The Profession Map sets the international benchmark for the people profession and helps leaders understand the knowledge and behaviours people professionals need to make an impact in the changing world of work.

This step-by-step guide has been created to support people professionals to use the Profession Map to inform role design within HR, L&D, OD and all aspects of the people profession. The CIPD’s job design factsheet gives more information on role or job design.

How to use the Profession Map for role design

Step 1

Explore the level of impact of the role 

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. Read the level descriptions and decide which level best aligns to the role.  When you’ve decided on the level the role operates at, you may wish to use some of the language which describes the level inside the job description (for example, in the role summary or purpose statement). 

Step 2

Decide whether the role requires 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.  

If you’re designing a role that requires specialist expertise, you should also consider the relevant specialist standards. A role may encompass more than one specialism, but we’d suggest using two specialisms as a limit.

Step 3

Identify the standards relevant to the role

Read the core knowledge, core behaviour and any specialist standards at the level identified in step 1. Identify any core knowledge and behaviour standards which will be particularly relevant to the role, and use them to develop the person specification.

For example, if the role is aligned to the Associate level, this is how you might take some standards and develop them into content for the person specification:

How data and analytics can be used and communicated to resolve people issues (from the core knowledge area: Evidence-based practice) becomes Knowledge of how to use a range of evidence to resolve people issues.

Demonstrate a proactive approach to developing your professional knowledge, skills and experience (from the behaviour: Passion for learning) becomes Evidence of a proactive approach to developing professional knowledge, skills and experience.

The CIPD encourages all people professionals to develop themselves across all core knowledge and behaviour standards – even if they’re not outlined in a job description or person specification – to ensure they’re future fit and the best they can be.

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