What we stand for

The CIPD has worked with a wide range of people to define principles which can guide good HR and workplace decisions. We've listened to our members. We've spoken to universities, policy makers and business leaders. We've reached out to the wider HR community. And what we've discovered is this: we are not the only ones with a hunger for change. We are not the only ones who see the tangible benefits of doing things differently.

So we are defining what it means to be a people professional and setting out what we stand for in a set of fundamental principles for building better work and working lives

Our three principles for better work and working lives – work matters, people matter, professionalism matters – are a set of fundamental beliefs that, in any situation, will help make good decisions when there are no obvious solutions, rules or precedents to guide us.

Our professional principles for better work and working lives

Work matters

  • Work can and should be a force for good – for organisations, workers and the communities, societies and economies they’re part of.
  • Good work is purposeful; it is designed to help everyone use their skills and talents effectively and find personal meaning in the work they do.
  • Good work is safe and inclusive; it recognises contribution in a fair manner and values human connection.
  • Good work exists for the long-term benefit of individuals, organisations and society, and balances economic needs with social accountability.

People matter

  • People are fundamental to businesses and organisations; they are unique and worthy of care, understanding and investment.
  • People should have access and opportunity to work, and be provided with the support, development and resources to be effective; in turn, individuals have a personal responsibility for their work, development and behaviour.
  • People deserve to be treated fairly and have a meaningful voice on matters that affect them, in addition to their rights and protection under law.

Professionalism matters

For the people profession this means:

  • being ambassadors for the profession by acting with integrity and championing better work and working lives in all we do
  • a commitment to continually develop, and to make decisions which are principles-led, evidence-based and outcomes-driven
  • bringing our expertise on people, work and change, together with our understanding of how business creates value for all, to balance the risks and opportunities inherent in any organisation
  • understanding the implications of our decisions beyond the interests our own organisations, for the good of wider society.

What next?

We know that applying these principles – to decisions big or small – won’t always be easy. HR and L&D professionals are often expected to be a ‘partner’ to the business, so it can be tough to challenge decisions; or to make decisions that don’t involve compromising the needs of one group to serve another. We have also reached a point where even basic assumptions – like where we work, what an employee is, what a career is, or how work gets done – has changed dramatically. This means the situations in which we make decisions are unprecedented and the outcomes unpredictable. And that’s a real challenge for a profession that has previously defined ‘good’ through best practice. Best practice is based on what’s worked well in the past, in specific contexts, so it’s of little use when we encounter situations that have never been dealt with before.

Our new Professional Standards Framework will place those principles at its core, setting out the knowledge and behaviours you’ll need to champion better work and working lives in all you do. It will create clear standards for people professionals at every level, and an international gold standard for Chartered members. It will support you to make confident choices, develop you throughout your career and inspire you for the future.

Get involved

Keep up-to-date on the framework’s progress at cipd.co.uk/framework.

Help us shape the future of our profession – no matter what your interest in HR and people development, and no matter where you live, email info@cipd.ie to register your interest.

Have your say in the online debate, share your stories, ideas and challenges on our community platform, and tweet hashtag #ChangingHR

Share your ideas

Part of a movement for better business

The CIPD is part of a broader movement campaigning for better business. Find out more about some of the other champions of a brighter, more ethical future of work.

Blueprint for Better Business

Supporting and challenging businesses to operate true to a purpose which serves society, respects the dignity of people and thereby generates a fair return for investors

Find out more

The Future of Work is Human

A CIPD-affiliated community passionate about the future of work, including business leaders, HR professionals, academics, educators, media commentators, trade unions, NGOS and policy-makers.

Find out more

The B Team

A not-for-profit initiative formed by a global group of business leaders, aiming to catalyse a better way of doing business for the well-being of people and the planet

Find out more

Engage for Success

A voluntary movement promoting employee engagement as a better way to work, which benefits employees, teams, and organisations alike

Find out more

Explore our related content

Blogs on Profession for the Future