SAP SuccessFactors Calibration Part III – Create Calibration Sessions

In the previous two calibration related blogs, we learned how to configure the Calibration module in Provisioning, and we reviewed how to set up role-based permission, created a calibration template and defined the calibration settings.

Here we will explore the various ways to create a calibration session.  We will see how an admin may create one or more calibration sessions using the “Manage Calibration Sessions” tool.  We will also learn how an admin may create multiple sessions using the “Mass Create Calibration Sessions” tool. We will also review the methods a manager may use to create their own calibration session.

What is a Calibration Session?

Before we begin, let’s have a quick refresher. A calibration session is a forum where managers convene to discuss the performance of their employees to achieve agreement on fair, objective performance ratings. The session is used to compare performance ratings for those being calibrated, make changes to ratings, add comments, and review the outcomes of a given calibration cycle.

Manage Calibration Sessions

We will begin by looking at the options found within “Manage Calibration Sessions”. This role-based permission is granted to the admin role and to any role that will be responsible for creating or editing calibration sessions. An example of the overview screen is shown below.  Here new calibration sessions may be created, and existing sessions may be edited, cloned, deleted, or exported.

Manage Calibration Session Overview

For existing sessions, the name of each session displays with its associated calibration template, the session status, the number of subjects and participants and name of the facilitator. The session statuses include the following:

  • Set up – session has been created and validated but it has not been activated yet.
  • In Progress – session is activated, session is open and not finalized yet.
  • Approving  – phase between In Progress and Approved. Finalize button has been clicked but finalization has not completed yet.
  • Approved  – session is finalized, ratings are approved and session is complete.
  • Deactivated – an In Progress session that has been stopped.  Deactivating a session allows for changes to be made.  Sessions must be reactivated to return to In Progress status.  

It may be helpful to understand what validating and activating mean as well. After a session is created, it must be validated. The validation process checks to make sure subjects have performance forms and the forms are in the calibration step. If validation is successful, the session may be activated. Activating a session makes it ready for the facilitators, owners and participants to access the session to begin the calibration process.

There are also export, filter and search options. One or multiple sessions may be exported to an Excel workbook. There is a record for each subject which contains basic information about the session. The filter option is helpful to find a specific session when an organization has a large number of calibration sessions. Sessions can be filtered by name, status, facilitator or number of subjects or participants. There is also a search option, the admin can quickly find a session by typing a part of a calibration session name in the search box.

Create a Calibration Session

During the session creation process, you will identify the time-frame the session is applicable to and identify the calibration template being used.  You will also designate users to:

  • Run the session (Facilitator)
  • Act as back-up (Co-facilitator)
  • Own the session (Owner)
  • Provide input  (Participant)
  • Be calibrated (Subject)
  • Have access to all session data for a calibration template (Executive Reviewer)

The creation process involves three tabs:   Basic Info, People and Validation.

A new session may be created by clicking on the Create New button or cloning an existing session.  Cloning a session will create a copy of an existing session that you may use as a starting point to rename and make updates to.

Basic Info Tab

The Basic Info tab is shown in the example below.

Create Calibration Session – Basic Info

The Basic Info tab is used to name the session, identify the calibration template to associate the session with and to select the session owners and facilitators. Required fields are the session name, associated calibration template, and session owner(s).   

A session owner would be a manager with more than two levels reporting to them. A session may have multiple owners. The default setting is Select subjects and participants automatically according to the owners.”  When designating an owner, the direct reports of the owner automatically become the participants of the calibration session. Additionally, the direct reports to the participants become the subjects of the calibration session.

This setting will add the participants and subjects to the People list in the second tab.  Participants would be all users one level down from the owner. Subjects would include all users two levels down from the owner. 

The admin’s username defaults as the facilitator but this may be changed.  A second name added becomes the co-facilitator although a co-facilitator is not required.

It is possible to upload one attachment which would be visible in the calibration session.  Rating descriptions or distribution guidelines are examples of attachments that could be used.  

Planned activation date is the date that the session is activated and ready for use.  Session date is the start date of the calibration session and location is the where the session will take place.  These three fields are optional.  Save the tab with your entries and then go to the People tab.

People Tab

The People tab is used to add or edit participants and subjects for the session.  The People tab is divided into three sections: User Search, Search Results and Session Members as seen in the example below.  If the “Select subjects and participants automatically according to the owners” option was checked on the Basic Info tab, the session members will be populated in the far-right panel as seen in the example below.

People Tab

However, any of these names may be removed or additional ones added.  To add additional session subjects or participants, you may find names using a search by filter, group or org chart.

Search by Filter is the default search. The standard filters are Division, Department, Location, Name, Username and Job Code. The custom calibration filters added to the data model will be available as filter fields as well.   The search results display in the middle section of the tab.

Any employee that displays in the search results can be added as a participant of the session. The role-based permission for the user that is creating the session may only add subjects that are in the role’s target population. An example of the People tab is shown below.

Based on the selections that had been made on the Search Results Fields tab on “Manage Calibration Settings”, the search results section may have additional display fields available by clicking on the wheel icon.  The fields selected will then display as additional columns. Any of the default return fields may be deselected as well.

Display Options

Select a user in the search results section and click the “Actions” dropdown listing to add the name to the participants or subjects. This will populate the session members list in the far-right panel of the tab. An example is shown below.

Add Subjects or Participants

The session member panel displays the owners, participants and subjects. You may select one, many or all to names to remove from the session. An example is shown below.

Owners, Participants and Subjects

There is also a Send E-mail button on the People tab. Clicking this button will display a screen to create an e-mail.  The owners and participant names default into the “send to” address but the entries may be modified. There is also a subject and message area.

Validation Tab

After entering the session info on the Basic Info tab, selecting who will be part of the calibration session on the People tab and saving the session, the session must be validated.  This takes place on the third tab called Validation. This step must be completed in order to make the session ready for calibration.

