Impact review cycles

If you have any questions about the Impact Review process, or need help in general, please Slack #ask-people-team

Impact Reviews explained

We create a high-performance culture at Sourcegraph by providing continuous, actionable, and direct feedback, both informally and formally. While we expect our Managers to provide ongoing feedback with Teammates year-round in 1:1 meetings and informally, we also provide formal feedback via our semi-annual “impact review” process, which takes place annually in February and August.

The purpose of this handbook page is to outline our formal semi-annual feedback review process, known as “impact reviews.” We refer to our semi-annual review process as “impact reviews” because they reveal the impact that you are making here at Sourcegraph.

To read more about how we provide continuous feedback and our performance improvement plan (PIP) process, please see our Teammate Development page.

When do they take place?

Formal performance reviews take place twice a year, aligning with our promotion and compensation review cycles.

On average, Teammates can expect to have their compensation increased for merit purposes once a year if they are meeting and/or exceeding expectations. Teammates can receive an increase twice a year if they are a top-performer, or if they have fallen below the 75th percentile of their respective compensation band.

  • 1st review period:
    • Launches February (corresponding promotion and/or pay increase goes into effect April 1st)
  • 2nd review period:
    • Launches August (corresponding promotion and/or pay increase goes into effect October 1st)

Who is eligible?

Teammates who have completed 4-months tenure in the given review period are eligible for the associated Impact Review cycle. See the eligibility guidelines for Merit and Promotions further below.

  • 1st review () eligibility rule
    • Must be hired on or before October 1st of the prior calendar year
  • 2nd review () eligibility rule
    • Must be hired on or before April 1st of the current calendar year

Who provides feedback?

During an Impact Review, you will be asked to give and receive the following reviews.

Reviews a Teammate gives:

  • Self-review: you will write a review of yourself, reflecting on your own contributions and how you’ve made an impact.
  • Upward review: you will write a review of your Manager, reflecting on how they’ve supported your development and what they can do to support you more effectively.

Reviews a Teammate receives:

  • Peer review: you will select and receive reviews from 2 Peers who can speak to your contributions and values alignment.
  • Manager review: your Manager will reflect on your contribution to your team, including how you’ve made an impact and embodied our values.

What we do with Impact Review feedback

Results from the semi-annual impact review process support the growth and development of our Teammates in the following ways:

Impact Review Schedule -

FEBRUARY Review Process Schedule (9 weeks total) (Review Period: August 1st to January 31st)

  • Phase 1: Select your reviewers
    • All Teams: to (1 week)
  • Phase 2: Self, Peer, & Upward Review Writing, Manager Review Writing
    • All Teams: to (6 weeks) - We added 2 extra weeks for buffer because we know this is a busy time!
  • Phase 3: People Partners meet with Managers (to calibrate on: performance, promotion eligibility, and merit increases)
    • All Teams: to (2 weeks)
    • Engineering Team Extension: to (3 weeks; the extra week accommodates for the starship launch)
  • Phase 4: Impact Review Cycle Ends
    • All Teams: Impact review results (and corresponding promotion & compensation increases) communicated the week of ; Compensation changes will be backdated to
    • Engineering Team Extension: Impact review results (and corresponding promotion & compensation increases) communicated the week of ; Compensation changes will be backdated to

Enablement Schedule

  • Weekly starting Feb 1: 2x weekly open Office Hours with the People Team.
    • We’re here to answer any questions from writing reviews, giving feedback, all things Lattice, and career growth conversations!
  • Feb 1: Handbook Update - Writing great reviews: example reviews for each category.
  • February 16th - Writing reviews workshop
  • March 16th - Calibration live training.
  • March 31st - Delivering feedback live training.

Impact Review process

How to select reviewers & submit your review

Once the review process begins, Teammates will receive reminders and communication through Lattice via Slack and Email.

Lattice resources:

Questions we ask in the Impact Review

Teammate self-review:

  1. Performance: Looking back over the past performance period, how would you rate your level of success in achieving your commitments or goals as it relates to your role and level? [Rating Scale: 1 Exceeded Expectations, 2 Met Expectations, 3 Below Expectations] Please provide examples in the comment field that support your rating.
  2. Values: Looking back over the past performance period, how would you rate your level of success in showcasing our values? [Rating Scale: 1 Exceeded Expectations, 2 Met Expectations, 3 Below Expectations]. Please provide supporting examples in the comment field that best describe how you exhibited Sourcegraph values over the past performance period.
  3. Growth Opportunities: I have showcased the expected domain knowledge, skills, and execution in alignment with my role/level. [Rating Scale: 1 Strongly Agree, 2 Agree, 3 Disagree ] Please provide specific examples in the comment field that support what you should start, stop, or continue doing to amplify performance.
  4. Goal Setting: What goals are you setting for yourself over the next 6 months to be successful?
  5. Additional Feedback (Optional): Please share any additional feedback that may be helpful for your manager to review as a part of your self-review assessment.

