Work can and should be a force for good, leading to stronger business outcomes and stronger societies. Our profession is well placed to ensure people – and their role in sustainable value creation – are at the heart of debates about the future of work. But to make this a reality, we need to move beyond perceptions of HR as a task-focused function, towards a broader people profession focused on development, skills and character. Perception starts with reality, so hear you’ll read everything we do to build that profession – from setting the international standards to supporting continuing professional development (CPD).

Key highlights

  • More than 147,000 people explored our new Profession Map
  • Launched a new skills benchmark for the people profession
  • 70 new pages of careers support on our website
  • Usage of our online Community grew 50%
  • We worked with more nearly 250 employers to upskill their HR teams and people managers

The new Profession Map

Following three years of work and consultation with more than 19,000 people, November 2018 saw the launch of the new Profession Map – the international standard for people professionals to make their greatest impact and thrive in a changing world of work. It provides a clear lens on what great practice looks like, by setting out the defining purpose and values of our profession, together with the knowledge and behaviours required to put those values into practice.

Since launch, more than 147,000 individuals have explored the Map on our website (with 26% of visitors returning for another look) and several large organisations have asked us to help them use it as a framework for their HR function. We've already worked with Network Rail to co-create a bespoke HR competency framework based on the Map.

Feedback from members has been very positive, with those at the beginning of their careers describing it as practical and relatable, and more experienced members appreciating the strong focus on evidence-based practice.

Going forward, the Map will make it easier for members to plot their careers and will play an important role in keeping the people profession relevant and future-fit.

See page 18-19 of our annual report for details of the work involved in rolling out the new Profession Map and what we'll do next.

Jackie Chiplin

"The new Profession Map reminds us that the people profession is greater than just the job we are each doing right now and reminds us that we have the power to shape the experience of every single person in a job."

Jacqueline Chiplin, Chartered MCIPD

Building a global profession that's fit for the future

The new Profession Map is relevant to people practitioners all around the world and marks our first step towards building a global, future-fit people profession that’s united by a shared purpose and common standards. Over the past year, we've been working with professional bodies and other interested parties around the world to build a shared picture of the profession of the future.

In November 2018 we published our first ever benchmark of career paths, skills and professional priorities in the people profession in the UK, Ireland, Asia and the Middle East – designed to help people professionals benchmark themselves against other practitioners and understand the factors that can help them progress in the changing world of work. In partnership with the European Association of People Management (EAPM), we enabled professional bodies in Greece and Romania to run the same survey amongst their members. Next year we'll work with the World Federation of People Management Associations (WFPMA) to involve even more professional bodies and produce a truly international benchmark for the profession.

Karen Grave

"The most impactful CIPD development for me over the last year has been the new Profession Map. Setting out what HR and OD professionals need now and in future is the most important function our professional body undertakes."

Karen Grave, President of the Public Services People Managers Association

The people profession in Asia Pacific

Over the course of the past year, we collaborated with a number of experts to develop a deeper understanding of the future of the people profession in Asia. We brought together representatives from industry, academia, government and professional bodies from across Asia Pacific (APAC) to discuss the findings of our People Profession survey at the 'Think Tank – People Profession in APAC' symposium. We also collaborated with the Ministry of Human Resources in Malaysia to run a study on the future of talent in Malaysia. The report Malaysia Talent 2035 highlighted the need for professionals to develop a better understanding of their business environment and to be more evidence-based. And in Hong Kong, we co-hosted an international symposium on talent development with Hong Kong Baptist University – as part of our continued commitment to bridging the gap between academia and HR practice.

"We collaborated with a number of experts to develop a deeper understanding of the future of the people profession in Asia."

Building a stronger professional community for our most senior members

The expertise, insights and energy of the most senior and successful HR, L&D and OD&D leaders are crucial to building a stronger people profession and developing the next generation of talent. We know we've been under-serving this group, and we have a huge opportunity to work with them to build a stronger sense of professional community.

This year we created a new role dedicated to seizing that opportunity. Former HR Magazine editor Katie Jacobs has brought her understanding of the needs and wants of HR leaders to this role, which is focused on how we serve and engage with our most senior members – as well as influential leaders who are not yet members. Her work began with research among more than 60 HR leaders, to inform an engagement plan to supplement the work our UK nations and regions teams already do with this audience. Having already hosted a number of senior leaders at our Festival of Work in June 2019, this autumn will see us kick off a programme of policy- and research-related roundtables looking at skills, corporate governance and the future of work.

We also expanded our popular Leaders in Learning network this year, with a series of webinars to help us reach a wider audience across the UK and internationally. Around 100 L&D leaders attended each one.

