Professional principles

Professional principles

30 March 2017

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.

Our professional principles for better work and working lives are a set of fundamental beliefs which, in any situation, will help make good decisions when there are no obvious solutions, rules or precedents to guide us. They represent who we are, what we stand for, our aims and our identity as a profession.

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?

To make it really clear how we expect our members to apply these principles in practice, we’re developing a new Professional Standards Framework. But first, we need you to tell us what support you’ll need. We’ll be taking both your challenges and your suggestions, and turning them into ideas of how we can support you to uphold the principles in your daily work. If you’d like to get involved, register your interest at

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