Peer review:

  1. Performance: This teammate consistently delivers quality work in line with their role/level. [Rating Scale: 1 Exceeded Expectations, 2 Met Expectations, 3 Below Expectations] Please provide specific examples in the comment field that supports how this teammate contributed to the success of a project, team, or initiative over the past review period.

    (Response is only visible to this teammate’s Manager)

  2. Values: This teammate consistently showcased our values over the past performance period. [Rating Scale: 1 Exceeded Expectations, 2 Met Expectations, 3 Below Expectations] Please provide supporting examples that best describe how this teammate exhibited Sourcegraph values over the past performance period.

    (Response is only visible to teammate’s Manager)

  3. Growth Opportunities: This teammate has showcased the expected domain knowledge, skills, and execution in alignment with their role/level. [Rating Scale: 1 Strongly Agree, 2 Agree, 3 Disagree] Please provide specific examples in the comment field that support what this teammate should start, stop, or continue doing to amplify performance.

    (Response is only visible to this teammate’s Manager)

  4. Goal Setting: How can this teammate better support you over the next 6 months?

    (Response is visible to this teammate)

  5. Additional Feedback (Optional): Please share any additional feedback that may help this teammate grow in the next review period.

    (Response is visible to this teammate)

Direct Report-to-Manager review (skip-level feedback):

  1. Performance: My manager enabled me to do my best work over the past review period. [Rating Scale: 1 Exceeded Expectations, 2 Met Expectations, 3 Below Expectations] Please provide specific examples in the comment field that supports if and how your manager enabled your success over the past review period.

    (Response is only visible to your Manager’s Manager. Your direct Manager will not see your responses.)

  2. Values: My manager consistently showcased our values over the past review period. [Rating Scale: 1 Exceeded Expectations, 2 Met Expectations, 3 Below Expectations] Please provide supporting examples that best describe if and how your manager exhibited Sourcegraph values over the past performance period.

    (Response is only visible to your Manager’s Manager. Your direct Manager will not see your responses.)

  3. Growth Opportunities: My Manager showcased the expected domain knowledge, skills, and execution required to effectively manage me. [Rating Scale: 1 Strongly Agree, 2 Agree, 3 Disagree] Please provide specific examples in the comment field that support what your manager should start, stop, or continue doing to amplify performance. (Response is only visible to your Manager’s Manager. Your direct Manager will not see your responses.)

  4. Goal Setting: What support do you need from your manager to be successful in the next 6-months?

    (Response is visible to your Manager)

  5. Additional Feedback (Optional): Please share any additional feedback that may help your manager grow in the next review period.

    (Response is visible to your Manager)

Manager-to-Direct Report review:

  1. Performance: What is this teammate’s 9-box performance (skill) score? [Rating Scale: 1 Exceeded Expectations, 2 Met Expectations, 3 Below Expectations] Please provide supporting examples regarding accomplishments, role/skill execution, and other feedback reflective of the past review period.

  2. Values: What is this teammate’s 9-box values score? [Rating Scale: 1 Exceeded Expectations, 2 Met Expectations, 3 Below Expectations] Please provide supporting examples that best describe how this teammate exhibited Sourcegraph values over the past performance period.

  3. Growth Opportunities: This Teammate has showcased the expected domain knowledge, skills, and execution in alignment with their role/level. [Rating Scale: 1 Strongly Agree, 2 Agree, 3 Disagree] Please provide specific examples in the comment field that support what this teammate should start, stop, or continue doing to amplify performance.

  4. Goal Setting: What goals do you want this teammate to achieve over the next 6 months?

  5. Promotion Readiness: I am recommending this teammate for promotion. [Yes/No]

    (Response is not visible to teammate and will only be used as part of calibration)

  6. Additional Feedback (Optional): Please share any additional feedback that may help this teammate grow in the next review period.

The Talent Assessment using the 9-box

In addition to asking the above questions during the Impact Review process, we also ask our Managers to submit a Talent Assessment score in alignment with our 9-box guidance.

