HR Glossary
9 Boxes

9 Boxes

Updated on:
August 23, 2022


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Table of Content

What are the 9 Boxes? 

The 9-box grid is a tool that assesses how well an employee is contributing to their organization. It is designed to rate how effectively an employee utilizes their time, strength of character, and how well they relate to others.

*The grid is 9 boxes long, with five boxes dedicated to evaluating time usage, and 4 boxes dedicated to evaluating employee relationships.

A sample 9-box grid might look something like this:


​Under Performance

​Effective Performance

​Outstanding Performance

High Potential

Box 5:

Seasoned professional capable of expanded role, but may be experiencing problems that require coaching and mentoring.

Box 2:

Does extremely well at current job with potential to do more; give stretch assignments to help prepare for next level.

Box 1:

Consistently performs well in a variety of assignments; superstar employee. Big picture thinker; problem solver; self motivated.

Medium Potential

Box 8:

With coaching, could progress within level; focus on stretch goals for this employee.

Box 6:

May be considered for job enlargement at the same level, but may need coaching in several areas, including people management.

Box 3:

Current role may still provide opportunity for growth/development; focused on tactical; focus should be on helping improve strategic thinking.

​Low Potential

Box 9:

May be a candidate for reassignment, reclassification to a lower level or to exit the organization.

Box 7:

Effective performer, but may have reached career potential; try to coach employee on becoming more innovative, focus on lateral thinking.

Box 4:

Experienced high performer but has reached limit of career potential. Still a valuable employee and can be encouraged to develop communications and delegation skills.