What is the 9-Box (9-Box) Model?

09 November 2021 | 4 Minute
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What is the 9-Box (9-Box) Model?

One of the factors that companies consider when evaluating their future strategies and targets is employee performance. Therefore, managers want to determine not only the current performance of employees but also their potential and in which direction they will move in the future. For this, companies need to determine and implement appropriate solutions and methods. One of these methods, the 9-box model, is used to obtain the necessary information for talent management, backup, and employee development. In this article, we have explained the benefits of 9-box models for you.


What is the 9 Box Model?

The 9-box model is a talent management tool that divides employees into nine groups based on their performance and potential. This model aims not only to help companies understand the talents they have but also to help them determine where to focus their current talent development process and budget. Briefly, two factors are taken into consideration while evaluating employee performance with this model. First, the current performance of the employee; the second is its performance in the future, namely its growth potentials.

In addition to being used for talent management, the 9-box model is considered as part of the planning process. The 9-box model is often used by HR professionals. However, in some cases, managers and other experts can be included in the 9-box model and different solutions are offered for the necessary improvement.


How to Create a 9-Box Model?

HR professionals, managers, and other managers work together to assign employees to the corresponding boxes in the model based on the two categories. The HR specialist and managers decide how to fill the 9-box model by giving their views on the employee's performance, experience, and potential. Employees' names are placed in boxes in the model, which makes it possible to see the value of each employee in a view.

In the 9-box model, one category represents the employee's current performance, while the second category represents their potential. Different levels of evaluation are specified for both categories. Then, nine different boxes are created, each with its own unique characteristics.


These three stages that make up the 9-box model can be detailed as follows:

  1. Evaluation of Performance

The performance category of the 9-box models is evaluated at three levels: 'low', 'medium', and 'high'. Employees are scored on this performance scale during performance evaluations. The performance evaluation and scoring processes of the employees may differ for each company. However, three levels, which are generally defined as 'low', 'medium' and 'high' can be explained as follows:

  • Low Performance: If the employee is not meeting job requirements and is failing at individual goals, the employee may be evaluated as underperforming.
  • Medium Performance: If the employee partially complies with the job requirements and individual goals, the employee can be evaluated at the medium performance level.
  • High Performance: If the employee fully meets the requirements of the employees’ job and individual goals, the employee can be evaluated at the high-performance level.


  1. Evaluation of Potential

Similarly, the potential category, which is the other category of the 9-box model, has three levels: 'low', 'medium' and 'high'. Potential evaluation of employees should be scored during performance evaluation. The levels in potential assessment can be described as:

  • Low Potential: Employees may be considered at low potential if they are working at their full potential and are not expected to improve because they are at maximum capacity or lack motivation.
  • Medium Potential: In cases where the employee has the potential for further development in the current role, the employee is evaluated at the medium potential level.
  • High Potential: In cases where the employee deserves to be promoted immediately or within a certain period of time, the employee is evaluated at a high potential level.


  1. Creation and Placement of Boxes

Performance and potential evaluation levels are based on the axis and a total of 9 boxes are created, 3 by 3. Each box has different characteristics and is therefore evaluated differently. We can list these boxes according to their performance evaluations as follows:


  • According to low performance;

Low performance with low potential

Low performance with medium potential

Low performance with high potential


  • According to medium performance;

Medium performance with low potential

Medium performance with medium potential

Medium performance with high potential


  • According to high performance;

High performance with low potential

High performance with medium potential

High performance with high potential


What are the Benefits of the 9-Box Model?

The advantages of the 9 box model, which is a talent and performance management tool, can be listed as follows:

  • It encourages communication.

The 9-box model acts as a framework that allows managers and professionals to express their views on talent management, training and development, employee performance, and potential. It allows managers and experts to jointly identify the strengths and weaknesses of employees in the talent pool.

  • It is a fast and effective assessment tool.

Due to its quick setup and easy use, the 9-box model can be easily organized and evaluated by employees in talent pools.

  • It creates a new perspective.

Since employees can be evaluated by different units or managers within the company, managers and experts can gain new perspectives and eliminate their prejudices in their evaluations in the 9-box model. In this way, a more objective and more inclusive evaluation can be made.

  • It helps to make future plans.

The 9-box model value assists managers in establishing succession planning and plans for work, continuity, and growth needed to improve employee career development.

  • Emphasizes development opportunities and training needs.

High-potential but low-performing employees and low-potential but high-performing employees in their current roles determined by the 9-box model can be motivated and improved through training, position change, or mentoring.


We have listed the advantages of the 9 box models that you can use in the talent management process above for you. Sorwe offers the opportunity to optimize the human resources strategies of companies with its 9 box analysis. However, you can increase the effectiveness of the talent management process by applying Sorwe solutions after the analysis for performance and potential. You can contact us for more detailed information about Sorwe talent management solutions.

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