scheduled Conversation

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Ratings In Conversations

If a calibration rating display is enabled for the organization, the conversation template is updated with a section called Display Labels. Super Admins can choose to show calibration ratings to manager and above or employee and above. This selection is made from the corresponding conversation template.

Note: This is only applicable when using the matrix chart in the calibration session. The same configuration cannot be used with histogram-only cycles.

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While the rating will be visible on the right-side panel of the individual conversation:

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Create A Calibration Cycle

Super Admins can create a calibration cycle. The cycle is used to group together all calibration data across a period of time and will use data from a single conversation cycle. The calibration cycle needs to be created in the Admin module before it will appear in the Calibration module:

Admin → Program Management → Calibration → Cycles → Add Calibration cycle

1. When naming the cycle, we recommend a naming system that makes the cycle easy to identify, such as including the year and quarter and referencing the name of the conversation template that will be used to source employee calibration data (i.e. "Q4-2022 Talent Planning"). 

2. Once you've named the cycle, review the start and end date of the cycle and amend if required.

Note: These dates are for reference purposes only.

3. Select the calibration template that was created for your organization.

4. Select the conversation template and cycle that was used to collect data for calibration purposes.

5. Mapping informs the Calibration module which conversation questions to use during the calibration process, if any. The "Map to Talent Record Field'' is often used with a manager's confidential questions (as opposed to questions that the direct report can see). Mapping questions when manager access is enabled may expose answers to managers who were not given permission to view them when the conversation was created.

Note: Questions that use the multi-select answer type cannot be mapped.

6. Update ratings from their default scale and value options to best match Calibration program needs. Ratings that have been mapped in Step 5 above cannot be updated and will be disabled and labeled for reference. Ratings that are associated with a matrix must have a number of scale range options that meet minimum axis dimensions.

7. Save.

Note: Deleting a cycle will delete all of the associated calibration data.

Talent Records Table

For each question in Step 5 or rating in Step 6 in Create A Calibration Cycle, decide if you'd like the data to be used during a calibration session and choose the closest match from the list of available talent fields:

Talent Record Field Possible conversation question Conversation Answer Type Notes
Compensation Raise Please enter the recommended dollar amount of this person’s salary increase Paragraph  
Compensation Raise % Please enter the recommended salary increase as a percentage for this person Paragraph  
Development Opportunities List skills, experiences, or ways in which this person can develop further.
What development is needed to help this employee reach their potential?
Paragraph  
Employee's Critical Skills What are the employee's strengths to leverage? Paragraph  
Employee Comments Can be any data you want to capture and read during a calibration session (i.e. does the person want a promotion, lateral move or to stay where they are)? Paragraph  
Employee Performance Rating Looking back over the past 6 months, how do you rate your own performance? Scale or Star Rating Is always read-only in calibration.
Impact of Loss If this person gave their two weeks' notice, how would you rate their departure's effect on the business? Scale (Low, Medium, High) Can be more than 3 choices. Can be any text.
Manager Comments Can be any data you want to capture and read during a calibration session. Paragraph  
Manager Performance Rating Looking back over the past 6 months, how do you rate this person’s performance? Scale or Star Rating List worst to best. Can be any text.
Nominate for Internal Mobility Should this person be considered for a lateral move or secondment? Scale (No/Yes) Can only be No and Yes as options. No must be first.
Nominate as Mentor Should this person be considered for our Mentorship Program? Scale (No/Yes) Can only be No and Yes as options. No must be first.
Nominate for Special Program Should this person be considered for our Leadership Program? (or any other program you run) Scale (No/Yes) Can only be No and Yes as options. No must be first.
Open to Fellowships Should this person be encouraged to apply for a fellowship? Scale (No/Yes) Can only be No and Yes as options. No must be first.
Open to Relocating Would this person consider moving to another State or Country for the right role? Scale (No/Yes) Can only be No and Yes as options. No must be first.
Potential Next Roles What is the potential next role(s) that could help this employee realize their potential? (job title or short description of role) Paragraph  
Potential Rating Looking forward to the next 6-12 months, how do you rate this person’s potential to excel in their current role? Scale or Star Rating List worst to best. Can be any text.
Promote Is this person ready for promotion? Scale (No/Yes) Can only be No and Yes as options. No must be first.
Promotion Rationale Why should this person be promoted to the next level? Paragraph  
Promote To (Role) What role should this person be promoted to? Paragraph  
Risk of Loss How likely is it that this person will leave the organization soon? Scale (Low, Medium, High) Can be more than 3 choices. Can be any text.

Use this spreadsheet as a guide with your Program Architect to communicate your required calibration design. Many items are configurable and the spreadsheet helps with clear communication of your preferences.

Note: There is also an option to hide the matrix and/or histogram for calibration cycles. However, this option is not enabled automatically and should be discussed in more detail with your Program Architect.

