January 31, 2024 | SlideUpLift

9 Box Talent Review Explained [Detailed 9 Box Matrix Guide]

Learn the techniques for evaluating the performance of your employees or team members and assessing their potential for future growth and leadership roles. Understand what the 9 box talent review matrix is and how to create it. This blog will help you identify high-potential employees for development opportunities and succession planning while addressing performance issues.

Performance evaluations are essential for HR professionals because they allow them to assist individuals in reaching their maximum potential early on. However, abstract notions like initiative and employee involvement are part of performance management across a larger workforce. It is difficult to measure these intangible aspects.

Still, organizations also need to have a good plan because different people perceive performance measures differently. These are the issues that the 9 box talent review seeks to address. Managers can use this performance management approach to evaluate an employee’s work and future potential. It also helps in plotting their past and future contributions.

A comprehensive understanding of every worker’s performance enables you to supply more relevant acknowledgment and suitable assistance, allowing them to keep up their outstanding work. In this article, we’ll discuss how to create a 9 box talent review, its advantages and limitations, and some examples and templates.

What is a 9 Box Talent Review Matrix?

What is a 9 box talent review Matrix?

The 9 box talent review is a performance management strategy. This method assesses and develops an employee’s potential inside an organization. This instrument evaluates employees on two dimensions: their current work performance and potential for future advancement within the organization. It is based on a 3×3 matrix.

HR specialists and project managers commonly use the 9 box assessment grid. Using a talent evaluation process, they evaluate and discuss an employee’s performance. It focuses on their potential and opportunities for growth in the workplace. The tool assists in identifying employees who excel and show significant potential, as well as those who may require additional training based on the business’s needs.

Advantages of the 9 Box Talent Review Grid

Businesses can benefit significantly from the versatile 9 Box Talent Grid in several ways. Let’s examine how the talent development team and HR can benefit from this tool:

a) Strategic Evaluation of Talent

Companies can strategically examine their talent pool using this talent review matrix. HR and leadership teams can utilize the tool to pinpoint individuals who have the potential to make a significant impact on achieving the organization’s strategic objectives. The organization assigns employees to groups based on their performance and potential. This strategic review ensures that talent investments align with the business’s long-term objectives.

b) Customized Plans for Development

In addition to assessing talent, the 9 box talent review enables the development of personal growth plans for each individual. After grouping employees on the grid, employers can customize development programs to meet each employee’s needs. These programs provide employees with opportunities for growth through skill development, mentorship, or leadership training.

c) Finding Up-and-Coming Leaders

Finding workers with great potential is one of the best things about the 9 box talent review. These individuals fall into “High Potentials” or “Future Stars.” In the future, they will be the company’s leaders. Early skill identification and development guarantees a constant supply of capable leaders to take the initiative when needed.

d) Promoting Honest Conversation:

The transparency and honesty of an organization’s culture are essential. The 9-box assessment facilitates open communication between HR, managers, and employees regarding potential and success. This transparency encourages constructive criticism and allows employees to direct their personal development.

e) Knowledgeable Talent Management

Preparing future leaders for a company is crucial to ensure long-term existence. The 9-box assessment streamlines the process by highlighting prepared individuals for leadership responsibilities. There will be fewer issues when the leadership transitions, thanks to this carefully considered approach to succession planning, and the new employee will take on the responsibilities without any problems.

f) Effective Management of Resources

Some groups may need help with allocating resources. The 9-box talent review makes it easier and ensures effective spending of resources. Workers with great potential can receive extra training and development opportunities. In contrast, underachievers may receive further support to advance their careers.

g) A Structure for Development

Ultimately, the 9 box talent review promotes individual and organizational progress. To drive progress, it ensures that individuals are in suitable roles, promotes talent development, and fosters a culture of ongoing improvement. The matrix is a good tool for managing talent. It facilitates talent evaluation and allows businesses to invest thoughtfully in their workforce, which fosters development and long-term success.

What Does The Grids Of 9 Box Talent Review Matrix Signify?

HR and managers categorize each individual into the relevant box on the grid based on their current performance, represented by the x-axis, and their future potential, represented by the y-axis.

