9-box grid

How To Use The 9-Box Grid To Identify Talent

If you work in or with a Human Resources team, it is highly likely that you have been exposed to the 9-box grid system. The 9-box grid was not developed with talent management in mind. It was created by McKinsey in the 1970s at the request of engineering giants General Electric. Its original purpose was to create a ranking system that allowed General Electric executives to visualize the potential of financial investments. Since then, however, the 9-box grid system has been adopted by experts in many fields. Human Resources professionals typically use the system to identify talent. In this field, the two Axis’ of the grid are labeled as follows:

Current Performance

A person’s position on this axis is calculated according to data regarding their current performance. All sorts of data can be used to calculate their position: from sales completed to projects managed.

Potential Performance

A person’s position on this axis is much harder to calculate. Careful personal profiling based on their attributes and interests needs to be completed in order to work out an approximate value based on potential. A degree of talent assessment needs to be completed before the 9-box grid is conceived of.

Here is how business leaders use the 9-box grid to identify talent within their organizations:

Create A Pool Of Potential Talent

Before starting to construct a 9-box grid, it is important to narrow down potential talent to nurture into a group small enough to assess.

Assess the Performance And Potential Of Each Employee

In order to place employees onto the grid, the performance and potential levels of each person must be calculated. These must be quantized: formed into numerical data, which can then be used to place said performance and potential levels onto the grid.

Merge the Performance And Potential Onto A Grid

After calculating both performance and potential levels, an employee must be assigned one square within the 9-box grid that indicates their levels when considered together. Check out this guide from Thinqi.com to find out how this is completed.

Identify High Performers With High Potential

High performers with high potential will be placed on the top right-hand side of the grid at the end of each axis. These are regarded as highly talented individuals that are ready to be advanced or considered for advancement within a company.

Identify High Performers With Low Potential

High performers with low potential are positioned at the bottom right of the grid in most circumstances. These individuals are usually right where they need to be: performing well at their top level. High performers with low potential might not sound great, but they actually indicate that a company has positioned talent appropriately.

Identify Low Performers With High Potential

Low performers with high potential are positioned at the top left of the grid. These people require attention to reach their full potential. Lots of people positioned in this way may indicate a problem with company culture, onboarding, or training.

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