People professionals are often involved in solving complex organisational problems and need to understand ‘what works’ in order to influence key organisational outcomes. The challenge is to pick reliable, trustworthy solutions and not be distracted by unreliable fads, outdated received wisdom or superficial quick fixes.

This challenge has led to evidence-based practice. The goal is to make better, more effective decisions to help organisations achieve their goals.

At the CIPD, we believe this is an important step for the people profession to take: our Profession Map describes a vision of a profession that is principles-led, evidence-based and outcomes-driven.

This guide sets out what evidence-based practice is, why it’s important, what evidence we should use and how the step-by-step approach works. It builds on previous CIPD publications1 and the work of the Center for Evidence-Based Management (CEBMa), as well as our experience of applying an evidence-based approach to the people profession.

What is evidence-based practice?

Why do we need to be evidence-based?

What evidence should we use?

How do we make evidence-based decisions?

How to move towards an evidence-based profession


Notes and further reading

Acknowledgements and publication information

Evidence-based practice: A video introduction

In this short video, HR and business experts offer an introduction to the what, why and how of evidence-based practice.

Read our case studies which demonstrate how an evidence-based practice approach helped:

Evidence-based practice:
Essential Insights

Get to the heart of evidence-based practice and recognise the types of evidence that best inform your professional judgement and decision-making

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