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A new Professional Standards Framework

03 March 2017

Support, develop, inspire

Our new Professional Standards Framework will create clear standards for people professionals at every level, but will also define an international gold standard for Chartered members. The framework will set out the knowledge, behaviours and impact which will help us to champion better work and working lives in all we do, whether we are dealing with a request for maternity cover, campaigning to change attitudes in flexible working or looking for ways to develop our unique knowledge and expertise.

In short, it will support people professionals to make confident choices, develop them throughout their careers, and inspire them for the future.

Getting to the heart of what it means to be a professional

Our research has defined what it means to be a people professional, not just in terms of knowledge, but in terms of integrity, character, behaviour and the ability to draw on our unique expertise to make good judgements. Our new framework will build on that research, pulling all those areas into one coherent structure which will have our professional principles at its heart.

Principles-led, evidence-based, outcomes-driven


Principles enable us to make good decisions based on a clear purpose. As the world of work evolves, we’ll encounter more and more situations which are completely new and might not fit under our current policies, processes and rules. There are also plenty of situations where you can follow the rules, but not do the ‘right’ thing. Principles trust us to use our situational judgement to make that call, focusing on what we stand for and believe in, which is why they're at the heart of the Professional Standards Framework.


The Professional Standards Framework will help us base our decisions on strong evidence, and dispel the myth that evidence is about hard numbers alone. Evidence should combine:

  • data which gives meaningful insights into your workforce
  • a deep understanding of human psychology and behaviour
  • learning from the relationships we have with people from around the business
  • outside evidence, such as independent research and surveys.

Outcomes driven

A central idea of the new Professional Standards Framework is that work must balance economic needs with social accountability. It will consider impact in terms of the organisations we work for, workers and wider society, guiding people professionals to be driven by human outcomes alongside business ones.

Get involved

We’ll develop the framework by consulting with our members, the wider HR profession (both in the UK and internationally), business leaders, students, universities and other professional bodies. We’ll be running events and focus groups, as well as using our online communities, website and social media. We want to make sure we give everyone the opportunity to get involved in helping to shape the future of the profession.

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