On the Validation tab, the system completes a series of checks that includes verifying that every subject has a performance form and that each form is in the calibration step. Any errors are displayed and must be resolved before activating the session. Warning messages will not prevent validation. If validation fails because forms have not been routed to the calibration step yet, there will be a button that displays to move the forms to the calibration step. Once the forms have been routed and there are no other issues, “Validation finished.  No problems found.” message will display and the Activate button will be active as seen in the example below.

Validation Tab

Activating a session makes it available for the calibration session to begin. After clicking the Activate button, a confirmation popup displays to verify activation.  Once activated, an e-mail may be sent to the facilitator, owner and session participants.  The recipients, the pre-populated e-mail subject and message may be modified prior to sending.  The session status is now “In Progress”. The session is now available to all of the participants for review.  The facilitator would be able to start the calibration session as well.

This method of creating and activating calibration sessions is manageable when there are only a small number of sessions to create.  We will look at another tool that the admin may use to create, validate and activate calibration sessions in bulk.

Mass Create Calibration Sessions

There is a function that enables the admin to create multiple calibration sessions at once.  In addition, these multiple sessions may be validated and activated in mass.  The “Mass Create Calibration Sessions” tool is used. Using this feature assumes that the calibration settings have already been configured and the calibration template created. An example is shown below.

Mass Create Calibration Sessions

There are four steps to perform on this screen:  validate the import file, create sessions, validate sessions and activate sessions. The admin will receive an email after each step with with any errors or warnings. If there are any errors, they must be corrected before moving on the next step.

Step 1: Validate Import File

To start, the calibration file template must be downloaded. The template provides the file layout used to create the calibration sessions. Click “file template” seen in the introductory text at the top of the screen and open the CSV file. An example of the file is shown below.

Template to Upload Sessions

The file columns represent the same fields that are used when creating a calibration session manually via Manage Calibration Session. Create a row on the file for each calibration session that you wish to create. Similar to creating the calibration session manually, the same fields are required: session name, the calibration template associated with the session, and the session owner.

There are some fields that are worth mentioning.

If the Facilitator field is left blank, the system defaults the facilitator to the person who uploaded the file. If you wish to list a facilitator and co-facilitator, list each username in the same row separated by the bar delimiter “|”. 

The Session Owner field contains the username of the session owner.  If there are multiple owners, list each in the same cell separated by the bar delimiter.

If populating the date fields, the date format is based on the localized format of the user uploading the file. The file needs to use CVS format when uploading.

There is a checkbox option, “Select subjects and participants automatically according to the owners.” This is the same option available when creating a session manually. By enabling this option, all of the managers reporting to the owner identified on the file become participants in the session. Individual contributors reporting to the participants become the subjects. Enabling this option eliminates the need to individually identify the participants and subjects to include in a session.  Therefore, no entries are added in the participants and subjects columns.

The file may also contain rows for sessions that are not based on the owner’s org hierarchy. In this case, the participants and subjects must be entered on the file in the appropriate columns.

For each session, enter all of the participants in one cell separated by the bar delimiter. Similarly, enter all of the subjects in one cell separated by the bar delimiter. Continue to add rows to the file for each unique calibration session you wish to create. You may create sessions that use different calibration templates. An example of a file to load is shown below.

Sample Import File

Once the file is populated and saved, it must be uploaded and validated. The file needs to use CSV format when uploading. The validation checks for formatting issues or missing fields. An example of importing the file is shown below.

Import Mass Create Sessions File

After the file is validated, the admin will receive an e-mail with the status of the import.  For issues, the e-mail will contain validation errors. If there were any errors, the file must be corrected, saved, uploaded and validated again.

Step 2: Create Sessions

Once the file is validated successfully, the sessions may be created. The admin will need to return to the Mass Create Calibration Sessions tool to create the sessions. Make sure the file name is listed and click on the step 2 button, Create Sessions. The admin will receive an e-mail upon completion. If there are no errors, the sessions have been created and the status of each calibration session is now “Setup”. In the e-mail, the session ID for each session is listed and will need to be referenced when validating the sessions in step 3. An example is shown below.

Mass Create Job Status E-mail

If there are errors, make the corrections, save the file and repeat the step until it is successful.

Step 3: Validation Sessions

The admin will need to return to the Mass Create Calibration Sessions tool to validate the sessions. Make sure the file name is listed along with the session IDs from the e-mail from step 2. Click on the step 3 button, Validate Sessions. An example is shown below.

Validate Mass Sessions

The validation that occurs after the sessions are created checks the permissions, ensures that the subjects have forms, the forms are at the calibration step, and there are no inactive users. The admin will receive an e-mail with the status of the sessions.  If there are no errors, the session is ready to be activated. Only Setup or Deactivated status sessions may be validated.

Step 4: Activate Sessions

The admin will need to return to the Mass Create Calibration Sessions tool to activate the sessions. Make sure the file name is listed and click on the step 4 button, Activate Sessions. The admin will receive an email that shows if activation was successful. If so, the status for the sessions is “In Progress” and calibration sessions may begin.

Mass Delete Calibration Sessions

In a situation where calibration sessions need to be recreated, the existing sessions must first be deleted.  It is possible to delete the sessions in bulk. Facilitators and co-facilitators may delete sessions as long as these calibration roles have the delete permissions.  The permissions to delete In Progress sessions and Approved sessions was set on the Permissions tab in Manage Calibration Settings. Multiple sessions may be deleted at once by using the path Home menu and selecting Calibration.  All the sessions that the facilitator has permission will display. An example is shown below.

Delete Sessions

To mass delete sessions, the facilitator may select any or all sessions and click the trash can icon on the top right side of the screen.  Any sessions that cannot be deleted due to permissions will be listed in the confirmation popup. Any of the other sessions may be deleted, upon confirmation, the sessions are deleted and removed from the session list.

The facilitator may also use Manage Calibration Sessions to delete multiple sessions as shown below. However, each session must be selected and deleted individually. Sessions in any status may be deleted.

Delete Session using Manage Calibration Sessions

Manager Create Session

There is an option to permit managers to create calibration sessions for their own teams. “Enable Manager Calibration Session” would have to be enabled on the Global Settings tab of “Manage Calibration Settings” in order for this to work.

