The Profession Map sets the international benchmark for the people profession and describes the knowledge and behaviours needed to make an impact in the changing world of work. No matter what career stage you’re at, or whether your role is in HR, L&D, OD or another area of the people profession, you can use the Profession Map to inform and guide your professional development to keep you at your best. 

This step-by-step guide will help you think about how you can develop as a people professional.

How to use the Profession Map for yourself

Step 1

Map your role to one of the four levels

Within the Profession Map, the standards sit at four levels, each describing a different level of impact people professionals have in the work they do. The Find your level section provides a summary and a more detailed description of the levels.

Read the level descriptions and decide which level your current work best aligns to, and therefore which level to review yourself at. If you want to progress and increase your impact, you may wish to review yourself at the next level up as well. 

  • Foundation level: Tactical, day-to-day work, delivering immediate and short-term outcomes.
  • Associate level: Operational work, influencing colleagues and customers to deliver short-term value.
  • Chartered Member level: Thinking at a strategic level, delivering work that has complexity, and working with and influencing a range of stakeholders to create medium-term value for the organisation.
  • Chartered Fellow level: Thinking and working at a strategic level, influencing stakeholders across the profession to create long-term organisation value. 

Step 2

Read the standards for your chosen level

Read the standards for the level you are reviewing yourself against. The standards at each level are split into: 

Step 3 

Identify the key standards for the role 

Reflect on your current level of knowledge against the core knowledge standards, and your current approach for the behaviour standards at your chosen level. If you are in a specialist role or are looking to broaden or deepen your technical expertise, you should also explore the relevant specialist knowledge standards at your chosen level. The following questions will help: 

  • Which standards are vital to my work now and in the foreseeable future? 
  • Which standards do I apply and demonstrate consistently to have impact? 
  • In which standards do others see me as an expert or role model, and seek my support? 
  • Where do I have knowledge gaps which, if filled, would enable me to have greater impact now and in the future? 
  • Which behaviours do I feel less confident in? Which ones take conscious effort and hard work? 

Use the insights you gain to inform your professional development plan. We suggest you identify up to three development priorities or objectives to focus on at any time. Remember to think about maximising your strengths as well as addressing development gaps, and make use of a range of development opportunities – particularly work-based and peer learning. 

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