Talent Management

Talent Management: The 9 box grid



Employees are classified into nine groups based on their performance and potential in the 9 box grid, a well-known talent management technique.

Managers frequently consider two factors while evaluating employee performance. The first is how well they are performing right now, and the second is how well they are projected to perform in the future. The 9-box grid is a framework that aids in the management of all personnel in a company.

How to Make a Nine-Box Grid

Creating your own 9-box grid entails evaluating each employee’s performance and potential before combining it all.

Performance Evaluation 

Performance boxes range from low to moderate to high. Managers can use the information gathered and score employees on this scale using your performance management system. This structure can be used:

  1. Low efficiency. The employee does not meet the job criteria and fails to meet their specific goals.
  2. Moderately successful performance. Employees only partially match the job needs and their personal goals.
  3. Exceptional performance. Employees satisfy all job criteria as well as their personal goals.

This structure is based on a clear job description and how your person meets the position’s requirements. Other firms prefer to evaluate performance based on other aspects such as personal goals, teamwork, and 360-degree feedback findings.

Identifying Potential

The next phase evaluates the potential, graded similarly to performance—low, medium, and high. However, rather than just tracking performance, analysing potential uses the information from performance reviews to decide if individuals are currently performing at their full potential, maybe developed in their current function, or are eligible for the promotion.

Consider the following scenario:

  1. Potential is limited. The employee is working at maximum capacity and is not likely to improve, either due to a lack of motivation or because they are at total capacity.
  2. The potential is moderate. The employee can advance in their current position. This can be in terms of skill, but it can also be in terms of performance.
  3. Exceptional potential. The employee is eligible for advancement either right away or in two to three years.

Even though the technique is the same, assessing potential is fundamentally different from rating performance. Employees categorised as having limited potential may already be operating at maximum capacity, which is required for their current employment. This isn’t to say they’re a horrible hire; it just implies they’re unlikely to become part of your management team in the future. On the other hand, if an employee has high potential but is in a low or moderate position, experience obtained via development and goal planning could put them on the fast track to promotion in two to three years.

Putting everything together

After both performance and potential have been evaluated, they are plotted on a 9-box grid. As a result, managers and HR have a clear picture of where each employee stands according to the talent matrix. The finest thing is that employees’ performance and potential can be assessed using any performance evaluation technique.

The 9 Box Grid Quadrants and What They Mean

The advantage of employing a 9 box grid is that you can instantly see where your employees stand once they’ve been plotted. For example, tasks may be performed if all of your staff are in the bottom row, but future growth is constrained. If any of your employees are in the upper right, on the other hand, they may start looking for jobs elsewhere if you aren’t meeting their professional objectives.

High Potential Diamond in the Rough:
These employees may be awesome but face some problems.
High Potential:
Good performer that may easily go to next level.
Always performs well, thinks big and is a problem solver.
Moderate Potential On the Fence:
Needs development or coaching.
Solid Players:
May have more responsibilities but need people management training.
High Performers:
They always perform well but may need to set goals.
Low Potential Bad Hires:
Reassign, terminate, or demote.
Good performer but may have acquired the career potential.
Great at their job but no desire to expand the skills
Under Performer Moderate Performer High Performer

Employers can examine each of these quadrants to decide what actions are required.

Set up coaching sessions for employees with low potential to assist them in becoming more innovative and improving communication and delegating abilities. Medium-potential employees may require assistance in establishing more strategic goals that are more focused on the broader picture. Employees with high potential must be prepared to advance in their careers.



Many firms execute 9-Box once a year; however due to the increased frequency of review cycles, Performance Culture and its matrix should be changed more frequently.

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