The manager would navigate to the Calibration page from the home menu.  As seen in the example below, the manager would see a “Create New” button to start a session directly on the Calibration sessions screen. 

Manager Create Session from Calibration

The manager would have to select the calibration template that is linked to the performance form to be calibrated, name the session and identify the number of levels to include. If the user is a high level manger, he will be prompted on how many levels to include in the session. For a manager with direct reports only, the only level option will be “Direct Reports“. An example is shown below.

Create Session

In order for a session to be created, all of the subjects must have the performance form associated with calibration template launched and each form must be in the calibration step. Otherwise an error message will popup. Using this method relies upon an admin creating the forms associated with the calibration template and routed the forms to the calibration step if necessary. If the forms are created and in the calibration step, the manager will go directly into the calibration session.

The manager will also have the ability to delete their session by going back to the Sessions tab in Calibration.

Manger Create from Team Overview

There is an additional feature that permits managers to create calibration sessions in the Team Overview page of Performance Management.  This feature only permits sessions to be created for a manager’s direct reports.

The following are required to use this feature:

  • Enable Team Overview Access Permission” is enabled in “Performance Management Feature Settings”.
  • Manager role has permission for Team Overview Access.
  • “Launch Calibration From PMv12 Team Overview” is enabled on the Global Settings tab of “Manage Calibration Settings”.
  • Manager Template” tab of “Manage Calibration Settings” identified the calibration template to use in PMv12 Team Overview page.
  • PM form being calibrated is associated with the calibration template in the Data tab of “Manage Calibration Templates”.

Performance forms have to be in the calibration step which is identical to the process for a manager creating a session directly in “Calibration”.  The manager would go to Performance>Team Overview.  The Calibration button will appear on the top right side of the screen as shown in the example below.

Create Calibration Sessions via Team Overview

Clicking the “Calibration” button  will open the calibration session. If forms are not yet in the calibration step, an error message will display. The manager would need to go back into the performance forms to complete the review step and submit them before the calibration session may be created. This could also be accomplished in Team Overview.

Wrap Up

We have now seen the methods to create and delete calibration sessions by both an admin and a manager.   In the next blog in the Calibration series, we will walk through the steps of a calibration session.  

An Introduction to 360 Evaluations in SAP SuccessFactors

As year-end approaches, it is common for many companies to take a second look at their employee performance and goal setting processes. In the past few weeks, I’ve been helping multiple companies revamp their employee performance processes. While some are just tweaking current forms and processes, others are considering including a new and often enlightening process – 360 evaluations.

What is a 360 evaluation?

The idea behind a 360 evaluation is to get a picture of how others view your performance from all angles. This means that in addition to getting feedback from your manager (top down), you also get feedback from your own direct reports (bottom-up), peers (side), and even external sources (vendors, business partners, customers, etc.).

Why do companies implement 360 evaluations?

Receiving feedback from a variety of sources helps create a more complete picture of how an employee is performing and/or perceived to be performing from different angles. 360 evaluations can help uncover trends and gaps in these different angles. For example, a manager may consider an employee a top performer, but when feedback is asked from peers or external sources on an anonymous basis, the employee might get different feedback (“He’s always on top of his own tasks, but sometimes at the expense of the team as a whole when we need his support”). Similarly, an employee may not be considered a top performer by a manager, but feedback from others could reveal a lot of solid performance feedback into which the manager never previously had sight (E.g. “She’s been so helpful in getting my career on the right path and helping me with work tasks at the expense of her own!”). Allowing this feedback to come to light can help employees and managers work to truly improve employee performance. We’ll take a look in a moment at how SAP SuccessFactors 360 evaluations aid in attaining this kind of feedback.

Walk-through of a 360 form in SAP SuccessFactors

360 forms are launched just like performance forms are. However, it is important to note that 360 forms use a separate screen for launching (don’t worry, this screen pretty much works the same as the other launch forms screen you are used to. After picking a target population, the admin can launch just like a normal performance form.

Search bar showing separate launch screen for 360 forms

360 forms will also show up in the performance inbox like other performance forms, but with a different icon. It is important to recognize that 360 forms use a template type than regular performance forms and get treated slightly differently in these respects.

View of Performance Inbox with both 360 and regular performance reviews

Once the first person in the route map gets the form (in this case the employee), they need to choose who will be involved in the evaluation. The system can be configured to default in people for categories like direct reports, manager, and peers.

Employee nominates raters step of 360 review

Users also have the option to add external participants as shown below by simply providing a first name, last name, and email and then choosing in what category the person should be included.

Adding an external participant

Once the user is finished adding participants, there is usually an approval step prior to the evaluations being sent out. Evaluations can be designed using sections similar to those you are used to seeing in a standard performance review form. There are sections for objectives, competencies, as well as an introduction and a section for the subject’s information. Unlike regular performance forms that can be configured heavily on the online editor in “Manage Templates”, 360 forms can only be fully setup by partners or SAP (though much of the config is done in the online editor).

For internal participants, the evaluation is sent to the user’s performance inbox like the typical performance reviews where they can then open the form as shown below.

360 Review Form Sent to Evaluator

In the case of external participants, after approval of the evaluators, an email is sent with a link that allows external users to access the form. This can be a security consideration for some organizations since the link is only as secure as the receiving email system.

After all evaluations have been completed, the form is put in the completed status and the employee / manger / etc can view the results depending on permission settings. You can see an example completed performance form below.

Completed Review showing Anonymous ratings

One key advantage of the 360 form in SuccessFactors over the typical annual performance review is that the 360 feedback comments and ratings can be made anonymous. Obviously the user would know who their manager is, or they might be able to derive who the other evaluators are based on category if there are only one or two – so the forms allow you to configure minimum counts in each category as well as rollups to combine categories to help keep anonymity. The user can click on the link for each reviewer to see the details of each review and create an HTML or PDF printout of the details as shown below.

Printed Detail of Individual Review Feedback

The form also has a nice detailed report showing the combined feedback comments and overall ratings by category. This can help the employee and manager understand where any gaps between self and manager evaluation ratings may exist along with other types of ratings from other categories. For examplem we can see below there is a large gap between the manager’s perception and the employee and other’s perception of “Prioritizing and Organizing Work”. Perhaps the manager is getting too much priority and the employee needs to focus on the work the team as a whole needs completed!

