How to use 9-box grid for your performance management

To evaluate your employees’ performance with precision and fairness, it is essential to keep your team motivated and retain the best talents. After all, you need to be able to tell a potential future leader apart from someone who’s not adding value to the team in order to keep your business heading upwards.

There are many tools and methods that help teams handle human resources management, and one you should consider using is the 9-box performance grid (also known as 9-box matrix).

Are you already familiar with this concept? Check out how you can use Pipefy to manage your 9-box grid process

What is the 9-box performance grid?

This technique is ideal to track your team members’ performances as well as their growth potential. It consists of a chart in which the X-axis refers to one’s current performance, and the Y-axis represents their potential.

9-box grid potential and performance

The idea is that managers and the HR department discuss and collaboratively fit every employee into one of the nine quadrants of the box grid. This should be conducted by several individuals who work with the person evaluated. This assures that the decision will be as just and unbiased as possible.

How—and why—should you use the 9-box grid?

If you use this talent management strategy, you can:

  • Visualize with clarity who are the people in your team with more room for improvement, who is worth retaining and who just won’t make the cut. It also works as an excellent tool for succession planning and employee development
  • This tool allows managers to evaluate their team members with transparency because it is a collaborative process. Discussing an employee’s performance may reveal a talent or a potential that managers hadn’t noticed before
  • The primary use for the 9-box grid is to plan for the future. If you map your talent pool’s potential and performance, you can project these talents’ development and promote it

Customize your experience

Some managers believe that “potential” is a vague measure because it is based on predictions of the future and because it is closely linked to how a person is performing in the present.

If you agree, don’t assume that the 9-box grid is not for you. If it makes sense for you and your company, you can change the y-axis to another measure that has more to do with your situation: resilience, adaptitude or agility, for instance.

How 9-box grid works

Be careful with the traps

Although the 9-box grid methodology is useful, it is easy to fall into traps while using it. You must avoid them, or can risk being unfair with your employees and even lose a vital team member if they don’t feel recognized.

Valuable advice

Do not use the 9-box grid to express your favoritism. We all have more affinity with some people rather than the others, but don’t let your relationships prejudice or favor anyone. When you fit someone in a box, do your best to be fair and accurate. Remember: you’re talking about someone else’s career.

Another point to keep in mind is that, even if someone was put in a square, said person can change. A proper evaluation is essential, but remember to reevaluate periodically.

Manage your employees’ evaluation with Pipefy

Did you know that you can also use Pipefy to apply this talent management method?

Pipefy is the work management tool specialized in reducing waste and uplifting the best out of your processes. Using our pre-modeled template, you can organize evaluations for each team member, visualize every employee in each case and export reports so that you can manage your talents with accuracy.

Check out our Performance Evaluation template and feel free to customize it, adapting it to your company’s preferences and needs.

Written by
Thais Macedo
With experience in journalism and Digital Marketing, Thaís loves writing, traveling and learning new things.