This Image helps to understand what does grids of 9 box talent matrix signify

The following groupings, segments, or boxes make up the grid:

  • Low Performer, High Potential
  • Low Performer, Moderate Potential
  • Low Performer, Low Potential
  • Moderate Performer, High Potential
  • Moderate Performer, Moderate Potential
  • Moderate Performer, Low Potential
  • High Performer, High Potential
  • High Performer, Moderate Potential
  • High Performer, Low Potential

Plotting performance and potential on the graph identifies employees in the upper right quadrant (Box 1) as possible successor candidates.

Conversely, employees in the lower left quadrant (Box 9) may require reallocation or termination by the company. HR teams can use the grid’s boxes to identify suitable investments for talent to produce future leaders. 

Workers in boxes 2 and 3 have a longer timetable but can be prepared for a future move to box 1. In contrast, employees in box one should be prepared for top leadership within six months to a year.

Explore similar templates: Matrix Collection Of PowerPoint Templates & Google Slides

Applications of the 9-box talent matrix

Below are a few applications for a 9-Box Assessment:

1. Succession Planning: The matrix assists in identifying high-potential workers who are prepared or capable of assuming leadership positions in the future. Ensuring people can take over important roles when needed is essential for succession planning.

2. Talent Development: By highlighting the areas where workers require additional training or development, the matrix can help direct talent development initiatives. Select High-potential workers for unique training initiatives and professional growth opportunities.

3. Performance Management: The 9-box matrix comprehensively evaluates an employee’s contribution to the company by assessing both present performance and future potential. All discussions about performance, goal-setting, and identifying areas for development can benefit from this data.

4. Workforce Planning: By indicating possible leadership or crucial skill gaps, the matrix helps with strategic workforce planning. This data can assist in training programs, hiring tactics, and other personnel acquisition activities.

5. Improved Employee Engagement: One way to improve employee engagement is to know where each person fits into the matrix. Identifying and developing high-potential, high-performing workers with suitable challenges and opportunities can raise job satisfaction and retention.

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How to Create a 9 Box Talent Review Grid?

Learn how to assess your staff’s abilities using a 9 box grid, making it easier to determine which team members you should promote or give additional assistance. The following seven steps will assist you in becoming an expert in this skill:

1. Create your matrix:

It’s a good idea to create a talent matrix before using one so you can see the categories for your staff. Making a real matrix with software or on paper helps you visualize and comprehend the boxes’ arrangement and meaning. How the boxes naturally flow and the labels they include can assist you in seeing more clearly how and where you can support certain team members’ growth.

2. Give each of the nine boxes a label:

You can name each box according to how you interpret their significance, even though they have an original label that combines a person’s performance and potential. A worker with mediocre performance and potential may be considered a consistent member. In contrast, the company would view a high-potential employee as an extraordinary asset.

Your adjectives help you better understand each box and what it can signify for the assigned personnel. For example, excellent assets are team members you elevate, while consistent members benefit more from holding onto their current position.

3. Compose an action plan:

The best way to use your talent matrix effectively is to develop an action plan before you begin. Creating a strategy will also help you stay impartial when deciding how to support your team. You will first determine what fundamental steps to take before classifying your team members according to how well they operate together.

You can modify many of these actions to be more general according to the circumstances. As an illustration, you could promote high-performing and high-potential individuals. Still, you could only ensure that you would do so for some group members.

4. Compile personnel data:

You can get information on your employee’s potential and performance at work once you have your nine-box matrix and action plan ready. These specifics can be found by reading ratings and performance reports, tracking a person’s productivity history, and determining how much their work has changed. To help you make better decisions and gauge an employee’s potential more efficiently, try gathering as much information as possible about each person.

5. Put every worker in a box:

Consider whether an employee’s performance and potential are high, moderate, or poor before assigning them to one of the nine talent boxes. By evaluating these elements of their work, you can better understand how they assist your business and how you can further their career by offering them encouragement, promotions, and other support. It can help you have more candid and insightful conversations with your team members regarding their career goals and provide you with a clearer understanding of their limitations.