Wrap Up

After this quick walkthrough, hopefully you can now see the advantage of 360 forms as an insightful tool to get employee performance feedback from a variety of sources and understand what a typical end-to-end 360 process looks like.

For more information about 360 forms and other talent management modules in SAP SuccessFactors, check out our book here!

Do you need help implementing or changing your 360 form or other performance and goals processes? Contact us at

Configuring SAP SuccessFactors Calibration Part II – Instance Set Up

Basic Configuration of Calibration

As we learned in the blog, “Configuring SAP SuccessFactors Calibration Part I – Provisioning“, there are several steps to perform before we are ready to run a calibration session:

  • Enable Calibration in Provisioning
  • Configure Succession Data Model
  • Set role-based permission for Calibration access
  • Configure a data source template and route map
  • Enable calibration related e-mail notifications
  • Configure a calibration template
  • Configure calibration settings
  • Assign users to Executive Review role
  • Configure Calibration History Portlet in People Profile

In the previous blog, we talked about the settings to enable Calibration in Provisioning along with updates to make to the Succession Data Model. We will continue here with the role-based permissions to set up, the features to enable and the calibration configuration to be done in the instance.

Role-based Permissions for Calibration

Role-based permissions will need to be set for Calibration The types of permission needed include:

  1. Administrative – to configure and administer Calibration
  2. End user – to access calibration sessions and the Calibration History Portlet
  3. Reporting – to report on calibration related data

Role-based permissions (RBP) control who a user can see (target population), what features they have access to and what actions they may perform. We will need to set role-based permissions for the admin to configure and manage Calibration, set up e-mail notifications, configure the Calibration History Portlet on People Profile, create Calibration Alerts and create and run calibration activity reports.

You will need to decide which roles will perform calibration related administrative functions. The permissions could be divided between roles such as a system admin and an HR or Calibration admin. A system admin could set up the role-based permissions and configure the calibration settings. An HR/Calibration role could create and manage calibration sessions.

To set up the role-based permissions, choose the admin role that will be used to administer calibration. Within the Administrator Permissions section of the role permissions, find Manage Calibration. The table shown below contains the description of each of the calibration administrative features. Review these features if you think you would like to split the calibration administrative tasks across multiple permission roles.

Manage Calibration SessionsUsed to create and manage calibration sessions.
Manage Calibration SettingsTo configure what the roles within a calibration session may do and to identify fields that will appear within an employee search when creating a calibration session.  Also may choose which calibration template a manager may launch from Team Overview in Performance, and to set global settings for all calibration sessions.
Manage Calibration TemplatesTo create templates used for calibration sessions, to identify data source for ratings and define the views of the data and ratings during the sessions.  
Mass Create Calibration SessionsTo create multiple calibration sessions via spreadsheet import.
Manage Permissions for Executive ReviewTo identify the users that may access the Executive Review page for a calibration template.
OData API Calibration ExportTo access the Odata API calibration export.
Settings within Manage Calibration

Ad Hoc Reporting Permissions

The admin and HR manager roles could be granted permission to create and run calibration reports. Instead you may decide to create reports as the admin and then share the reports with HR managers to run for the groups that they support. In that case, grant Create Report access to the admin and Run Reports access to the HR manager. The Reports permissions are found within the User Permissions section of the role permissions.  The three calibration domains should be selected: Calibration, Calibration Activity and Calibration Org Chart Coverage.

End User Permission for Calibration Tab

You may grant the admin, HR manager and manager roles access to Calibration. After selecting the role to update, within the permission role details in the User Permissions section you will see Calibration.  To allow a role access to a calibration session, the Detailed Calibration Permissions and View Calibration Tab permissions should be set. The Detailed Calibration Permissions require a target population and identifies which users may be viewed in session. The View Calibration Tab grants access to the Calibration tab found in the Home menu. The permissions are found below.

User Permissions for Calibration Sessions

There is a caveat to the calibration permissions that we will review when discussing calibration settings. If a user is not assigned to a role with access to the Calibration tab, but is identified as a facilitator, owner or participant of a calibration session, they will have access to the session.  This gives the selected users access to the session through the Calibration tab in the Home menu listing without role-based permission.  Users identified as facilitators of a session will be able to run the session but not create additional sessions.  For any users that need to create sessions, the users should be assigned to a permission group that is tied to a permission role that has permission for “Manage Calibration Sessions”.

Make sure you have a role for all employees that contains General User Permission > Company Info Access and User Search.  Without this permission, a user would not be able to open a calibration session and search for users.

Role-based Permissions for Configuring the Calibration History Portlet on People Profile

If you are using the Calibration History Portlet in People Profile, make sure the admin role can manage employee files in order to configure the portlet. The role-based permission can be found within the role permissions under Administrator Permissions>Manage System Properties.

Role-based Permissions for Viewing Calibration History Portlet on People Profile

The admin, manager and HR manager roles may be granted access to the Calibration History Portlet on People Profile. To do this, open these roles to grant access to the Calibration History Portlet background element found under User Permissions>Employee Data as seen below.

Permission to Access Calibration History Portlet on People Profile

Access to view this portlet is not given to the employee role.

Before we dig in, it may be helpful to understand some calibration concepts.  Calibration can be thought of in terms of templates, views, roles and sessions. Let’s introduce and define them and then we will go into greater detail.

  • Calibration Template – defines the data source for the ratings, the settings, the views, and defines the executive review graphs. A calibration template is referenced by a calibration session which inherits all of the template settings.  
  • Calibration Views – identified in the calibration template and defines the various ways the subjects and their ratings data will display in a calibration session.
  • Calibration Sessions – defines who is being calibrated (subjects) and by whom (participants).  Defines the session owners and facilitators, session date and the calibration template used.
  • Calibration Roles – set in “Manage Calibration Settings” to define what each role can do during a session.