Valarie Hughes-D'Aeth

"There's a huge opportunity for the CIPD to connect more effectively at senior HR leader level, whether through involving us in its research and policy work or bringing groups of leaders together to network, share and learn from each other. I'm delighted that the CIPD has committed to focusing on this area […] and I'm looking forward to getting more involved as plans progress."

Valerie Hughes D'Aeth, former CHRO of the BBC

Supporting our members' CPD

The credibility of our profession depends on our members' commitment to continual self-improvement. CPD is a non-negotiable requirement for all our members so we’re committed to giving them the tools and resources that help them build purposeful learning into their professional life.

In addition to our formal qualifications and training courses, which both continue to attract increasing volumes of learners, we offer members a range of free and subsidised self-directed learning opportunities – from online resources to face-to-face events.

Mike Shaw

"The CIPD's online resources and branch events have been of significant value in supporting my thinking and practice in learning and organisational development."

Mike Shaw, Learning and Organisational Development Manager, Emerald Group

Our website: a treasure trove of learning resources

Our website continues to be an important source of knowledge and learning for the people profession (see page 30 of our annual report for web statistics).

We added several new features to the website over the course of the year, including 70 new pages of careers advice to support and inspire both experienced and aspiring people professionals. The content is aligned with the new Profession Map and highlights all the different career opportunities the profession offers. Member-led content, such as video case studies and day-in-the-life interviews, help bring the advice to life.

"We published 70 new pages of careers advice to support and inspire both experienced and aspiring people professionals."

Community spirit: facilitating peer-to-peer support and inspiration

We work hard to make sure our members and customers feel part of a community where they can be guided, supported and inspired by other people professionals, as well as having opportunities to give back to their profession. Eighty-one per cent of CIPD members say they are proud to be part of a membership organisation that offers volunteering opportunities. Those that volunteer say it contributes to their personal development, their well-being and their sense of awareness and belonging.

Volunteering opportunities include supporting our branch network across the UK, mentoring fellow people professionals and getting involved in our social impact and innovation programmes.

Local heroes: our branch volunteers

Our active UK branch network, run by around 900 volunteers across 52 branches, is a sign of a healthy, thriving profession, with so many people willing to volunteer their time to help build professionalism and drive change in the world of work. We've invested more in our branch network this year than ever before, aligning branch activity with our key content to provide a more joined-up experience for members and hosting our first branch volunteer support and networking day. We’d like to thank all these volunteers for the important role they play in helping us deliver on our purpose.

900 members benefited from free one-to-one mentoring this year

Across the UK, around 600 members volunteer their time to mentor other members. Around 900 registered mentees get valuable career and CPD support from more experienced members, while the mentors themselves report that they too see benefits for their own personal development.

"My Mentor was absolutely amazing – her energy kept me on my toes and drove me towards my goals. I have achieved everything we've agreed during our meeting and am ready for the next stage of my career. ... I would recommend the mentoring scheme to any HR or L&D professional as it helped me a lot. And as it’s free for Members, why not give it a go!"

Feedback from our member-to-member mentoring programme

Our online community grew by 50%

Our online discussion forums continue to be an important source of support and advice for members and non-members alike. The Community platform attracted around 45,000 unique visitors per month (up 50% thanks to increased efforts to raise awareness of this much valued member benefit) and we recorded 2.5 million page views over the year. Around 50% of users accessed the Community via their mobile device, so in 2019 we developed our first mobile app to help people catch up with the latest Community discussions 'on the go'. The app will help to make the reassuring help, peer support and guidance our Community offers as accessible as possible. CIPD members will be able to access exclusive groups such as Employment Law, Learning and Development and HR Strategy. Access to the more general groups, such as the Careers Clinic, will be open to all. The app will also provide a digital membership card – which is a convenient way for our members to access their membership details via their phone.

In September 2018, we added a new member-only 'Workplace Dilemmas in Confidence' area to the Community platform, in response to members asking for a confidential space in which to share dilemmas and discuss their options.

Here members can anonymously ask other members for support and guidance regarding workplace and ethical dilemmas. Members have used the platform to seek confidential advice on topics such as dismissals, absence and mental health concerns, as well as career advice and support on sensitive issues. They've received some excellent advice and the Community has been extremely supportive and considerate, particularly when it comes to highly emotive issues.

By the end of our financial year, members had posted 162 different dilemmas and received more than 1,200 replies. Total page views for the discussion threads topped 50,000, suggesting that the value of the advice given goes well beyond the person who originally sought it. Some of the feedback received from users is testimony to the great sense of community it offers.

