The building blocks of professional HR and L&D
1. What is the Profession Map and what is its purpose?
The CIPD Profession Map sets out comprehensively how HR adds the greatest sustained value to people and organisations, now and in the future. It describes the highest standards of professional competence for people working in HR and L&D.
It captures what successful and effective HR people do and deliver across every aspect and specialism of the profession, and sets out the required underpinning skills, behaviour and knowledge.
The Map underpins the curriculum for our qualifications and the entry criteria for professional membership.
2. Is the Profession Map available to members and non-members?
Yes. The Profession Map is available in full to both members and non-members.
3. How have you developed the Profession Map?
The Map was developed following an extensive review of the global HR Profession and an in-depth investigation involving detailed interviews with HR directors across all main economic sectors and scores of senior professionals and academics.
We investigated the impact of the HR function on the sustainability of business success and as a result the Map represents the needs of the profession today and will evolve over time to respond to further changes and demands in the business and the profession.
Based on research and collaboration with organisations around the world, and continuously reviewed and updated with our research, essentially CIPD’s Profession Map shares what the most successful HR professionals know and do at every stage of their career, which is proving to be a powerful tool. A wide range of organisations and HR professionals are now using the CIPD’s HR Profession Map to benchmark and build their HR capability at individual, team and organisation levels.
4. What are the key components that make up the Profession Map?
There are three main sections to the Map:
There are 10 professional areas within the Map. The two core professional areas Insights, Strategy and Solutions and Leading HR sit at the heart of the profession and are applicable to all HR professionals regardless of role, location or stage of career, whether inside organisations or working with them. For each particular area the Map describes what you need to do (the activities) and what you need to know at four bands of professional competence, as well as outlining the predominant behaviours that you need to exhibit when carrying out the activities.
Find out more about the Professional Areas
Within this section the Map describes the behaviours needed to carry out activities in more detail. Each behaviour is also divided into four bands of professional competence (spanning from entry level to leadership roles). Each behaviour also lists a number of contra indicators which illustrate negative behaviour.
Find out more about the Behaviours
Bands and transitions
There are four bands of professional competence to reflect the hierarchy of the profession within the Map. The Map also identifies and describes how you need to change and develop to move from one band to another.
Find out more about the Bands
5. What is a contra indicator?
Contra indicators are listed in each of the Behaviours. They illustrate negative behaviour.
6. Who is the Profession Map for?
The Map has been developed with both individuals and organisations in mind. It’s a vital resource for anyone working in or connected with the HR profession.
From Band 1 at the start of an HR career through to Band 4 for the most senior leaders, it has been designed to be relevant and applicable to all professionals working across the HR spectrum; so, whether you are a generalist or a specialist (in learning and development, talent, reward, employee relations and engagement, resourcing or OD), wherever you are operating in the world, whatever sector and/or size of your organisation, the Profession Map is for you.
7. How does the Profession Map relate to CIPD professional membership?
The three levels of CIPD professional membership are set at the transitions between bands. That is:
- An Associate member will be able to show sustained performance at Band One level, ready to move to Band Two.
- A Chartered Member will be able to show sustained performance at Band Two level, ready to move to Band Three.
- A Chartered Fellow will be able to show sustained performance at Band Three level, ready to move to Band Four.
The CIPD membership standards and qualification content are drawn from the Profession Map.
8. How can the Profession Map support me in my career?
Use the standards to help you in your own professional development and plan your own career path or your team’s. Use them to help you prioritise your work in the coming months or to help pull together your HR strategy. Use the professional areas that are relevant to you and your work at this time, at the band that most suits your needs.
The Map can be used as a tool to identify your immediate and future development needs.
- CPD planning
- preparation for an appraisal or review
- seeking a promotion
- looking for a new job
- building a case for development
- learning about the profession
- interview preparation
- developing specialist expertise
We recommend you start by using my CPD Map which is an online professional self-assessment tool based on the Map. It's designed to provide you with a convenient and cost-effective way to learn about your strengths and to access practical recommendations and solutions to support your career development.
9. How can my organisation use the Profession Map?
We've developed a tool for organisations which will not only give access to the Map but will also provide additional solutions for driving the development of entire HR functions and teams within an organisation. The tool is supported by a range of generic and bespoke business support services which are delivered by us.
A wide range of organisations have adopted the Profession Map standards to define or benchmark their HR capability. The Profession Map is used as a basis for consultation work with organisations.
Transform the HR function to drive the organisation to sustainable performance:
- increase HR’s capability to work across strategic issues
- build HR’s credibility enabling them to challenge the business
- create a dynamic, high performance culture
- build organisation’s competitive advantage, now and in the future
- reduce organisation’s costs.
- using the content of the CIPD Profession Map as a basis/benchmark to increase the capability in the HR function; benchmarking, diagnosing areas for development and building capability to really deliver in all professional areas.
10. How do the bands in the Profession Map relate to job size frameworks?
The Profession Map sets out the knowledge base, activities and behaviours that span the HR profession from leadership roles to entry level roles. This spans practitioners in organisations across all sectors, of massively varying sizes, as well as individuals working as independent consultants.
As job sizing is predicated first from key organisation dimensions (for example, revenues, scale, geographies, products, markets), this would be impossible to reflect accurately in such a wide spanning framework as our Profession Map. We can work with individual organisations to help tie our Profession Map to internal job architecture (for example, Hay reference levels or job evaluation or Towers Watson’s global grading system).
11. Can the Profession Map be used internationally?
Yes, the Map has been developed to ensure that it’s relevant to international markets and has been tested with international organisations.
‘International HR’ was part of every professional area in our research organisations, so we have developed globally transferable capabilities, which will of course at times need to be supplemented by local, technical capabilities. Market by market, depending upon the organisation and its operating context, different areas of the map will have disproportionate importance (for example, talent management in high pressure, acute talent shortage markets).
12. How will the Profession Map be kept up-to-date and relevant?
We regularly review and update the Map, responding to the needs of the profession and changing landscape of the world of work. We're also scoping out a new Professional Standards Framework that will provide greater clarity around what’s expected of our Chartered Members in all aspects of professionalism. Visit the Profession for the Future section in News and views for more information.
13. How is diversity covered in the Profession Map (why is there no professional area to cover it)?
When the extensive research that lies behind the map was being carried out, it was clear that the best practice organisations were keen to ensure that the concepts supporting Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) were embedded within all professional areas, and not regarded or positioned as an ‘add-on’ to the framework. This reflected their strategies in practice in their organisations, building D&I into normal business and HR policies, practice and measures. All the professional areas and behaviours should be read with this in mind.
We are by no means sidelining either D&I or those who work as specialists within it; we are broadening the expectation that this is the responsibility of all in HR and, indeed, the business.
Find out how to use the CIPD Profession Map for you and your organisation
Using our unique insights drawn from the Profession Map and our knowledge of today’s business challenges we can help you improve your organisation's HR capability and leadership