There are a few other features to enabled before we can begin the calibration set up.  We will start with the data source for the ratings being calibrated.  The data that may be used in calibration session is based on the data source defined in the calibration template. In the calibration template, the data sources may come from four sources: Performance Management, Employee Profile, Succession and Compensation. We will focus on the calibration of performance form ratings.

Configuring the Performance Review Template and Route Map

We have to make sure that the performance form template used for calibration has the necessary components. First, a manual rating must be configured in the form template for any of the ratings that you wish to calibrate (overall performance, overall potential, overall objective, or overall competency). Manual ratings are updated in the calibration session and also allow the drag and drop functionality which is an easy method for the facilitator to update ratings. If your performance form template has both calculated and manual ratings, manual ratings take precedent over calculated ratings.

The route map associated with the performance form template will need to have a dedicated step where calibration will occur. However, this step cannot be an iterative or signature step. Ideally the step will immediately follow the step where the manager enters the rating in the summary section. If you are using an existing performance form template with a step that goes to HR for review after the manager does the rating, this can be used for the calibration step and no route map changes will be needed. An example of the route map with a calibration step is shown below.

Route Map with Calibration Step

If your performance form template contains a Customized Weighted Rating summary section, make sure the calibration step occurs after the step where the calculation of the weighted rating is triggered.  

If you have to add a new step to the route map, the performance form template will also need to be updated to create permissions for the new step. Unless you want the role designated for the calibration step (HR manager) to be able to update the form while the forms are in the session, you can make all of the fields and sections “read only” for the HR role in the calibration step. The HR manager would not be able to edit the form from their Performance inbox in this step. Rating updates would be done solely in the calibration session and when finalized would update the performance form.

If you would like the performance form accessed and editable while in a calibration session, the HR role for the step would need “write” permissions for the rating fields. Without this permission, the performance form may still accessed during the calibration session but it will be read only.

If your existing performance form template contains an HR step after the manager assessment step, this can be used as the calibration step, provided it is not an iterative or signature step. Make sure the performance form template has the HR role with the read or write permissions that you wish to allow when accessing the form within Performance.

E-mail Notifications

There are calibration specific e-mails within the “E-Mail Notification Templates Settings” tool that may enabled.  Notifications may be sent at various points in the calibration process so you will need to decide which to turn on.  Four of the Calibration e-mail notifications that may be enabled via Email Notification Templates as shown in the table below.

Notify Calibration Participants to Submit RatingsNotify manager of upcoming calibration session and remind them to submit ratings so that forms can move to the calibration step.
Notify Calibration Participants of Session FinalizationNotify owners and participants the calibration session has been finalized.  This is a signal that the forms have final ratings and are available.
Notify Calibration Participants of Auto-Routed FormsNotify manager that a form was auto routed by admin or facilitator to get the forms to the calibration step.
Notify Calibration Participants of Session ActivationNotification to participants of upcoming calibration session.
Calibration E-mail Notifications

The additional notification, Notify Calibration Rating Changes during Session Finalization, is enabled within the Advanced tab ofManage Calibration Templates”. 

After Calibration has been enabled in Provisioning and the role-based permissions are granted, the admin will now see the calibration tools in Admin Center as shown below.

Calibration Tools

We will explain more about these tools starting with Manage Calibration Templates.

Manage Calibration Templates 

The Calibration Template defines the review period, data sources, and data views for any calibration sessions that are linked to it. The template is used to identify the data to calibrate and how data is presented.

One calibration template may be used for multiple calibration sessions, providing the data source is the same. Later when creating a calibration session, it has to be associated with a calibration template and will inherit all of settings from the template.

If you are going to be creating additional calibration sessions but need to calibrate ratings from a different performance form template from another data source, a new calibration template would need to be created.

A sample of the Manage Calibration Templates Overview page is shown below:

Manage Calibration Templates

Calibration templates are created, edited and deleted here. We will create a calibration template and review the settings that can be made.

Some columns of note:

  • Data Source for Calibration History Portlet – for each template, the checkmark will display in this column if the Calibration History Portlet is enabled on the Advanced tab.
  • Used in Sessions -a count of the number of calibration sessions using the calibration template.  Clicking the number will display the names of the calibration session associated the template.
  • Used in Talent Profile – displays a green checkmark if the template is a data source for the Talent Profile. Clicking on the green checkmark to disable.

Click on the “Create New” button to set up a new calibration template. We will walk through the tabs that are used to build the template.

Basic Info Tab

The first tab, Basic Info, is used to name the template and define its review period. Both entries are required. A sample of the tab is shown below.

Basic Info Tab

You will be unable to move to the next if these entries are not made.

Data Tab  

The Data tab is used to identify the data sources to calibrate.  Ratings to be calibrated may come from many sources: Performance, Compensation, and Employee Profile. Additionally talent flags may be calibrated. Although we are focusing on performance review ratings as our source, let’s look briefly at all the options. An example of the tab is shown below.

Data Tab

Once a data source selected, its section will expand in order to make additional selections.


Here the performance form template that will be the source of the ratings to calibrate should be selected. The associated route map will populate and the route map step where calibration should take place needs to be identified. Based on the performance form template selected, the rating types to calibrate will differ. Select which rating(s) should be calibrated.

Calculated and manual override ratings may be calibrated. If manual ratings are used in the performance form template, these ratings populate the calibration session. If the form template contains calculated ratings, the ratings need to be mapped to values from the rating scale.

In the example shown, performance was selected as the data source. The performance form template has an overall form rating and an overall potential rating. You may select either or both.

Performance Rating Source

Guidelines may be used to enforce alignment to the recommended ratings distribution. Based on the performance template rating scale, a percentage is set for each score. Guidelines can be optional or enforced.


Compensation may be calibrated for an employee’s compensation ratios. Any of the standard planning fields can be selected as can either the final range penetration or final compa-ratio benchmark.

Select the compensation template and the route map step where data can be used.  Like the performance form template, the Compensation template must have a single user or collaborative modify step. The template’s planning components and range groups display.  An example is shown below.

Compensation Data Source

The available planning components and range groups available for selection will vary based on the template but can include salary, bonus and stock elements. Once the elements are selected, the number of range groups (two to five) are set along with the percentages or amounts used for employee placement. Variable pay cannot be calibrated.