 

Matrix Customization

With calibration through Betterworks, your organization is not restricted to the standard 9 box (3x3). You can set your matrix up as a 3 box (3x1) up to a 25 box (5x5):

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Enable the Calibration Lock Flag

The calibration lock flag prevents users that are not Super Admins from making changes within a calibration cycle:

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This flag can be turned on/off at any time. While the calibration cycle is locked, Super Admins can still make changes within the calibration cycle. HR Admins (scope applied) and managers (if enabled) will be able to view sessions and export reports, but will not be able to make changes to the cycle or sessions including:

  • Changing ratings of employees
  • Adding comments
  • Changing the status of sessions
  • Creating sessions
  • Deleting sessions
  • Editing sessions

There will also be a lock icon by the calibration cycle name and on each associated session in the Calibration module:

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The session view will also display as locked:

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Process a Calibration Cycle

Once a cycle has been created and the conversation has started, it's possible to pull the conversation data into a cycle, so it can later be used in a session. However, the cycle needs to be processed or re-processed. In order to do this, go to:

Admin → Program Management → Calibration → Cycles → ... → Process (or Re-Process)

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Processing a Calibration Cycle will populate saved, submitted, and shared Conversation Answers for any questions mapped to a Talent Record Field. A cycle can be re-processed to populate new (previously blank) Conversation data.
 
Note: Data populated within a Calibration session will reflect Conversation Answers (saved, submitted, or shared) existing upon initial processing.
  • Edits to Conversation Answers mapped to the Talent Record Fields of “Employee Performance Rating,” “Manager Performance Rating” or “Potential Rating” will be reflected within Calibration sessions upon re-processing. Conversation data for all other fields, including Calibrated Performance Rating and Calibrated Potential Rating will not be overwritten.
  • Deactivated managers:
    • Manager status is not considered when transmitting conversation data to calibration. This ensures that talent records are created for all active direct reports included in conversations that are processed to calibration.
  • Additional contributors:
    • Additional contributor responses are not considered when transmitting conversation data to calibration. This ensures that talent record fields are populated by manager and direct report responses only.

Note: Processing or re-processing a cycle does not override any data that was created during a calibration session.

Running Calibration

A calibration session can only be created and used by a Super Admin or an HR Admin (scope applied). When a date has been set to meet with managers to discuss employees, a session is created to facilitate those discussions and record any changes or decisions from that meeting. Managers can be added to sessions to review their employees ahead of meetings with HR Admins if enabled for the organization.

To run a calibration session you will need to:

1. Create a calibration session detailing who will be calibrated and when.
2. Conduct a calibration session on your computer and record:

  • Decisions made about an employee such as performance ratings, eligibility for promotion, or compensation increase. These can be added as notes.
  • Any additional notes about why an employee's data was amended, to keep track of changes and refer to later if needed.

3. Complete the session and advise managers of any changes made or export reports if required.

Create A Calibration Session

Note: HR Admins cannot include users that are outside of their scope in a calibration session. For example, if Jane Doe's scope only covers the Finance department, she cannot include users from the Engineering department in her calibration session.

A calibration session is an event that is recorded in Betterworks, usually a meeting that is held with people managers to discuss the performance or potential of employees. A session must be created in Betterworks to collate conversation data and display it in a grid for use during the meeting.
Sessions can be conducted by HR Admin (scope applied) acting as Facilitators, Managers acting as Reviewers of their reporting downline, or both.
To create a session:

1. Go to the Calibration module.

2. Review the cycles listed and find the correct cycle.

3. Click the "Create New Session" button at the top-right of the page.

4. Enter a name for the session. Use a name that indicates the group of employees being discussed (i.e. department name or manager name)

5. Select a start and end date for the session.

  • Note: These dates are for reference purposes only.

6. Use the "Subjects" tab to locate the managers whose employees will be included in the session. All of their direct reports will be included as the subjects of the calibration session.

7. For each manager selected, choose if only their direct reports are to be discussed or choose specific levels below them to include more people within their reporting downline.

8. Consider if anyone who reports or rolls up to the manager select should be excluded (i.e. contractors, interns, new hires, employees going on long-term leave, etc.).

9. Use the “Exclude” tab to add any additional employees to exclude. Managers of subjects are excluded automatically to prevent them from viewing their own talent records within the session.

10. Use the “Reviewers” tab to add the managers whose employees are included in the session as Reviewers who can view or edit those employee talent records.

11. Reviewers can only view their reporting downline within a session. They cannot create or edit sessions.

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Note: If a user is deactivated after a calibration session has been created, they cannot be removed. However, their name will display in italics, differentiating them from the active users.

Conduct A Calibration Session

Once a session has been created, it can be viewed by Super Admins, HR Admins (scope applied), or managers (if enabled) and used to focus the talent planning discussion. Any changes or notes can be added to the Betterworks session to record decisions made.