9-BOX VISUAL

Combined with the Impact Review Feedback, the Talent Assessment framework helps:

  • Support Teammates career progression
  • Calibrate promotion readiness and succession planning
  • Connect Teammates to development opportunities
  • Reduce bias in the calibration process and fosters transparency
  • Recognize top talent cross-functionally

How we evaluate performance using a 9-box

Teammate performance is evaluated through two complementary lenses:

    1. Your performance in your role (skill)
    1. Your embodiment of the Sourcegraph Values

The overall Performance Rating is a combination of Skills and Values-based performance.

Rating definitions

Your skill-based rating is directly tied to outcomes and indicates how well you execute across the spectrum of core competencies in your role/level, over the review period. Your values-based rating indicates how well you exhibited our company values over the review period. Teammates, regardless of level, are expected to be leaders in our values. Those who demonstrate the most impact at Sourcegraph will not only regularly move the company forward through the work they complete, but will also do so in a way that exemplifies our values.

You will receive a Performance Rating and a Values Rating, as well as a written review document from your Manager summarizing your achievements, strengths, and development areas.

We do not stack rank Teammates but, rather, calibrate across the organization to achieve anticipated rating distributions. While we do not force distribution, we anticipate the following Teammate distribution, on average:

  • Exceeding High Bar
    • Score: 1:1, 1:2 or 2:1
    • Skill: your contributions consistently raise the high bar set for individuals at your level; your execution, both individually and cross-functionally, is consistently excellent.
    • Values: exceeds in many, exhibits all, deficient in none.
    • Expected distribution: ~20% of Teammates will fall in the “Exceeding High Bar” (high performance) category.
    • Recommended merit increase: 7.5-10%
    • Merit increase frequency: Teammates rated as “Exceeding High Bar” are eligible to receive a compensation increase every impact review cycle, meaning someone consistently rated “Top Tier” could receive an increase every 6 months. This allows us to directly reward top performance every period.
  • Meeting High Bar
    • Score: 2:2
    • Skill: your contributions are in line with expectations at your current level and sometimes exceed them; you are an essential part of the team.
    • Values: exceeds in some, exhibits most.
    • Expected distribution: ~70% of Teammates will fall in the “Highly Valued” (strong performance) category.
    • Recommended merit increase: 3-5%
    • Merit increase frequency: Teammates rated “Meeting High bar” will be eligible to receive a compensation increase annually, and this merit increase will be smaller than the “Top Tier” increase.
  • Not Meeting High Bar
    • Score: 3:1, 3:2, 2:3, 1:3 or 3:3
    • Skill: your contributions are below expectations for your current level and must immediately improve.
    • Values: exhibits some, lacks in some, deficient in some.
    • Expected distribution: ~10% of Teammates will fall in the “Not Meeting High Bar” category.
    • Recommended merit increase: 0%
    • Merit increase frequency: Teammates rated “Not Meeting High Bar” are not eligible for a compensation increase, and will need to improve immediately to continue at Sourcegraph.

Merit Philosophy

We believe in performance-based pay, meaning merit increases (inclusive of cash and equity) will be driven by performance. We believe in hiring all Teammates at an equitable starting point within their respective band and we want to provide opportunities for Teammates to grow within their salary band that is in alignment with their performance.

How we approach compensation decisions

Impact Reviews are an important component in our compensation decision making process. Our band entry points are market competitive, and we are committed to rewarding strong performance as part of our compensation program.

More information about our commitment to Pay Transparency and our overall compensation philosophy may be found in our how we pay at Sourcegraph Handbook page.

What is our eligibility process for merit increases?

To be eligible for a merit increase, a Teammate must have worked at least 4-months in that given review period and have received a Skill and Values-based performance rating of at least “2” in both areas.

Teammates can receive increases 2x per year for exceptional performance (9-box score: “Exceeding High Bar”), but the expectation is that Teammates receive a comp review 1x per year if they are scores “Meeting High Bar” or above.

How do we determine merit increases?

The recommendation will be calibrated by Leadership and their respective People Partner. The calibration will consider:

  • The Teammate’s performance as calibrated in the Impact Review cycle.
  • The appropriate pay level within the range for the Teammate, considering their performance and the performance of others in the same range.
  • Available pay increase budget.
  • Recommendations by Leadership, as approved by Finance and the Executive Team.

What is the approval process for merit increases?

Merit increases require the recommendation of the Teammate’s immediate Manager and the approval of the VP of People & Talent. Teammates will be notified of their merit increase as soon as possible after all Teammate merit increases for the year have been approved.