Employee Profile

Ratings in Employee Profile are based on elements that are configured in your data model. Possible ratings include overall objective rating, overall competency rating, overall potential rating, overall form rating, and two custom ratings. The calibration session will use ratings stored in Employee Profile that are effective during the review period defined on the Basic Info tab. An example is shown below.

Employee Profile as Data Source

Once the rating type is selected, rating guidelines may be set. Although decimal ratings are supported, they must be mapped to whole numbers. Rating changes made during the calibration session won’t display in Employee Profile until the calibration session is finalized unless the template is configured to display in-progress ratings.


If the standard talent flags, Risk of Loss, Impact of Loss and Reason for Leaving are defined in the data model, they may be included in a calibration session. Often these flags are used to plot on a 9-box. An example is shown below.

Talent Flags as Data Source

Selection of a flag allows distribution guidelines to be set.


The final option on the Data tab is “Others”.  Additional informational sources can be selected as reference within a calibration session. Options include to a subject’s development plan, learning activities, quick card, succession matrix report icons and CPM achievements. An example is shown below. These cannot be calibrated.

Data Available to View

Views Tab  

Based on the data sources and rating elements selected on the Data tab, multiple views of the calibration data may be created which allows different ways of looking at the employees during the calibration session. Multiple views of the data may be configured and each offers some different features. The view types are Dashboard, List View, Bin View, Matrix Grid, and Executive Review


The Dashboard view provides summarized data in a chart format.  An example is shown below.

Enable Dashboard View

When enabled, the Dashboard view is the first view that is seen when opening a calibration session. Any view, except for the list view, may be summarized into a chart.

List View

The calibration data displays in a table-like format. There is a row for each subject being calibrated.  You may update ratings, see ratings from other views, add comments, have access to employee data, compare subjects and mark subjects as discussed.

List View Options

There are checkboxes to enable in the List View:

  • Enable List View.  When enabled, the calibration session will display the List View.  It is recommended to enable this option.
  • Show Rating of Data Element in List View.   When enabled, the rating elements selected to  calibrate on the Data tab will display as columns in the List View.   For example, on the Data tab, if the selected performance form template has an overall rating, an overall competency rating and an overall goal rating to be calibrated, you will see a column for each rating type in the list view. It is recommended to enable this option.
  • Show Grid Cell Label in List View.   When enabled, all of the matrix view ratings will display as columns on the list view tab.  For example, if you create a matrix view for “Overall Goal Rating vs Overall Competency Rating”, you will see a column on the list view that shows where in the matrix the subject’s rating lies.

Select any additional fields to displays as columns in the List view. These are the standard user fields configured in the data model including the 15 custom fields .An example is shown below.

Display Fields

Bin View

The Bin view groups employees in buckets based on one rating element that is being calibrated. Select the rating element to be used as the “X” axis.  The rating elements to choose from are based on the data source(s) selected on the Data tab. Click on the “Add View” tab to create another calibration view. Additional Bin views may be created for any other single rating element.  An example is shown below.

Bin View Set Up

After providing a name for the view and identifying the calibration rating element to be used, there are some additional settings that may be enabled:

  • Show calculated rating in addition to manual rating (only applicable to Bin view).  When enabled, the view shows the calculated rating in addition to the manual rating. 
  • Enable Drag and Drop.  This option is available for manual performance form template ratings and Employee Profile ratings. You cannot drag and drop a calculated form rating. If there are only calculated ratings selected, the drag and drop option is disabled. Drag and drop is not available for compensation elements either.
  • Enforce comments on rating change.  Whenever a rating is changed in this view, a popup will display and a comment will need to be written to justify the change.
  • Show an extra column for bin view.   An additional rating column may be selected to display for a bin view.

If you choose an element for the “Y” axis as well, this is no longer a Bin view, it becomes a grid (matrix) view instead.

Matrix View

A matrix view plots two different rating sources against one another for a matrix placement of subjects. This is sometimes referred to as a “9-box”.  Like the bin view, drag and drop may be enabled as well as enforcing comments when a rating is changed. You may create multiple views varying the rating sources.

As soon as you select ratings for the “X” and “Y” axes, the screen expands and there are additional selections to make. An example is shown below.

Matrix View Set Up

Define the matrix grid cell labels and choose the pre-set colors. You may choose the pre-set colors based on the default colors set in your Succession settings. There is an option to add notes for each cell. These “inline” notes can be used to provide information for the calibration participants to get a better understanding of what each cell represents.  The intent is to help avoid unintentional bias.  An example of a matrix grid with colors, labels and inline notes is shown below.

Configured Matrix View

If you are going to use the same color codes as the matrix grid report in Succession, currently the background color of the placements in Matrix Grid view on Calibration sessions will show paler tones.

Advanced Tab 

The Advanced tab is used to enable some features that will apply to all calibration sessions associated with the calibration template. There are four sections in this tab where you will make selections to enable for your template.  An example is shown below.

Advanced Options

General Options  

General Options define some of the functionality within a calibration session. See the table below for the options that may be enabled.

General Options

There are two additional general options. Rules and thresholds. The Rules option will not appear unless business rules have been created to trigger calibration alerts. Here any calibration related business rules may be applied to the template. Business rules define scenarios that may cause bias. 

A threshold may be set to identify the number of subjects’ forms that will cause a background process when force routing and auto routing during finalization occurs. It is recommended to specify a number no larger than 50.  A threshold may also be set for the number of subjects that appear per page of a session. Filters must be used to view subjects above the maximum set.

Restrict Calibration Role Access by Target Population

Calibration sessions allow facilitators, owners, participants, and executive reviewers access to view information for all subjects being calibrated. Access for any selected calibration role may be limited to only subjects in their target population.

Comment on Change of Ratings

This option is used to identify the field required to enter when changing a rating.  During a calibration session, a popup with display and the user will be required to enter any of these options:

  • Authorized By – the name of the user who approved the rating change.
  • Reason Code – a dropdown list of reasons for the rating change.  A reason code picklist must be identified to use this option.
  • Comment – when a rating is changed within a calibration session, a comment must be entered. The character limit for the comment field is 4000 characters.

