This course includes six lessons, which you can access flexibly. You're free to go at your own pace. The content has been designed so that you can dip into individual lessons which typically take 30-45 minutes if you complete all the content and reflective activities.

The full course provides comprehensive learning on the theme which equates to the content covered on a one-day face-to-face course. We therefore believe this can play a significant part in your professional development journey.

You may choose to complete this course all by yourself. But, you'll get more out of the learning with some support. So, speak to your manager, coach or mentor to help you decide the best way forward. You could review the learning at the same time as a few colleagues, for instance.

This will allow you to share your different thoughts and opinions.

Remember, you're also part of our wider community, with its vast range of experience. So, complete the reflective activities and get involved in the community discussions. Share your unique perspective. We are all there to support each other.

In essence, what matters is that you get as much out of the learning as you can. Take your time to reflect on and apply the key messages in your context. Watch the videos more than once, if possible, and make notes in the downloadable workbook as you go along. Before you know it, you'll put the learning into practice and making a real impact in your role.

Mapping to the standards

This course maps to the Chartered level of the Insights focused standards. If you just want to gain an introduction to these standards at the Foundation level we recommend that you watch the video below.

This short, animated video provides an overview of the key elements of this core behaviour. It brings to life the five statements at Foundation level for Insights focused in the CIPD Profession Map:

  • Ask questions to understand problems or issues
  • Accurately retrieve and collate data to inform decisions
  • Accurately analyse and evaluate evidence
  • Contribute ideas using a reasoned approach
  • Summarise data and evidence effectively
Play Video
Insights focused - course overview


Grace is a management trainee who has recently completed an organisational design and development qualification, who has been assigned to the HR department of a major retail group.

She's called in to see Lucas, who's only just been transferred into the role of HR manager for Western Region Stores after a period working in Head Office on a leadership programme.

Lucas is looking through the reports for the past year and has noticed there was an unusually high staff turnover at one of the stores.

He asks Grace to investigate.

Grace asks Lucas what historical data is available and how much turnover tends to vary across stores and over time.

She also asks what scope she has to speak to the people involved and what data she can access.

They agree to discuss the situation again in two weeks' time.

Having an insights focus means asking questions to understand problems or issues.

Grace has started off her assignment by seeking to understand the situation and to establish the parameters for her investigation.

With Lucas's help, Grace obtained access to all the relevant data on employee turnover, as well as sales figures and staff survey reports.

She also looked at exit interview reports from the relevant store, although in most cases these seemed not to have been completed.

Having an insights focus means accurately retrieving and collating data to inform decisions.

Grace has gathered as much data as she can to support her understanding of the causes of the high employee turnover.

Grace finds some clues from the staff survey data. The previous year’s report indicated below average staff satisfaction with management from employees at the store under review.

She also finds out that the manager at the store was moved on to another city about three months ago.

Grace decides to talk to the new manager, who reveals that she’s heard some alarming stories about the behaviour of the previous manager. While he achieved reasonable sales, his approach could be interpreted as aggressive, and staff found him challenging and unpredictable.

The new manager goes further. Her impression is that employees at the store didn’t know who to turn to. And they were afraid that, if they did make a complaint, it'd come back at them and cause a scene.

From combining all the different insights and evidence she’s received, Grace has been able to build a picture of what's happening.

Having an insights focus means accurately analysing and evaluating evidence.

Grace has obtained some useful evidence and, while this needs verification, it provides a useful basis on which to proceed.

Grace talks to some of the HR staff who work with stores around the country.

She particularly wants to know how effective the process is for making complaints about harassment and other negative behaviour.

From the discussion, it appears that this is not the first time this issue has been raised.

Grace suggests a confidential hotline. Others have alternative ideas but there is a consensus on the need to check these ideas with employees in the stores to see what would work for them.

Grace also queries how a manager who is clearly causing such a bad reaction from his staff could be moved on to another position, seemingly without question, and whether there is a repeat of the reported behaviour in the new position.

They agree that the problems with staff turnover and the possibility of a link to the manager’s poor behaviour were not picked up early enough.

Having an insights focus means contributing ideas using a reasoned approach.

Grace is making her own contribution to the debate and making sure that ideas are tested against the evidence. It's time for action.

Grace gathers her evidence and completes further checks to make sure she fully understands the situation and hasn’t made any unsubstantiated claims.

She assembles a brief report describing the situation, the supporting data and evidence, her conclusions about the cause of the problem and her recommendations for action.

She is suggesting a re-think about the complaints procedure for store staff, as well as a new process for picking up potential people problems in stores.

She sends this to Lucas a day before their meeting.

She's sure he’ll want to take this further.

Having an insights focus means summarising data and evidence effectively.

Grace is in a relatively junior position and may not be the right person to act on what she has discovered. However, she's provided the basis for action by gathering the relevant data, examining the evidence and then using this to gain insights into the causes of the problem.

This is a good example of being insights focused.

Learning objectives

This course will help you to build your confidence and practice in:

  • taking a disciplined and open-minded approach to understanding and defining organisation issues and their root causes

  • acquiring multiple sources of evidence to test assumptions and ideas

  • objectively analysing and evaluating multiple sources of evidence to create insight, identifying sources of bias

  • collectively developing and improving the quality of ideas and proposals

  • assimilating evidence and ideas to identify themes and connections and gain insight into the whole issue and its wider implications


You need to be a CIPD member and logged into the website to access each of the lessons.

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Download the course workbook

This interactive workbook will help you to make the most out of the course. Use the workbook to reflect on your learning and record your notes as you go along.