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The CIPD Human Resources Profession Map

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The HR Profession Map (HRPM) was developed by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development in collaboration with HR and LD professionals, senior business people, academics and their organisations to set the standards of HR professionals. It provides the foundation for global professional competency in Human Resources (HR). The Map consists of three main areas. There are the ten professional areas that define what the HR profession encompasses and each area is divided in what you need to do (activities) and what you need to know (knowledge). Then there are the eight behaviours that identify how professionals need to carry out their activities and they are divided into three clusters. The last main area of the map is the four bands of professional competence that relate to both professional areas and behaviours. They define the contributions that professionals make at every stage of their career. The professional competence ranges from Band 1 that reflects the activities and knowledge pertinent to a HR professional at the beginning of their HR career up to Band 4 that is related to the most senior positions.

The ten professional areas
Two core areas that will be discussed in more details below: – Insights, Strategy and Solutions
– Leading HR

– Organisation design
– Organisation development
– Resourcing and talent planning
– Learning and development
– Performance and reward
– Employee engagement
– Employee relations
– Service delivery and information

The Two Core Professional Areas
Of the 10 professional areas two are considered core areas as they are applicable to all successful HR professionals regardless of their role, location or stage of career and they sit at the heart of the map. The two core areas are “Insights, Strategy and Solution” and “Leading HR”.

Insights, Strategy and Solutions
This area defines that an HR professional should be able to gain a good understanding of the organisation in order to develop strategies and solutions that are applicable to the business at any given time. The HR professional will create activities, strategies and plans that are shaped around good business, contextual and organisational understanding. These are considered the core areas Insights, Strategy and Solutions is based on.

Leading HR
A good HR professional should be able to act as a role model. Their contribution to the organisation should not only be focused on their own efforts. They should also be involved in supporting, developing and measuring others across the organisation. Great professionals develop around three main areas that are personal leadership, leading others and leading issues.

The eight behaviours
While the professional areas identify the activities and knowledge needed to provide HR support, the eight behaviours describe how professionals need to carry out their activities. Like the professional areas, they vary depending on the four bands of professional competence. They are divided into three clusters:

– Insights and influence that consists of three behaviours Curious, Decisive Thinker and Skilled Influencer – Operational excellence that consists of Driven to deliver, Collaborative and Personally credible – Stewardship that consists of only two behaviours, Courage to challenge and Role model

Activities and Knowledge of one particular professional area: Employee
Engagement Of the ten professional areas, Employee Engagement is of particular interest to me. This professional area refers to the work HR professionals need to carry out in order to strengthen the relationships an employee has with their work and colleagues and with the business in general. The more an employee is engaged in their work, the better the contribution they give to the business. The HR professional that works in this area is responsible for the employee employment experience and their goal is to ensure the experience is a positive one. One activity for this particular professional area is Research and Measure Employee Engagement. Depending on the band, the HR professional will make different contributions towards this activity.

An HR professional at band one will research and measure employee engagement by talking and working with them, analysing areas that reflect the employee performance such as sales, customer service, retention, turnover, absentee rate and collecting. They will undertake analysis of the responses from employee engagement diagnostics and processes. Another activity is Development of Employee Engagement Proposals and Plans. At Band 1 it relates to facilitating the contribution of employees to solutions and plans in their area, as well as designing, developing and implementing the presentation of results to influential members of the organisation. The above activities will be carried out on the basis of a specific knowledge that Band 1 identifies as a clear understanding of the key influences on how people behave at work, of internal communication tools, data analysis tools, survey and research design and implementation methodologies.


Understanding customer needs

A key aspect of Human Resources is liaising with customers, either internal such as employees, managers and directors or external such as jobcentres, agencies and candidates. Three examples of HR customers could be identified as directors, managers and employees. They will all refer to HR with specific needs that could sometimes contrast the requests coming from other customers or be in conflict with other HR priorities. As far as the latter is concerned, it is important to understand where the request sits with regards to priority, whether high, medium or low. This can be done by referring to the Time Management Matrix. Whilst with regards to the former it would be a more complex process as it will involve discussing suitable solutions with both parties and ensure customer satisfaction for each customer. An example would be managers requesting their team to do some overtime.

They will refer to HR to request support and advice on how to communicate the decision to the team or to discuss what kind of rewards they can offer in exchange for overtime. Whereas employees would request that the business considers more their personal needs and would refer to HR to express the needs of open communication channels to be able to voice concerns about their manager’s request. In addition, following a new strategy in reorganising the company structure, HR may also receive a request from the director to organise training to specialise some members of the team in some specific areas without hiring more people.

Effective communication

HR specialists also need to be able to communicate clearly and effectively. Multiple communication methods are available. Phone calls could be considered a time effective tool as it allows people to get to the point and clarify possible issues straight away. Although useful to get to a resolution in a speedy way, phone calls can prove not to be the most suitable method in case the parties involved are located in different time zones. They may not either be an efficient method of communication if one of the parties involved is not completely fluent in the language the other parties speak. In these two scenarios a most effective communication tool would be emails. Communicating via emails allows people from different areas to communicate at any time or if not fluent in a language it allows them to spend time to review their message before sending it over. It also allows prioritising your workload as emails can be filtered depending on their importance while it is not possible to filter phone calls unless they first go through a PA for example.

However, emails can sometimes be misunderstood as the tone of voice used in a spoken conversation to better express opinions will be missing in a written correspondence. Presentations are another way of communicating. HR professionals can refer to presentations in different scenarios. For instance with new starters during induction days to provide them with a clear understanding of how the business is structured and the way it operates. Presentations can also be a very useful way of communication at a higher level for instance for meetings with directors or other shareholders. They can be used to present a new business plan or a new strategy following a possible reorganisation of the business due to a change with its budget or a launch of a new product. Presentations are a very good way of communicating ideas and projects however they will need to be expressed through a flawless speech that is created around a few key points highlighted in the presentation. Therefore it may become challenging if interrupted with questions as these may distract and side track the speaker from the main purpose of their presentation.

Effective service delivery
Another key point for HR professionals is to be able to deliver an effective service to their customers. This can be achieved by meeting the key points highlighted below: Delivering service on time: this is possible by firstly setting realistic deadlines with your customers. It will allow us to make sure we can meet those agreed deadlines and meet customer expectations. Delivering service on budget: managing time and workload will ensure a service can be delivered on budget. If this does not happen, other services may be affected as the budget that was planned around them could be reduced in consequence.

Dealing with difficult customers: guidelines can be used when dealing with difficult customers. It is important to remain calm in every difficult situation and clearly discuss with customers the reasons behind what may have caused their frustration. Handling and resolving complaints: firstly it is important to listen to your customers, and then to acknowledge their request, identify suitable solutions or options, establish their advantages and disadvantages, discuss the best solution and come to an agreement, implementing what it has been agreed and finally following up.

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