Conducting Assessments Using the 9 Box Model

The 9 box model is an assessment tool that you can use to evaluate an employee’s performance. The conclusion of this assessment outlines the work you have to do to hire the right employee for a management position. Take your time after the assessment to identify which employee has the potential to be promoted and conduct additional interviews if necessary. Learn more about an overview of the 9 box model, the pros and cons and frequently asked questions that you may consider asking about this model. 


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An overview of the 9 box model 

The 9 box model reviews an employee’s performance and monitors if their trajectory can earn them a management role. You can evaluate employees based on their leadership potential and performance that can translate to success if promoted. When you begin to formulate the assessment, you’ll draw out nine boxes with an x and y-axis on the grid. An employee’s performance is shown under the x-axis while their potential is under the y-axis. The top-right box in the grid has the largest value because it’s the highest-rated quality tied to the employee’s performance and potential. 


You must spend time with the employee’s manager to see where they fit into this grid to help you come up with a better observation of their performance. Consider assembling a leadership competency model to highlight which skills can make the employee eligible for a leadership role and if they contribute to their current performance such as conflict resolution and coaching ability. 


Read more: How to Hire Employees: A Step-by-Step Guide


Pros of the 9 box model 

Before you proceed using the 9 box model, you should understand the pros of using this method, including: 


    • You can underline top performers: The 9 box model shows which employees you can scout for leadership roles. This model may confirm the preexisting candidates that you think can be a good fit for the position. The results can make you reassess an employee’s qualifications and if they need a professional development plan to improve their performance in the workplace. You must collaborate with each department manager to note the metrics you’re looking for from a leader.


    • It’s easier to predict the future: Conducting and reviewing this evaluation gives you and the department manager a clear perspective of what lies ahead for the company’s leadership. Selecting the right employee for a promotion can be crucial in the success of the organization since they’ll play a larger role in the execution of the company’s goals. An employee with a combination of strong work ethic and a track record of high performance should be considered for a leadership position. 


  • It helps standardize the performance evaluation process: The evaluation of an employee through the 9 box model is useful for you to provide a sustainable succession plan. Also, you can acquire a larger understanding of how an employee is performing before or after you discuss their performance during their annual review. Overall, this process is convenient for all parties involved and provides the time you need to decide who will fill a leadership position. 


Cons of the 9 box model 

The 9 box model has a set of cons that you should consider, including:


    • Identifying potential can be difficult:Evaluating potential is known for being a challenging endeavor because it can often correlate with the performance that you have results for. You can still make the separation between an employee’s performance and potential by using a predictive index (PI) to integrate the ways that you’re reviewing employee performance. A PI can produce behavioral and cognitive assessments in addition to implementing a leadership training program and an organizational chart. With these tools, you can increase the knowledge that you have about how an employee responds to varying workplace situations and where they fit in the organization moving forward. 


  • Changing the grid for each employee’s assessment can be time-consuming: You and the employee’s manager must be in constant communication about the most simplistic and efficient way to approach this assessment. This process can take time to initiate and test on current employees, but you may be able to streamline what you’re doing by blocking off small-time slots. 


9 box FAQs 


What is the purpose of the 9 box model? 

The purpose of the 9 box model is to properly evaluate employees to identify which ones can hold a leadership role within your company. By the end of the assessment, you should have a shortlist of employees that you feel can take on the responsibilities of an executive or a managerial role.


What does the 9 box model measure? 

The 9 box model measures the employee’s performance and the potential they have to perform the day-to-day tasks required in this position. This model should be a part of the succession plan that you carry out. Therefore, you must allocate time out of your workday to coordinate with the human resources department to ensure the implementation of this plan. 


What are the steps to complete a 9 box assessment? 

You’re going to need to draw out nine boxes that make up the grid for each employee. Be sure the x-axis measures for performance and the y-axis shows the employee’s potential. Take note that the top-right box in the grid has the largest value, which can indicate if they’re a top performer. You should use a leadership competency model to demonstrate an employee’s traits for a leadership position. 


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