10 Reasons You need a 9-box Grid for Succession Management & More

Posted by Brianna Gilliam, Design & Research Specialist

Mar 25, 2015 11:00:00 AM


Succession, compensation, and workforce management are hard on organizations. It requires analyzing a lot of data to make important decisions that affect a high percentage of your organization. You know that it is necessary to plan and groom your future leaders today to maintain the success of your organization. Many tools exist to assist in these tough processes. One of the most powerful among them is the 9-box grid.

            A 9-box grid is a graphical representation of individual’s potential and performance. Each individual is given a score on performance and potential during the performance evaluation process. The employee is then plotted on the grid based on his/her potential and performance scores. This allows your organization to see the most valuable employee’s in very little time.

Reasons the 9-box grid can help:

  1. Save time. Time is a very valuable asset in today’s tech driven world. This grid can save some by allowing you to see the most important performance data for individuals at a glance such as performance scores, potential scores, flight risk, and critical contributor indicator.  
  2. Encourage valued meeting discussions. Keeping on topic in meetings can be hard but the 9-box grid can help by displaying in a graphical way what needs to be discussed. This will allow you to direct the attention back to the topic at hand very easily for talent calibration or workforce planning meetings.
  3. Adjust individuals. A well-developed grid will allow user to adjust individuals based on data not collected by the system such as conversations with the individual and observations from management.
  4. Determine promotable individuals. This grid will help your organization determine what individuals could benefit the organization if promoted. People who have high performance, high potential, and consistently exceeding expectations are visible at a glance, saving you time with succession management.
  5. Ascertain who is holding you back. Your organization will know at a glance that certain individuals may be holding the organization back on meeting its business goals. Low performing and potential individuals can hold other members of your organization back from meeting goals. The grid can show you these low performing and potential individuals without wading through individual performance evaluations.
  6. Who needs development? Know what individuals need additional development to further benefit your organization. By position on the grid, it is apparent who you need to groom to better meet the needs of the company.
  7. Decide if individuals may benefit another area. Determine if there are individuals that have lower performance or potential because they are not in a position that showcases their skills.
  8. At a glance performance data. 9-box grids allow you to see pertinent performance data (such as: performance score, potential score, flight risk, adjusted performance and potential scores, and critical contributor indicator) at a glance. This saves your organization time on analyzing each individual separately.
  9. Right people on succession lists. The 9-box will help ensure that you have the right successors for your most critical positions making succession management easier. This will allow you to see that you have top performers with high potential as successors.
  10. Pay for Performance. See at a glance what individuals meet, exceed, or do not meet your organization’s goals to analyze changes in pay by evaluating their position on the grid.

With all of this power at your disposal it is important to have a good understanding of this type of grid. It can be a dangerous tool if users do not realize that some of the data used to plot the individuals is subjective such as potential or flight risk. It is also important to realize that changes in position, amount of time in a given position, and/or other factors outside of the company contribute to the potential and performance of the individuals. 

Related Posts: Succession Management , Succession Planning: Preparing for the Future

 Succession Management


Topics: Succession Management