Going forward we'll map more of our content around the issues raised in this area of our Community and use the discussions to further inform our learning, resources and evidence base.

"I've received plenty of excellent advice [to help me] plan my meeting with a clear head and confidence"

"This forum really is invaluable. I’m in a stand-alone role and [...] I don’t know what I would do without it!"

"I'm so glad I have this supportive community : )"

Feedback on Workplace Dilemmas in Confidence

Our events: bringing thousands of people together to network and learn

Face-to-face events continue to play an important and valued role in our members' professional development. 11,000 people visited our two flagship events in 2018–19 and a further 7,000 attended our various conferences over the course of the year.

Our Annual Conference and Exhibition is our flagship event for the people profession. In 2018 it attracted 1,530 conference delegates (up 6% on 2017) and a further 2,286 exhibition visitors. 2019 saw the launch of a brand new flagship event – Festival of Work. Unlike our other events, which are specifically designed to support our members’ CPD, the Festival of Work (see page 31 of our annual report) brings HR, L&D and OD professionals together with the wider business community to discuss important trends shaping the future of work.

We also host various national and regional conferences, as well as smaller specialist events to serve our members' needs. This includes around 900 free and subsidised events run by our branch volunteers. Find out more on page 24 of our annual report.

Sarah Lewis

"Empowering! I left feeling that I would be able to come back into my workplace and make a significant difference to those I work with."

Sarah Lewis, Learning and Development Coordinator, Coleg y Cyomedd

Building professionalism at an organisational level

When the people profession is at its best, everyone benefits. And the more we do this at scale, the greater our impact on work and working lives.

We worked with more than 4,500 people professionals and more than 2,200 people managers across nearly 250 organisations in 2018–19 – with the potential to impact millions of working lives.

Ultimately, we're helping these organisations deliver a more skilled, fulfilled and motivated workforce – one that’s treated fairly, able to work in new ways, and better rewarded for their efforts. What’s more, this work contributed more than £500,000 to our surplus, which we're able to reinvest in our broader efforts to champion better work and working lives.

Many of the organisations we work with are committed to working with us to develop their people functions over the long term, working with us in a variety of ways, year after year. For many, it's about ensuring their HR teams get the professional recognition they deserve, and we've continued to work closely with organisations, including the UK's Civil Service and Tesco, to enable their teams to achieve professional membership through group Experience Assessment.

"We're helping these organisations deliver a more skilled, fulfilled and motivated workforce."

Mapping out a new competency framework for Network Rail

The new Profession Map helps organisations take a fresh, critical look at their people functions and ask: How good are we? Are we doing enough? The Map gives them robust, precise and insightful ways to assess and build capability in a team or across an organisation. This year, we helped Network Rail, which employs 40,000 people, develop a bespoke HR competency framework based on the new Map. We also helped 40 HR practitioners build new OD skills and delivered several HR business partner masterclasses, developing skills in business savviness, analytics and influencing.

Sinead Trudgill

"The CIPD Profession Map has helped us take a fresh look at our people function, review the capabilities we have in our team and ensure we have the right skills for the future."

Sinead Trudgill, Director of HR, Network Rail

Building HR capability in the retail sector

Throughout 2018–19 we worked extensively across a number of large retailers to professionalise their HR functions. These included Tesco, Sainsbury's, Metro AG, Co-Op and Asda, who together employ around 1.1 million people.

At Tesco, our ongoing partnership continues to flourish. This year we co-created a suite of learning and development resources focused on improving the people team’s knowledge and understanding of behavioural science, to help them become true experts in what makes their colleagues tick.

At Metro AG, the world's fourth largest retailer, and employer of 152,000 people, we delivered a HR business development programme to a cohort of 50 HR business partners across Germany, Turkey and Asia. Throughout 2019–20 we’ll roll this out to 300 people across Metro AG's global HR team.

Supporting professionalisation in the Middle East

Partnerships with large employers continue to be an important source of growth for us in the Middle East. This year we signed a memorandum of understanding with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Ministry of HR and Emiratisation to help prepare young Emiratis entering the workforce. The agreement will see us collaborate across research and thought leadership projects as well as deliver events, conferences and development programmes.

In Saudi Arabia, we partnered with the Ministry of Civil Service to develop and deliver a national programme to upskill around 400 HR professionals in the public sector. By upskilling so many HR professionals across government entities, we're building a community of HR professionals with the right skillset to champion better work and working lives across the Kingdom.

"By upskilling so many HR professionals across government entities, we're building a community of HR professionals with the right skillset to champion better work and working lives across the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia."