9 Box Grid Template

A 9 box grid is an HR tool that helps you manage talent and plan succession. It is a table with 9 cells with 3 employee performance levels on the x-axis and 3 employee potential levels on the y-axis. In each cell, you put employees that meet the two criteria. You can create your own 9 box grid in Excel or download our free template right now.

Why you should use a 9 box grid?

By classifying employees based on performance and potential, you can better understand your workforce and the actions you need to take. Each employee category requires a different approach, and it’s up to you, as an HR expert, to open the discussion and help them grow their careers.

A 9 box grid is a talent mapping tool that helps you spot trends and plan in advance. For example, employees stuck in the low potential – low-performance category may be a wrong fit for your company, and you may be better without them. On the other hand, employees with high performance and high potential may be expected to leave the company, looking for better career opportunities. You have to decide whether you try to keep them by all means or start looking for a replacement. The tool also shows you who’s up for promotion, needs more training and deserves better benefits.

The tool also provides a quantitative perspective. It shows you exactly how many employees are in each category and how your workforce evolves.

What does the 9-box grid look like?

As you can see in the image below, the 9 boxes grid consists of 9 blocks that help to assess talent in terms of potential and performance.

Free 9 box grid template features

Our 9 box grid template is a time-saving and easy-to-use Excel template. It includes three spreadsheets:

  • 9 Box Grid – a static box grid model to visualize employees from each category
  • Dynamic 9 Box Grid – a complex and dynamic box grid model, perfect for businesses with many employees
  • Interpretation – a box grid that helps you assign actions and meaning to each category

Start by adding significance and actions to each category. Use our interpretations as a model. It would be best if you created your interpretations based on your company’s policy. For example, you may decide that people with high performance should receive customized benefits or promotions. Or you may decide that people with medium potential should receive extra training.

Labeling each category isn’t enough. You need to know the actions required by each category. So use the Interpretation sheet to clarify the HR strategy for each category.

Here’re the essential features of our free 9 box grid template:

  • It follows the standard 9 box grid tool and provides three levels of performance and potential
  • It offers a formal model of interpretation for each category, which is easy to customize
  • It provides a dynamic 9 box grid tool that classifies employees automatically based on their performance and potential scores
  • You can easily add, remove, or move employees between categories
  • As an HR manager, you can duplicate the template for each department or different periods
  • It’s suitable for printing in portrait format

How to use the dynamic 9 box grid template?

List all your employees in the Employee Name column and assign them the corresponding potential performance scores. Use values between 1 and 3 for each metric. The template will automatically add each employee to the related 9 box grid category. Furthermore, the template will count how many employees are in each category and update the data each time you add a new employee, delete an employee, or modify the scores for an employee.

If you have more employees than are in the template, make sure you update the Excel formulas to cover the entire range. Also, because the formulas look for multiple matches, their results are arrays (i.e., you may have more than one employee in each category). Make sure you copy the filtering formula in enough cells in each category’s column.


A 9 box grid Excel template is a good start for managing talent in your company. It provides a visual perspective and helps you keep up with the company’s development. A mapping talent tool allows you to have a cohesive HR strategy and prepare in advance. If you’re looking for a complex employee management solution, we recommend you consider LeaveBoard. You’ll have all data in a centralized place, easy and secure access, instant notifications, and smart filtering and searching tools. Sounds good? That’s more! LeaveBoard is entirely free for businesses with less than nine employees.

What are you waiting for? Register for an account and boost the efficiency and performance of your team with our web-based HR app.

Automate your employee information management with the easy to use cloud-based HR and workforce analysis software.

Easy set-up ● No contracts required ● No credit cards