When “authorized by” or “reason code” is selected, either would be required entries with a comment optional.

Calibration History Portlet

If you have added the Calibration History Portlet background element to the data mode and granted permission to view this portlet, here you will select the rating types to display along with any matrix views. The options that you see listed are based on the performance form template that is the data source for the ratings. 

Options for Calibration History Portlet

Now that we have seen the Advanced Settings tab, let’s look at the Executive Review tab.

Executive Review Tab

This tab will only be visible if Executive Review was enabled. It can be enabled in Provisioning to make it available when creating the calibration template.  It may also be enabled in “Manage Calibration Settings”.

Executive Review provides aggregated graphs and session details for the template. This view provides a roll-up of calibration activity across all calibration sessions associated with the template. Executive Review provides aggregated graphs and session details across all calibration sessions associated with the template.   An example of the tab is shown below.

Executive Review Options

The Executive Review tab identifies the graphs and data that will appear on the Executive Review page for a calibration session.  All of the graphs or charts created from views of the calibration template can be aggregated. There is also the option to add “sensitive” data points to plot against ratings that have views created:

  • Gender
  • Risk of Loss
  • Impact of Loss
  • Reason for Leaving

If you make any calibration template changes once calibration sessions are created, the changes will take effect the sessions using the template. Now that the calibration template options have been reviewed. Let’s move on to some additional set up that is needed.

Manage Calibration Settings

The settings that will apply to all calibration sessions are identified within Manage Calibration Settings regardless of the calibration template used.  The settings are used by the admin to perform several functions:

  • Select action permissions for calibration session reviewers.
  • Select the calibration template for managers to launch from Team Overview.
  • Select the fields to display after a search while creating a session.
  • Select the tools available for Calibration.

The tool is comprised of four tabs:

  1. Permissions
  2. Manager Template (optional)
  3. Search Results Fields
  4. Global Settings

Permissions Tab

The Permissions tab identifies the actions (Read, Write, Finalize, Export, and Delete) that the various calibration roles may perform for both active and approved sessions. The calibration roles need to be assigned actions for In Progress and Approved calibration sessions. The users selected when a calibration session is created will have access to the session through the Home menu and will see the Calibration tab even if they do not have role-based permission to calibration.

Active sessions are those currently in progress while approved sessions have been finalized. The permissions granted for these roles are only applicable to Calibration.   An example of this tab is shown below:

Calibration Settings – Permissions

The calibration roles that are used within a session are:

  • The Facilitator is usually someone from HR that can be impartial.  The facilitator conducts the calibration session and leads the discussion.  The facilitator typically does the updating of the ratings and finalizes the session.   The facilitator may also create sessions if the RBP role for an HR manager has Manage Calibration Sessions permissions.
  • A Co-facilitator acts a backup to the facilitator.  This role will have the same permissions that the facilitator role has been assigned. Any permissions added or removed for the facilitator role will automatically be updated for the co-facilitator role.  The role is optional, you do not need to identify a co-facilitator.
  • A Calibration Subject is an employee that is being calibrated in the session.
  • A Session Participant is involved in the calibration session to make the rating decisions.  The role is usually assigned to managers of those being calibrated.
  • A Session Owner is a high-level manager who direct reports are participants in the calibration session.  The participants’ direct reports are being calibrated. 
  • An Executive Reviewer is a business or HR executive who needs summarized data across sessions. Users who are assigned this role get direct access to the sessions as well as the Executive Review summary page.  

The individuals who will be in these roles will be identified when creating the sessions. These roles are not related to role-based permissions. These roles are specific to Calibration. The Executive Reviewers are chosen in a separate function.

Action Permissions

Read, Write, Finalize, Export and Delete actions need to be set for each calibration role. The permissions can differ for active sessions and finalized sessions and you must explicitly assign the actions to the roles.  The absence of a permission prevents the role from performing the action.

Anyone assigned to a calibration role with Read permission will have access to the calibration session.  This means that a user without role-based permission for access to Calibration within the Home menu will be able to access the calibration session.

  • Read permission allows the role to see the calibration session but not make any updates to the ratings.
  • Write permission allows ratings to be updated within the session. Write permission is also needed for a role to create comments on an employee in a calibration session.
  • Export permission allows a role to download the session from any of the session views.  The session will download as an Excel file containing a separate tab for each view.
  • Delete permission allows a role to delete a calibration session. Only the facilitator and co-facilitator roles have the option to delete sessions.

Manager Template Tab

The Manager Template tab is used to identify which calibration template should launch for a manager in Team Overview in Performance. An example of the tab is shown below.

Select Manager Template

This tab will not be visible if “Launch Calibration From PMv12 Team Overview” was not enabled in Company Settings in Provisioning. You can also enable the setting on the Global Settings tab that we will review shortly. In order for it take effect, save the settings, go back to the Home page.When you go back into Manage Calibration Settings, the Manager Template tab will be visible.

Remember the calibration template is linked the performance form template that you selected in the Data tab of “Manage Calibration Templates”.  Therefore, when you launch the calibration session, the system will know which performance form template to access. If a calibration template is not selected, the Calibration button will not be enabled on Team Overview.

Search Results Fields Tab

The settings selected on the Search Results Fields tab are used on the People tab of Managing Calibration Sessions which will be discussed in a future blog. This tab is used to identify the fields to display after an employee search when creating a calibration session. Additional fields may added to the view after a search as well. An example of the tab is shown below.

Search Results Fields

The column on the far right, Make Default, is used to select fields that displays for each user in the search results when creating a session.

The “Include Field” column on the Search Results Field tab enables you to choose which additional fields you may add to the view after the search.

Global Settings

The selections made on the Global Settings tab apply to all calibration templates, sessions, and roles. This tab is used to make selections on how calibration will act for your instance. An example of the tab is shown below.

Global Settings

If some of these features are already enabled, that means that were already enabled in Provisioning. These settings will be applied to current and new calibration sessions, and calibration templates.   The description of these settings is shown in the table below.