Teammate performance is to be formally reviewed at least twice a year. The focus of the review is to discuss their performance for the rating period, review standards for the position, communicate the amount of any merit increase, and set goals for the next rating period.

What is the approval process for merit or promotion increases outside of a performance cycle?

In some cases, it may be necessary to support a merit increase outside of a performance review cycle. These should be rare and be seen as an “exception to the rule.” The Department Leader will need to present a business case for out-of-cycle merit-based salary adjustments, spot, and equity bonuses. All changes require VP People & Talent and CEO approval.

Promotion Philosophy

The purpose of our promotion philosophy is to support the growth & advancement of Teammates, in alignment with our values. Sourcegraph’s success is fueled by our incredible Teammates, which is why we foster a culture of continuous growth and accelerate opportunities to level up.

Promotion decisions are calibrated based on a Teammate’s achievements, execution at a higher job scope, and values alignment. The People Partner and Leadership Team are responsible for calibrating promotion nominations, in alignment with our Impact Review process and bi-annual promotion cadence.

Our Teammates can pursue promotion opportunities in two ways:

  • Through our promotion process to move up their specific Career Framework or Leadership track.
  • By applying and interviewing for open positions that are approved in our headcount plan. This type of promotion may occur outside of a review cycle, but eligibility is determined by prior Impact Assessment.

What criteria determines promotions?

The following criteria support promotions:

  • A Teammate is already performing at the next level or job scope prior to promotion.
  • The business need exists for the role to increase in job scope, or capacity requirements show additional headcount at a higher job scope is required (IC5+ and M4+).
  • The promotion decision is occurring at a justified and fair rate.

What is the promotion process & timeline?

We promote in alignment with our Impact Review process, to ensure Teammate growth opportunities are not delayed by extended cadence parameters. There are four core stages to the promotion process: Planning/Calibration, Recommendation-Approvals, Processing & Announcement.

How is the merit/promotion budget determined?

The merit and promotion budget is held at the Department Leader-level and allocated as part of the financial planning period. Department Leadership may have to work with Finance to make a business case based on potential tradeoffs if divisions/departments are over/under budget during the calibration cycle.

Teammate enablement

Writing effective feedback & self reviews

Self reviews and peer feedback are crucial inputs to our bi-annual 360 Impact Review Cycle. Effective feedback is specific, and actionable. Great examples of accomplishments include a brief outline of the situation, response to the situation, and overall impact of the result.

To create great examples, we recommend using the Situation-Behavior-Impact (SBI) model to write effective reviews. Visit our Handbook page on writing effective reveiws

Your manager is also a great resource if you have any questions about how to write your self review or give feedback to a teammate.

Teammate FAQ

Q. Are Impact Reviews required for all Teammates?

  • Yes. It is important for all eligible Teammates to complete bi-annual performance reviews. Impact Reviews give Teammates the chance to receive written feedback, evaluate needs for training and development, define expectations, highlight progress, and set new goals for the following review period. Impact Reviews promote productivity and effectiveness, as well as personal development. Promotion and Compensation calibrations require completed Impact Review submissions.

Q: How do I know if I’m eligible for an Impact Review

  • All Teammates who have been here 4+ months are eligible for an Impact Review.

Q: How do I know if I’m eligible for a merit increase?

  • All Teammates who receive a 9-box rating of “exceeds high bar” are eligible for a compensation increase. All Teammates who receive a rating of “meets high bar” AND haven’t received a seperate compensation increase in the past 9-months are eligible for a compensation increase.

Q. How are Teammate ratings on Impact Reviews used?

  • Ratings on Impact Reviews are indicators of overall performance and are used as part of the calibration process to determine eligibility for Merit and Promotions. Merit increases will be awarded and differentiated amongst Teammates based on individual performance.

Q. How do I choose my peer reviewers?

Q. Can reviews be submitted outside of the predetermined Impact Review schedule?

  • No. All reviews must be submitted in alignment with the Impact Review schedule. This ensures accountability for all Teammates to submit reviews during the same period. We intentionally provided a significant runway for Peer Selection, Review Writing, and Calibration, so Teammates can prioritize each stage in alignment with their current workload. Managers are responsible for ensuring their teams are not missing submission deadlines. If an extension is needed for any reason, please contact the ask-people-team channel. All Teammates will receive a Calendar Invite in alignment with the review schedule.

