The Profession Map sets the international benchmark for the people profession. It helps leaders understand the knowledge and behaviours people professionals need to make an impact in the changing world of work. You can use the Profession Map to develop your people team or function and create value for your organisation and its wider communities.  

Building a credible people team role models the development of others’ talents and capabilities and builds organisation capability. We’ve created this step-by-step guide to support leaders in using the Profession Map to build the capability of teams that deliver HR, L&D, OD or other areas of the people profession.

How to use the Profession Map for your team

Step 1

Decide on the level of impact the service or supplier will have 

The standards sit at four levels inside the Profession Map, each describing a different level  of impact people professionals have in the work they do: 

  • 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. 

The Find your level section provides a summary and a more detailed description of the levels, which will help you identify which level best maps to each role in your team or function. This could be done as a simple desktop exercise using job descriptions. Alternatively, you could create a working group from across the team or function to discuss how roles map to the four levels to engage team members from the start. 

Step 2

Identify which roles require specialist knowledge 

As well as the core behaviour and knowledge standards that apply to all people roles, there are nine people specialisms which define the expert knowledge you need in each of these areas. 

Identify which roles require specialist knowledge. These will generally be specialist people roles or those within a Centre of Excellence or Expertise; for example, a Reward Manager, OD consultant, or an Employee Relations Advisor. As with step 1, this could be done as a desktop exercise or by involving team members. 

You may find it helpful to create a spreadsheet which maps a list of roles against the levels and specialisms.

Step 3

Identify strengths and development gaps to create development plans

Based on the role mapping produced in steps 1 and 2, evaluate the current level of knowledge against the core knowledge standards (and specialist standards if relevant), and the current approach and confidence against the core behaviour standards for each role, at the appropriate level. This can be done by:

  • asking each individual to assess themselves in this way
  • holding discussions between individuals and line managers
  • groups of individuals in the same role evaluating themselves together, and offering each  other feedback. 

To inform this, individuals could also seek feedback from other stakeholders on their strengths and development areas to be considered alongside any self or manager evaluation.

The following questions may help:

  • Which standards are vital to their work, team or organisation now and in the foreseeable future?
  • Which standards are most valued by stakeholders, and how might this change in the future?
  • Which standards does the individual apply and demonstrate consistently to make an impact?
  • In which standards do others see this person as an expert or role model, and seek their support?
  • Where does the individual have knowledge gaps which, if filled, would enable them to have greater impact now and in the future?
  • Which behaviours does the individual feel less confident in? Which ones take conscious effort and hard work? 

Ask individuals or teams to use the insight to identify up to three development objectives to focus on at any time. Remember to encourage your people professionals to maximise strengths and address any development gaps by using a range of development opportunities, particularly work-based and peer learning. Agree on what ongoing leadership support will be in place, and how and when progress will be reviewed.

Step 4

Using the standards to enable talent management

You can also use the new standards to prepare and develop individuals for future roles or opportunities.

Individuals with the potential to make an impact at a different level could evaluate themselves against the standards at the next level up in the framework. For example, if an L&D advisor is currently working at Associate level, they could be reviewed against the core knowledge standards, core behaviour standards, and L&D specialist standards at Chartered Member level. Using step 3, support them to identify development objectives to facilitate future progression. 

Individuals considering a move into a specialist role (eg from a business partner role to a centre of expertise role) could also evaluate themselves in relation to the relevant specialist knowledge standards at the same level they’re currently working at. Using step 3, support them to identify development objectives to enable the role move and ensure impact from day one. 

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