Global Settings

Configuring Calibration Talent Card

The admin may edit sections of the Calibration Talent Card.  You may add standard sections or create custom sections. An example is shown below.

Update Calibration Talent Card

The Calibration Talent Card may be opened for a subject in a calibration session.

Manage Permissions for Executive Review

After creating a calibration session, you may determine which users should have access to the Executive Review page.  Permission is applicable to all calibration sessions that use a specific calibration template. An example of the tab is shown below.

Assign/Unassign Users to Executive Review Access

Any user selected will have access to data from all sessions tied to a calibration template.  They will get access to all of the sessions in addition to seeing the Executive Review page. They will see aggregated data and detail done to the subject level. Use this screen to remove access for any existing Executive Reviewers as well.

Calibration History Portlet

Any user selected will have access to data from all sessions tied to a calibration template.  They will get access to all of the sessions in addition to seeing the Executive Review page. They will see aggregated data and detail done to the subject level.

Adding Calibration History Portlet to People Profile

If the Calibration History Portlet background element was added to the data model and permission granted to this data for the admin, manager and HR manager roles, the portlet can be added to People Profile. Add the calibration history background element to People Profile using “Configure People Profile”. Typically this block is inserted in a talent portion section that managers have access to.

To select the ratings to appear in the portlet, go back to “Manage Calibration Templates” to find the template that you are going to reference in the portlet.  Go to the Advanced tab to find the Calibration History Portlet section. The rating options that are listed are based on the rating types that were selected on the Data tab and any matrix view results from the Views tabs.  Select the rating types that you wish to display in the portlet. You may include up to five rating types and three matrix views.

Calibration Home Page Tile

There are two standard Home page tiles for Calibration:  Calibration (Manager) and Calibration (Specialist).   The tiles share the same name (“Calibration”), act identically and provide a direct link to the Calibration sessions page. A user would never have both tiles. When enabled, managers will have access to the Calibration (Manager) tile and non-managers will have access to the Calibration (Specialist) tile.

A manager will see the calibration tile in the “My Team” section of their Home page.  Non-managers will see the calibration tile in the “My Specialty” section of their Home page.

To see the tile, permission to the calibration tab and to the Homepage V3 Tile Group Permissions are granted through role-based permissions.  For non-managers without access to the calibration tab, they would only be able to see the calibration tile if they are identified as a participant in a calibration session. 

To verify that the tiles are enabled, go to “Manage Home Page”. If the “Calibration (Manager)” tile is on the “Repository” or “Not Used” tab, click the dropdown arrow in the “Move To” column, select “Default” and save the settings.   An example is shown below.   This will automatically put the tile in the “My Team” section of the Home page.

Calibration Tile to Appear on Home Page

Moving the tile to the default tab will place it in the “My Team” section.  Next, find the  “Calibration (Specialist)” tile.  If the tile is on the “Repository” or “Not Used” tab, click the dropdown arrow in the “Move To” column, select “Default” and save the settings. The tile will appear in the default tab in the “My Specialty” section.  The tiles can also be moved to different sections of the Home page from any of the tabs by using the dropdown listing for “Select Section”. An example is shown below.

Move tile to Different Section of Home Page

Calibration Team Summary Tile

There is a standard summary tile available for managers called “Calibration Team Summary”.  To see this tile, the participant of the session must be the manager of the subjects. The Team Calibration Summary tile will only display if the data source of the session comes from a performance form. This tile may be hidden or displayed.  Also found within “Manage Home Page”, go to “To-Do Settings”. The list of the standard tiles will display as seen below.

Show Team Calibration Summary on Home Page

To hide this tile, move the toggle to “No” for the Team Calibration Summary tile and then save the settings.

Calibration Alerts

If Employee Central, MetaData Framework and Intelligent Services are enabled, Calibration Alerts may be set up. The alerts can be used to point out situations where bias could impact the evaluation of some subjects.  Calibration business rules may be created that trigger an alert in a calibration session when evaluating subjects. The alert would display when saving the session with a list of subjects that triggered the business rules.  The label of the alert message can identify the problem and the alert message can further explain the problem and offer possible solutions.

Typical alerts are:

  • Subject had a leave of absence which may have impacted their performance rating since they did not have a full twelve months of work to evaluate.
  • Subject had a noticeable reduction in their current year performance rating compared to the prior year rating.
  • Subject received very favorable ratings for prior years and has not been promoted.

When creating the business rules, up to three years’ worth of performance ratings may be compared.  This means three performance form templates can be identified when creating the business rules.   The business rules must then be linked to a calibration template.   Within “Manage Calibration Templates”, select the calibration template and on the Advanced tab, select the alert rules to apply.

The alert messages need to be created via Manage Data>Create New. An example is shown below.

Create Calibration Alert

External code, effective status localized header and localized description are required. The message should identify the issue and offer solutions (localized description).

Next, the business rules for the alerts must be configured and the triggers identified. Type and select “Configure Business Rules” in the search bar and click “Create New Rule”. As example is shown below. Up to three performance form templates can be referenced when creating a business rule.  

Create Calibration Alert Business Rule

Create an alert scenario using If/Then logic or True/False. Define how the system would respond if the “THEN” or “ELSE” option is met.  The calibration alert message created in the prior step must be referenced here. An example is shown below.

Tie Alert Message to Business Rule

Once the rules are created, they must be linked to a calibration template.  Go to “Manage Calibration Templates”.  Select the calibration template to add the rules to.  On the Advanced tab, select the alert rules from the Rules dropdown list.   An example is shown below.

Link Alerts to Calibration Template

All sessions linked the calibration template will use the alerts.

Wrap Up

The calibration template identified the data source for the ratings to be calibrated, defined the data views used for the calibration sessions, and enabled some general features. Next we configured the calibration settings.  The settings defined what each calibration participant role could do, determined search results fields and enabled global settings. If managers will be able to launch their own calibration sessions in Team Overview in Performance, we identified the calibration template to be used.  The features and settings are applicable to each calibration template and each calibration session. We also looked at some additional features to configure for Calibration.

Watch for the next blog in the series. We will create a calibration session.