6. Take specific circumstances into account:

After assigning individuals to each skill grid box, review the results and think of specific things that might make it difficult for some employees to succeed. Think about what might be causing the shift in the employee’s job and whether it’s a long-term change if they were previously a top performer. You can meet with your employees to review the data you have collected about them and learn more about their performance and potential before determining their skill level.

7. Motivate you to make choices:

When making judgments about an employee’s future, it’s usually more beneficial to use various tools and measurements and draw inspiration from the results of the nine-box talent matrix. This is especially true regarding employee promotions, support, or termination. 

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How to Identify Action Items & Improve Performance?

One of the most essential tools for pinpointing specific actions to boost employee performance is the 9 box talent review. Here are the vital actions to do this:

1. Constant evaluations and feedback

Give staff members constructive criticism and assessments based on their work and future projections. People can better understand their areas of strength and improvement and set expectations for their development with the support of this continuous feedback.

2. Make Plans for Personalized Development

Make unique development plans for every employee based on the results of the 9 Box Talent Review. These plans should concentrate on strengthening the talents, knowledge, and skills necessary for development and progress while addressing particular areas that need improvement. Adapt development initiatives to each person’s specific needs.

3. Track Results and Make Adjustments

Ensure staff members are on track by monitoring their performance and advancement. Course correction and other essential adjustments are made possible via routine check-ins and performance reports. It guarantees that people are working towards their goals and keeps them accountable.

4. Offer Opportunities for Training and Development

To assist with employees’ development plans, provide workshops, mentorship, coaching, and applicable training programs. By doing so, they gain new skills, enhance their performance, and learn to prepare for jobs in the future.

5. Acknowledge and Honor Accomplishments

Employees who do exceptionally well and demonstrate improvement should have their milestones and accomplishments acknowledged and celebrated. Acknowledgment raises spirits, inspires people to do well, and creates a happy work atmosphere.

6. Encourage an Environment of Ongoing Improvement

Encourage staff members to look for chances for learning and development to foster a culture of continuous improvement. Encourage an innovative, self-reflective, professional development mindset across the company.

9-box talent matrix example

A perfect example of the 9-box talent Matrix is the Performance-Values Matrix (PVM), which measures employee performance and core values/behavioral alignment. 

When you swap the upper left and lower right boxes from the PVM, you can see who needs more work and who has potential. The “stars” in the top right area of both grids are coached for succession. In both grids, the employees who need a “crucial conversation” are represented by the lower left-hand corner.

9-box talent matrix templates from SlideUpLift

With the extensive library of PowerPoint templates available at SlideUpLift, you can enhance your talent management presentations. We design our templates to ensure successful visualization of talent plans. SlideUpLift provides modifiable and visually appealing templates that ensure your team management discussions are thoughtful and visually interesting, whether you’re conducting performance appraisals or charting future potential.

9-box talent management matrix template: 

The 9-box talent management matrix is an effective instrument for evaluating and overseeing the performance and potential of employees. This matrix, separated into three performance segments (High, Medium, and Low), enables categorizing workers into nine groups. 

You have “Potential Gem,” “High Potential,” and “Star” under the High Potential category, “Inconsistent Player,” “Core Player,” and “High Performer” under the medium category, “Risk,” “Average Performer,” and “Solid Performer” under the low category.

Since the matrix is editable, you can tailor and quickly edit the sections to meet your requirements and match organizational objectives with HR and talent management plans. Because of its adaptability, this template helps develop and evaluate talent.

Review your employees using the Talent Management Matrix PowerPoint Template
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How to Effectively Present a 9-Box Talent Review?

There are various methods to deliver a 9 box talent review, especially about how to conduct one. The traditional method is making a 3 x 3 grid on a whiteboard and organizing sticky notes for employee placements. Nevertheless, this approach must be more reusable and prone to disarray. An alternative method for displaying the grids and entering staff data is to use Google Sheets or Excel. However, it is not aesthetically pleasing, so using a pre-made template from SlideUplift can be quick and easy. It will also work well for building the 9-box model.

