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Talent Development

Content Maintainers
Megan Pittman
Annie Brown

Annual Review Cadence

Performance Reviews

Compensation Reviews & Promotion Cycles

Annual Review Cadence

🌏 Note that all dates below are formatted by US dates, so it will be MM/DD

Types of Review Cycles

There are two types of review cycles at dbt Labs.

  1. Performance Reviews

  2. Compensation Reviews & Promotion Cycles

Performance Reviews


ℹ️ Performance reviews happen every 6 months via Culture Amp (which can be accessed via your Okta portal). Culture Amp is our official system of record for performance and engagement. We have two types of performance review, a lite and full cycle. All performance reviews consist of a self reflection, upwards feedback (optional), and manager review. Only the full review cycle consists of peer feedback (optional).

  • Everyone will be requested to submit upwards feedback about their manager (and this will go to your skip level manager to see; it helps them write their assessment of your manager) however note this step is optional. Your skip level may share your written feedback with your manager.
  • At minimum, everyone needs to submit a self-reflection.
  • People managers must complete reviews for all eligible direct reports on their team
  • For peer reviews, we recommend partnering with your manager to select the most appropriate peers to share feedback about your performance. The individuals you ask have the option to accept or decline the request for review based on their proximity to your work or bandwidth to complete the feedback.


ℹ️ We believe in a continuous feedback culture at dbt Labs. The bi-annual performance reviews are meant to be an intentional check-in to ensure everyone is on track with regards to their development and growth path. You should also know, very clearly, how you are performing in your current role at the end of the review cycle. While an overview of how you are doing in your role is an element of the review meeting, it’s also an opportunity for us to learn about what aspects of the role you enjoy the most and how you would like to see your career grow. It should be a dedicated conversation around topics you might not be able to get to or dive in deep during your regular 1:1 meetings.

Meetings & Conversations

ℹ️ Managers are responsible for ensuring:

  • reviews are shared with each team member (please share the written reviews 1 day before the scheduled review meeting), and;
  • review meetings happen within the designated time frame.

For all individuals: this meeting will just be you and your manager (ideally, you’re just expanding an existing 1:1 to talk about reviews). If you’ve recently transitioned teams or managers, the manager who you reported to for the majority of the performance cycle will partner with your current manager to deliver your review.



Employees must be in role for 4 or more of the 6 month evaluation period to be evaluated.

Performance Definitions



ℹ️ Calibration sessions are held with department leaders and their People Business Partner. These sessions happen after reviews are written and before any meetings or feedback is shared with the team member.

Calibrations are a critical part of the Performance Review process. When done well, calibrations

  • (1) increase review accuracy. Unfortunately, one manager’s idea of a top performer might differ from another’s - a difference that can dramatically hurt one team and help another. Calibration ensures reviews are more consistent and accurate.
  • (2) Properly acknowledge and reward high performance. Once the bar is set, managers can evaluate employees with more certainty and ensure everyone on their team gets the recognition and reward they deserve.
  • (3) Reduce bias. When managers rate their direct reports in a vacuum, they can only compare their direct reports to other teammates or their own idea of what performance should be. Without a calibration discussion, a manager might let unconscious bias influence their decisions and prevent specific reports from receiving a fair review.

The calibration process generally operates this way:

  • All managers submit their performance review feedback and evaluations by the end of the written cycle deadline.

  • Leaders in each org meet as a group to calibrate on their ICs — this meeting is facilitated by the People Business Partner.

  • The e-team also receives all the evaluations and meets to review and discuss the performance review evaluation distribution across the org and their direct reports.

    Calibration involves comparing individual performance ratings against predefined standards and benchmarks, as well as aligning ratings across different evaluators or departments. In a standard performance review process, calibrations occur after managers write their employees’ reviews, but before those reviews are communicated to the employee. Prior to calibration sessions, senior leaders in each org should understand the feedback for all team members in their org. This may mean reviewing with a frontline manager on your team 1:1 to discuss their team, if they will not be included in the calibration session. Please work with your People Business Partner to determine who will be in the calibration session.


Check out our resources to support the performance review process.

Compensation Reviews & Promotion Cycles

📌 We offer promotion and compensation cycles twice a year, in Q2 and Q4. Any changes will be effective on 8/1 and 2/1 respectively, aligning with our fiscal halves. Having 2 cycles per year is meant to give ample opportunity to reward team members.

Please make sure to review our compensation principles in order to understand how we think about compensation at dbt Labs.

Compensation Reviews

As a general rule, every team member will be eligible for one merit compensation review per year*. The cycle each team member is included in will be the cycle closest to the start date of the role they are currently in. This will either be their start date with the company or the start date in a new role through promotion or internal mobility. See the table below to determine who is included in each cycle.

*Exceptions will be made very rarely with CFO and Head of People approval.

  • Overview of your compensation review based on start month:
Start MonthCycle Breakdown
NovemberQ4 (+1 year)
DecemberQ4 (+1 year)
  • We encourage team members to understand when their individual compensation review is so that they can prepare to have the conversations with their manager.

Process Overview

Ahead of the cycle, the People Business Partner and Compensation Team will produce a packet of all team members within the eligibility window for merit (minimum of 9 months since starting in their current role or 1 year since their last merit increase). The packet will also include merit budget and % recommendations based on performance.

Managers will propose merit increases for eligible team members. This process will be open for 2 weeks.

All merit increases must remain in the bounds of the compensation range for the role the team member is currently in.

All proposed increases will be reviewed in calibration meetings with leaders in each org to ensure internal equity and keeping in our budget. Any increases greater than 10% will need CFO approval.

Detailed schedule here.

Promotion Cycles

As a general rule, team members are eligible for a promotion if they meet a 1 year tenure guideline* AND have shown that they are ready for the next step in their career. This is up to the manager discretion.

*Exceptions will be made very rarely with CFO and Head of People approval.

Promotion Packets

In order to request a promotion, the manager is responsible for gathering:

➡️ We recommend gathering this feedback through 1:1 conversations and performance review feedback and compiling the notes to include in your “formal” packet.

1️⃣ at least 1 current peer review, providing feedback at their current level over, at least, the last 6 months,

2️⃣ at least 1 review from a peer at the level they would be promoted to focusing on areas where they are already contributing at the next level (*if there is no one at the new level, a member of that team’s leadership team should be included) to and,

3️⃣ a minimum of 3 reviews total to support the promotion application (*if the person up for promotion manages a team, the third review should be an upward review from a member of their team. Otherwise the 3rd review can be a statement of support from a member of that team’s leadership team).

We will create a promotion template in Culture Amp that includes:

  • Justification, if any, for a promotion into a more senior role: does the business or team need someone in an expanded role right now? Is there higher scope or needs that they are currently filling or doing? This should be especially important at the senior and staff level and above.

  • Impact to the business in the last 12 months: since folks get promoted no more frequently than once a year, we want to take their entire prior year into account when constructing promo packets. This should include quantitative impact statements, quotes from peers, customers, prior performance review data, etc.

  • Examples of how this person is ready for an expanded role: here, the manager describes behaviors that an individual has shown consistently that tell us they are already operating at the next level.

  • The following metadata will already exist in Culture Amp and will be pulled by the People Team:

    • A summary of ratings from the past 12 months of review cycles to paint a picture of the persons trajectory
    • Their tenure at company + time in current role

Promotions will be reviewed and approved in calibration sessions with each org.

Schedule & Time Commitment for Compensation & Promotion Reviews

Learn more about the schedule and logistics for our reviews here where you'll find the Q2 Compensation & Promotion Review Schedule and the Q4 Compensation & Promotion Review Schedule.