1. Click the session name on the calibration page to open the grid and list of employees to be discussed.

2. See if any were unrated as part of the conversation cycle. Click the "Unrated" box and review these employees, completing each field in the table about them.

3. View and discuss the spread of people being allocated to each box on the grid. You can click into each box to see the people who have been assigned to that box listed in the table beneath the grid.

4. Discuss each employee's ratings and make changes if needed in the table below the matrix. You can also move employees into a new box by clicking their row in the table, then using their photo in the matrix to drag and drop them to a new location.

5. When editing an employee's data on a row in the table, any changes will be automatically saved and tracked in the decision log. This includes dragging and dropping employees in the matrix.

6. When an employee's data has been changed, a blue checkmark will display near their name to indicate that edits were made.

7. When all employees have been discussed and the session has ended, the Super Admin or HR Admin (scope applied) can click "Complete Session" to mark the status of the session as complete. Managers will not see this button.

Note: The session can be reopened again if needed.

Cycle & Session Reports

To export calibration cycle data:

1. Go to the Admin module.

2. Click the "Program Management" tab.

3. Scroll down on the left-hand side until you see the "Calibration" heading.

4. Click "Cycles" to open the calibration cycles page.

5. Under the "Action" header, use the ellipsis to select:

  • "Export"
    • The administrator who is logged in will be sent an email containing a link to the report: Talent Records Export.

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  •  "Export by Matrix"
  •  "Send Manager Notifications"
    • Each manager with direct reports whose data was changed within any sessions in the cycle will be sent an email containing a link to the report: Calibration Summary Report, with details on what changed (including the before and after values).

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To export calibration session data:

1. Go to the Calibration module.

2. Select a cycle.

3. Under the "Action" header of the selected session, use the ellipsis to select "Export".

    • The logged-in user with access to the session will be sent an email containing a link to the report: Talent Records Export.

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4. Access the session view and click the "Export Talent Records by Box" icon at the top-right corner of the page.

  • The logged-in user accessing the session will be sent an email containing a link to the report: Talent Records Export by Box.

 

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Note: If employees are deactivated before a session is created, they will not be included as they’re no longer part of the org chart. If employees are deactivated during a session their names will be grayed out and italicized. However, they will not be automatically excluded as their talent records are part of the session record.

Talent Records Export

This report contains a row for each participant in the related conversation cycle and data about their calibration if they were included in a calibration cycle or session. The report can be exported at the cycle or the session level according to role.

The columns in the report are:

  • full_name
  • title
  • email
  • employee_id
  • user_id
    • Note: This is not the employee ID, but a separate user ID.
  • department
  • location
  • manager_name
  • manager_id
    • Note: This is not the employee ID, but a separate user ID.
  • comments_employee
  • comments_manager
  • compensation_raise
  • compensation_raise_percent
  • critical_skills
  • development_opportunities
  • fellowships
  • internal_mobility
  • label
  • nominate_as_mentor
  • potential_next_roles
  • promotion_promote
  • promotion_rationale
  • promotion_role
  • rating_loss_impact
  • rating_loss_risk
  • relocate
  • special_program
  • rating_performance_calibration
  • rating_performance_employee
  • rating_performance_manager
  • rating_potential_calibration
  • rating_potential_manager
  • decision_by_name
  • decision_by_id
  • latest session decided in
  • latest session created in
  • custom_talent_key_1
  • custom_talent_key_2
  • custom_talent_key_3
  • custom_talent_key_4
  • talent record comments

Talent Records Export By Box

This is not the same as the Talent Record Export Report and rather distributes each talent record into a separate spreadsheet tab based on the matrix box. The report can be exported at the cycle or the session level according to role.

The columns in the report are:

  • Employee ID
  • Email
  • First Name
  • Last Name
  • Manager Name
  • Title
  • Box Number
  • Label
  • Talent record comments
    • Note: This is for the calibration comments field, not the text modal for notes.
  • Custom labels from custom fields 01-05 in the user data upload
    • Note: There will be more labels if you've added additional custom fields.

Calibration Summary Report

This report can be run at the cycle level so that each manager with direct reports whose data was changed will be sent an email with details on what changed (including the before and after values).

The columns in the report are:

  • employee
  • title
  • department
  • manager
  • changed_field
  • old_value
  • new_value
  • session_name
  • decision_by
  • modified_date

Decisions Log

This feature enables calibration facilitators and reviewers to view changes to employee talent records. A field at the end of the talent record table will have a clock icon which, when clicked, will open the Decisions Log:

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Note: If changed, the text area type talent keys will only say "changed".

 

Additional Resources

We have two related courses available at Betterworks University:

We also have a downloadable guide:

Note: If you're not automatically redirected to the source, log into your Betterworks account, click your name at the top-right corner of any page and select "Get Training" from the drop-down menu.