I learned about a new HR technique for talent mapping during a recent consulting project . It is called 9 box grid. In this page, let me explain what it is and how you can create 9 box grid using Excel.
What is 9 Box Grid?
9 Box grid is a talent mapping tool for Human Resources. This is used to map your staff on two scales – performance and potential. All staff are plotted on 3×3 grid with one side showing performance (from low to high) and another side with potential (low to high).
Here is a sample 9 Box Grid.
How to create 9 box grid in Excel?
If you have just a handful of staff then it is easier to create 9 box grid by typing the data in 3×3 range in Excel. But if you have a lot of people, then creating a dynamic 9 box grid is helpful. Something like below:
Interactive 9 Box Grid in Excel - Demo
Step by step instructions - Making 9 Box Grid template in Excel
I made a short video explaining the process for creating 9 box grid for talent mapping in excel. Watch it below (or on my YouTube channel) or read on for text instructions.
Step 1: Gather data about performance and potential of your staff
In a blank spreadsheet, gather the data about your staff. At the very least, you want staff name, performance and potential. Feel free to add things like department or team names.
This is how I structured my data:
It is all in a table named talent.
Step 2: Create the talent map 9 box grid visual
You can do it in two ways. If you have Excel 365 and access to dynamic array functions like FILTER(), you can use formulas to generate the 3×3 talent map grid.
Else, you can use Pivot Tables to generate the talent map grid.
Formula approach for Talent Map
Note: this method requires Excel 365 with dynamic array functions.
Set up a 3×3 grid in a blank sheet.
In the top left cell, use the below formula.
The above formula assumes E$8 has the performance rating value and $D5 has potential.
How does this formula work?
We are using FILTER() function to filter down the talent table to all candidates who have given performance (E8) and potential (D5) values
SORT() function sorts these names in alphabetical order.
Finally TEXTJOIN() is used to combine all names to one big text with comma & new line character between names.
Pivot Table approach for Talent Map
Note: this method requires Excel 2013 or above versions
Here is a quick demo of the Pivot Table based 9 box talent map grid.
To create this,
- Insert a pivot table from your talent data. During the insert pivot step, enable “add this to data model” option, as depicted below.
- Now add “performance” to column labels and “potential” to row labels area of the pivot.
- We need to show the names of people instead of count in the values area. This can be done by using measures.
- Right click on the table in fields list area and select “Add measure” option.
- Name of the measure: List of names
- Definition: =CONCATENATEX(‘talent mapping’, [Candidate],”, “,[Candidate],asc)
Add this measure to values area of the pivot and your 9 box talent map will be ready.
What is this measure doing?
This measure is concatenating all the staff names that have given performance and potential levels. It is also sorting such names in ascending order.
9 box grid for talent mapping - FREE Excel Template
Click here to download my free 9 box grid talent mapping template. It has sample data of 100 employees and two different talent maps (one with formulas and another with pivot tables). Experiment with it to understand the process or use it for your work.
Work in HR and use Excel? More resources for you...
Here are a few more resources to help you with various HR data analysis and reporting challenges.
- Impressive vacation tracker and dashboard
- L & D tracker and dashboard
- Employee turnover (attrition) analysis with Power BI
General Excel resources to improve your data analysis