In addition, a PowerPoint presentation eases the job when giving a 9-box talent review. To develop the 9-box talent model in a visually appealing way, you can look through SlideUpLift’s selection of 100% customizable PowerPoint templates. When discussing the talent framework in a meeting, you can add animations to the templates to make them more engaging. Moreover, you may even store the template for later use.

Potential Limitations of the 9 Box assessment Grid

Despite being a valuable tool with many applications, it has some drawbacks that you must consider:

1. Issues with Classification

The grid presents a problem when ranking people according to their performance and potential: low, moderate, or high. It can be troublesome because it’s unclear what separates low from moderate and moderate from high. After all, the differences between each group might be subjective. To strengthen the validity of these evaluations, precisely describing the behaviors and competencies associated with each category is crucial. However, problems can still occur when assessing people for various roles or departments inside the company because essential skills and behaviors can change depending on the role, group, or division.

2. Differentiating Between Potential and Performance

A further drawback of the 9 box grid is the requirement to differentiate between potential and performance. It can be challenging, particularly if you need to comprehend or have a clear meaning for both terms. Many companies currently have a system for assessing performance; most still need one for assessing potential. Due to prejudice in judgments caused by performance scores or other unrelated circumstances, people may end up with erroneous potential ratings.

3. Workers’ Reactions

The possibility of low-ranking employees reacting negatively to their score or being called “low performers” or “low potential” is the third drawback of adopting the matrix. As a result, academics and practitioners are still determining whether to notify staff members of this information after classifying them in the grid.

While it’s critical to be open and honest with your team about their areas of need for growth, several have cautioned against the risks of taking offense at comments regarding an employee’s performance or potential. Employees who disagree with their evaluations may find it extremely upsetting to learn that they have been labeled as low performers or people with limited potential. Additionally, disclosing this information to team members can establish a hierarchy among potential successors, undermining relationships and teamwork inside the company.

An Alternate Approach to 9 box talent review 

The 360-degree evaluation works similarly to the 9-box concept:

Employees who participate in the 360-degree feedback process get input from multiple sources. 

The management, coworkers, clients, and vendors provide the employee with positive comments regarding their performance using this appraisal approach.  

360-degree feedback as an alternative to the 9 box assessment grid:

Including reviewers working directly and consistently with the reviewer for a predetermined amount of time is best practice. The aim is to ensure peers evaluate employee performance and don’t assign high rankings because of friendships across teams.

360 feedback provides a more thorough and integrated method when assessing employee performance than the 9 box grid model. This method evaluates an employee’s performance and gathers input from various sources across hierarchies. The multi-rater technique more fully depicts their areas of strength and growth. Additionally, it can point out instances in which a worker’s performance assessment may differ from that of others, offering insightful information for career advancement.


The 9 box assessment grid is an effective employee management technique that can assist companies in locating, nurturing, and keeping their best employees. This method of evaluating employee performance and potential is straightforward and efficient.

Organizations can use it to help them make well-informed decisions about performance management, succession planning, and talent development. But it’s important to remember that the 9 box grid is only one tool in a talent management toolbox. Combine it with other techniques to guarantee a thorough approach to talent management.


  1. What is a 9 Box Grid?

    The 9 Box Grid is a visual tool that categorizes individuals based on their performance and potential. It features a nine-box grid, aiding talent assessment and strategic workforce planning.

  2. What is the purpose of the 9 Box Talent Matrix?

    The 9 Box Talent Matrix assesses and categorizes individuals based on their performance and potential, aiding in talent management and succession planning.

  3. How often should the 9 Box Talent Review be conducted?

    The frequency of 9 Box Talent Reviews depends on organizational needs, but it’s often done annually or semi-annually to track employee development.

  4. How is the 9 Box Talent Grid beneficial for organizations?

    The grid helps organizations identify high-potential individuals, plan succession effectively, and make informed decisions regarding talent development and leadership roles.

  5. Are there templates specifically designed for talent management and 9 Box Talent Reviews on SlideUpLift?

    Yes, SlideUpLift offers professionally designed templates tailored for talent management, including 9 Box Talent Review templates.

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