Q. What changed from the prior Impact Review process?

  • We made several changes:
    • Cadence: We moved from a rolling cadence, to a bi-annual synchronous review period to reduce the operational burden and improve transparency regarding promotion and merit decisions.
    • Defined our Talent Assessment framework: Our new Skills and Values-based assessment framework is designed to enable transparent conversations between Managers and Teammates, ensuring a consistent, fair calibration process!
    • Embedded Career Frameworks: We updated/are updating ALL Career frameworks for each department. These will be directly in the Lattice via the Grow Feature as well as in the Handbook.
    • Improved Questions: We reduced the number of required questions - giving Teammates the flexibility to take control of how they communicate feedback, while optional questions guide Teammates to best reflect on the attributes that help them progress in their career.

Q. What if a Teammate is on leave during the review period?

  • If over the 6-month review period, there are fewer than 4-months of on-the-job performance to assess, the Teammate will retain the rating from the immediately previous cycle. Please reach out to your People Partner for questions related to Teammates on leave.

Q. What if a Teammate recently transferred in from another team or the Manager is new?

  • Depending on the timing of the transfer or the reporting Manager alignment, it may be appropriate for the prior Manager to conduct the Impact Review. If the Manager recently joined the organization, it is likely that both the new Manager and department head/interim Manager will complete the Impact Review. Please consult your People Partner to confirm the best course of action.

Q. I have a concern about the performance of a Teammate. What should I do?

  • Please discuss the circumstances with your Manager and/or People Partner. There should be no surprises in the Impact Review cycle as performance management is a continuous process.

Q. Is Impact Review training available for Managers and Teammates?

  • We are currently building out enablement content for both Managers and Teammates to support the full life cycle of our Impact Review process. This will be available once the review writing cycle begins. The People Team will also set up Office Hours prior to and during the review cycle!

Q. How should Teammates prepare to participate in an Impact Review?

  • Some basic tips for preparation include:

    • Keep notes on accomplishments, feedback, training, and challenges throughout the review period
    • Review your team career frameworks and solicit feedback from cross-functional partners
    • Prepare discussion points for the Impact Review conversation
  • We recommend using the Situation-Behavior-Impact (SBI) model to write effective reviews. Visit our Handbook page on writing effective reveiws

Q. Will my Impact Review be negatively impacted if I do not answer the optional questions?

  • No. Impact Review responses are evaluated based on quality, not quantity. We intentionally included optional questions to help guide Teammates to key discussion points as part of thoughtful self evaluation. If you choose to only submit the required answers, we recommend that you take a thoughtful approach to the examples you share.

Q. Who should Teammates reach out to with questions about the performance review process?


RESOURCES FOR MANAGERS

Leaders: Responsible for providing review feedback and calibrating Teammate performance within the timeline of the review cycle. Accountable for ensuring their team is on track to meet selection and feedback deadlines.

The Calibration process explained

Following the completion of self, peer and upward reviews, the below steps take place:

  • Step 1: The People Team will schedule calibrations sessions with leaders to review feedback and align on performance, promotion and merit recommendations. These will take place during the last two-weeks of the impact review process.

  • Step 2: The Manager has conversation with Teammate to deliver the results / feedback.

visual of steps

  • Step 3: Promotion or compensation increases go into effect. Promotion announcements are made via #teammate-announce channel.

What to expect in a calibration session

We hold a high and consistent bar for Impact Review calibrations to ensure they are fair across Managers, departments, and job levels. The process is meant to limit bias in the performance review process and ensure Managers agree on the criteria against which their direct reports are assessed on. Our People Team has a macro view of these sessions across the organization, so they will be able to provide valuable context and guidance to leaders to ensure an equitable review process.

What to expect:

The People Partners will facilitate calibration sessions. Learn more about how to prepare for calibration meetings

Delivering the review to Teammates

Each People Partner will coach Managers on how to deliver Teammate reviews.

Nothing should be a surprise: Performance and development topics (and more) should regularly be addressed in weekly 1:1s or other casual check-ins, meaning none of the topics discussed during a Teammate’s review should be a surprise. Teammates should have a good idea of what to expect and know Impact Reviews and calibration conversations improve the fairness of performance scores, so they can approach these conversations calmly and with an open mind.

Teammate development & coaching

At Sourcegraph, we empower high performers. Learn more about Teammate Development at Sourcegraph.

RESOURCES FOR PEOPLE TEAM

People Partners: Responsible for assuring Teammates and Managers have the required resources to guide successful review cycles and complete review milestones in a timely manner. Your People Partner will lead calibration sessions with leadership and provide coaching and guidance as needed to all Teammates.