Using the 9-box grid

Making an assessment

Start with the bottom row.

  • This is where an individual is best suited to their current grade or payband
  • How far to the right is determined by how well they are performing in their current role (refer to their performance appraisal)

The top row is for individuals who show a high level of potential to progress to the next level up. Anyone on the top row and who wants a career in the health and care system is committing to move to another ALB or DH in order to progress their career. There will be an additional moderation process to identify nominees for the HCLS.

The middle row is for people who wish to progress but who are not currently demonstrating the necessary ability, aspiration or engagement to be considered to be in the top row, but who wish to, and show the ability to progress beyond their current grade.

Specialists who have clarified their preference to progress through their area of specialism should be assessed according to this career path and highlighted as such on the grid.



Image of an arrow pointing up Strong early promise
(4+ years)
High potential
(1-3 years)
Very strong
contributor/Ready for promotion now

High potential with strong initial impact, but new or inexperienced in current role. Understands fully the requirements of next level, but not able to demonstrate all at this stage.

This is a transition marking.

Individuals in this box would be expected to move across or down the grid within 18 months.

Frequently achieves challenges and stretching goals with strong demonstration of potential.

Performance continually improving, adaptable to change and acknowledged as a leader.

A consistently strong performer who stands out from their peers. Realised potential, ready for/will be successful at next level now. Acknowledged as a skilled leader and role model.


Early promise Potential leader Growing leader/Strong contributor

Either new to the post, demonstrating ability but too early to form judgement, or gap in performance compared with expectations.

This is a transition marking.

Individuals are expected to move up, down or across the grid within 18 months.

Meets all performance expectations and is valued at this level and in this role. Demonstrates the potential to keep developing and to deliver more in either scale or complexity. Might need to show greater determination to progress, or take on broader role / responsibilities.

Would not expect progression before 5 years and at least 2 more roles.

A consistently strong performer, delivering excellent value. Acts as leader and role model. Exhibits some evidence against the potential characteristics, but may not be actively demonstrating all elements at this time and may not be realistic about the expectations of next level role. Could look to progress after 3-5 years dependent on their aspirations, engagement and progress against their PDP.


Needs developing Good contributor Strong contributor

Performance is inconsistent or not fully effective. May have competency gaps or behavioural style issues.

Meets all performance expectations at this level. Has realised professional and leadership capability.

Suited to current grade at this time.

This may be personal preference.

Highly valued at this level and in current role. A consistently strong performer who is a core team member. Suited to current grade at this time. This may be personal preference.



Image of an arrow pointing right



Inconsistent or incomplete performer

Fully effective

High capacity





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