More, now than ever, people professionals are taking an evidence-based approach to their work, using organisation data, research, stakeholder insights and perspectives as well as professional expertise to deliver work that’s impactful.

Evidence-based practice is, quite simply, taking an evidence-based approach to your work: using the right data and the right information in a structured way, to inform the decisions you take and the work that you do, because it leads to better outcomes.

This area of the Profession Map focuses on the knowledge required to take this evidence-based approach. It covers an understanding of evidence-based practice itself, as well as how to analyse and solve problems in order to understand the business problem that needs resolving. It also includes knowledge of how to use evidence in your work, such as using and commissioning research, using data and analytics, and exploring stakeholder needs and concerns.

This Core knowledge area is strongly supported by two of the core behaviours: Insights focused, and Situational decision-making. Together, they are the knowledge and behaviours required for people professionals to be truly evidence-based in their approach at work, and to live the CIPD’s values.

The essence of the value created by organisations is delivering the promise made to a customer and that applies equally whether you are operating in the for-profit, public or not-for-profit sectors. In terms of how analytics contributes to the creation of value, this quote from the late author Terry Pratchett comes to mind: "If you do not know where you come from, then you don't know where you are, and if you don't know where you are, then you don't know where you're going. And if you don't know where you're going, you're probably going wrong"

Eugene Burke, Psychologist, Data Analyst, Board Advisor and Analytics Advisor to the CIPD

Evidence-based practice standards

Each standard progresses through four levels of impact. Which level do you most embody in your day-to-day work?

Foundation level Associate level Chartered Member level Chartered Fellow level
At this level you'll understand: At this level you'll understand: At this level you'll understand: At this level you'll understand:
Evidence- based practice What evidence-based practice is, and the different steps and types of evidence used The four types of evidence used in decision-making, and how to identify and acquire sources of evidence How to assess the quality and relevance of evidence available, by identifying sources of bias and using evidence- based questioning models How to build organisation capability and systems to enable evidence-based practice
Analysis and problem solving Analysis and problem- solving tools (eg SWOT, PESTLE, 5 Whys) How to select analysis ad problem-solving tools for a specific situation How to use analysis and problem-solving techniques to translate issues into answerable questions How to develop analysis and problem-solving capability
Data and analytics What data is and why it’s important How data and analytics can be used and communicated to resolve people issues How to use data and analytics (eg people, financial, business) How to use business and people analytics and insights to influence and shape strategy
Research How to access research via websites (such as the CIPD website) How to access published research relating to your area of work How to use relevant research (published or commissioned) Emerging research and findings that have the potential to add value to the organisation
Stakeholder insight The range of stakeholders that people professionals work with Stakeholder analysis and mapping and ways to gather stakeholder feedback (eg pulse checks and surveys) How to explore stakeholder needs and concerns using a range of methods (eg focus groups) How to reflect and balance different stakeholders’ perspectives and values when developing strategy
Measuring impact The different measures used in your organisation and how they apply to your work Measures and metrics that can be used to track the achievement of outcomes and the impact of your work How to define outcomes for people practices and measure their impact and value How to define outcomes for people strategies and measure their short and long-term impact and value

Tools and resources to help you develop

Assess your level, choose
your learning

Use our self-assessment tool to assess yourself against any area of the Profession Map. We’ll recommend relevant learning and resources to help you create your own professional development pathway. 

Callout Image

Next: Technology and people

Understanding people's behaviour and creating the right organisation culture

Continue to Technology and people

The Profession Map

Download the full set of standards
491.7 KB

Explore our related content

Evidence-based practice for effective decision-making

Effective HR decision-making is based on considering the best available evidence combined with critical thinking.

Thought leadership
Building an evidence-based people profession

We all know that being evidence-based helps us make better decisions, but how can we turn this into a reality?

Case studies
Hybrid working and employee wellbeing: International SOS Foundation

A case study on using evidence-based practice to better understand how to support hybrid workforces

Case studies
Performance management: BBC

A case study on using evidence-based practice to reinvigorate performance management practices

Explore our evidence review hub
The Profession Map

Make the most of the Profession Map

The Profession Map is for everyone in our profession – individuals and teams, members and non-members. Learn more about the Profession Map and how you can use it. 

Profession Map
Explore the Profession Map

Explore the purpose, values, knowledge and behaviours at the heart of our profession

Profession Map
The Profession Map

How the international standard works for all people professionals

Profession Map
Find your level with the Profession Map

Find your current level of knowledge and experience and the next step in your career

Profession Map
The Profession Map FAQs

Check out our FAQs on the Profession Map, membership, and qualifications

The Profession Map overview