How Performance Reviews Can Be Integrated With The Performance vs. Potential Grid
The 9-box method, or Performance vs. Potential grid, was recently touted by Fistful of Talent (as well as many HR professionals from here to the moon and back) as a clear winner in judging whether an employee is making the grade. It’s a tool used by HR pros spanning many different industries with equivalent appropriateness. If you can count to 3, you can easily rate your employees on both Performance and Potential. One fantastic way to use it would be in conjunction with your employee performance reviews.
When To Use The 9-Box Grid System
It may make perfect sense to build a 9-box grid system into your workflow timeline. Use their 1-3 rating (in each category) to see where they would land in the grid and subsequently contemplate/analyze their contributions to the company. Are they in the right position? Are they thriving? It helps you pinpoint exactly where the employee’s strengths and weaknesses lie.
Now, let’s be realistic. There are certainly times when the 9-box may not be an end-all be-all solution. In the world of jobs, there are many positions that exist which have zero Potential. It’s just not a factor because there seriously may not be any opportunity for growth. For example, maybe an education company has one in-house graphic designer who handles all of the materials. The upward mobility for that position is essentially zilch – unless the entire company grows and a team is needed to get the job done. But in cases where there is no Potential, how can the employee be held accountable for the lack thereof in their position? The employee could be judged solely on performance and perhaps an examination of their potential to expand their own position.
On the flip side, it is rare that Performance is not a factor. Some people may point to a manager whose awful, irresponsible team falls short of their duties. There are surely some cases where a manager’s poor performance is reflective of a poor staff to manage. However, isn’t that a core piece of a manager’s job? The ability to handle poor employees in the best possible way will really show how capable the manager is in that role. Can he/she motivate? Are tasks delegated properly? Is the staff well-informed of duties and process? Does the staff have realistic goals?
Overall, the 9-Box grid is a visual tool that shows measurable results for your staff. Here’s a tip: grade everyone on the grid to create a scatterplot graph showing where the majority of your employees fall. This is a valuable HR metric that can provide an overview of your staff’s Performance vs. Potential as a whole. If a lot of employees are hanging on by the skin of their teeth, (before making the rash decision to fire everyone) you can evaluate your company’s ability to train employees and provide them with the skills they need to succeed.
Have You Incorporated The 9-Box Grid System Into Your Performance Review Process?
How have you found the 9-box grid system useful? Click here to join the conversation on LinkedIn and let us know how you’ve used the 9-box grid system. What was your experience like?
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