Information on the CIPD's vision for the future of the profession

What is Profession for the Future?

Profession for the Future is the CIPD’s definitive roadmap to better work and working lives. It’s the CIPD's vision for our evolving profession, complete with practical ways for people professionals to make a greater impact and thrive through change.

We believe in the power of the people profession to actively drive changes in the world of work, not to merely respond to them. Profession for the Future sets out how we will shape the future of work, with confidence and credibility, as individuals and collectively. The new Profession Map is the first step on that journey.

See more FAQs below.

This is an exciting time to be a people professional. The world of work is shifting fast. Innovation and change is happening everywhere. The future will raise new questions, but also new opportunities. Now more than ever, we all need a strong foundation giving us the confidence and capabilities to guide our decision making, actions and behaviours.

The new Profession Map provides that foundation by setting out the knowledge and behaviours required to make your greatest impact and thrive in the changing world of work.

Apply the new Profession Map to guide better decisions and outcomes, act with confidence, perform effectively, drive change in your organisation and progress in your career. In the process, make a meaningful contribution to the ultimate purpose of the people profession: championing better work and working lives.

To maintain our collective identity as a profession, we need a shared understanding of what’s important, what we stand for and what we're trying to achieve – in other words, a set of guiding values to help us make decisions.

The new Profession Map defines the knowledge, behaviours and inherent values underpinning today’s people profession. It is the most effective way yet for people professionals globally to make sound decisions and embrace change in the modern world of work.

Conversations about ethics are already the norm in business – other professions like accountancy already have a set of agreed principles, and the majority of FTSE 100 companies acknowledge that their businesses exist to create value for multiple stakeholders. In this context, why shouldn’t the people profession adopt a values-based approach?

As a professional body, we have a responsibility to our members and the people profession more generally, but also a wider purpose to champion better work and working lives for the benefit of individuals, businesses, economies and society. We do this by providing research, qualifications and CPD tools to ensure that people professionals worldwide achieve the latest standards of practice and excellence.

We are a registered charity with a Royal Charter – our purpose is to champion better work and working lives and our strategy will ensure we can continue to do so as the world of work evolves. We have a responsibility to our members to make sure that we continue to offer a valuable designation for the lifespan of their careers and a responsibility to society at large to continue to champion better work and working lives. We believe that good people management and development is vital to creating shared value for a range of stakeholders, and we can only achieve this by continuing to raise the credibility, influence and impact of the people profession.

The term 'best practice' is usually used in the context of applying certain policies or approaches, but it begs the question: Best for what, and for whom? The 2013 Profession Map captures the knowledge, skills, behaviours and practices demonstrated by some of the best people professionals around the world, but ‘best practice’ can only ever describe what’s worked in the past; what was effective in one place and time may not be best practice at all in another context. It is for this reason that the CIPD no longer uses the term 'best practice' and instead refers to 'best fit'.

The new Profession Map has been developed to reflect the changing world of work; the focus has moved from activities and generic best practice to impact and outcomes using values-based decision making that’s context agnostic. It's more inclusive of different disciplines (Diversity and inclusion, People analytics and Employee experience); it reflects our profession’s latest research and thinking and will continue to do so as the new Profession Map evolves to remain relevant and future-fit.

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