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The learning & development needs of IC newcomers

Last month, the IoIC shared a short survey asking internal comms professionals to let us know about their perspective of their learning and development needs, based on the IoIC profession map.

Of the 92 respondents who completed the survey, 17 fell into the FutureNet criteria of having three years' or less experience of working in internal communication (thank you if you were one of them!)

With a small sample size in terms of the general population of internal communication professionals, and specifically those within the FutureNet sphere, we don't claim that the results of the survey are generalisable, but they do give us some insights which we'll use to inform activities and the ways in which we can support the network going forward.

The objectives of the survey were to gain some understanding of the areas in which IC professionals felt confident in their knowledge and skills, according to the six areas of the profession map; where they had identified a need to develop; and the ways in which they would like to be better supported by the IoIC in order to develop. We were unsurprised to find that, amongst the FutureNet range of respondents, levels of confidence were highest in relation to the Creating & Curating Content & Conversation professional area – the area which tends to be a comfort zone for a large majority of internal communicators. Also unsurprisingly, the area which a high proportion of respondents had identified as a weakness was Strategy, Planning & Business Acumen – typically an uncomfortable zone.

We were saddened to see that none of the respondents with three years' or less experience had identified any area of the profession map as one in which they were confident that their knowledge and skills were strong – perhaps indicating a humility amongst IC professionals at this stage of their career (and an awareness that we can always learn, develop and grow!) but perhaps also indicating that there is a need for us to encourage members of the network to develop their sense of self-belief.

The survey also included a question regarding the extent to which IC professionals believed that their knowledge and skill requirements will change due to the impacts of Covid-19 (with only one of the 17 respondents believing that they wouldn't need to gain new knowledge and skills in order to continue to perform their role effectively), and the professional area in which they will most need to develop their existing knowledge and skills as a result. Again, Strategy, Planning & Business Acumen came out on top with, interestingly, Understanding People & Cultures coming last.

We recently held a FutureNet event which gave IC professionals the opportunity to come online and discuss the challenges (and successes) which the last few months had brought about. We're now planning follow up sessions, based on the results of a poll ran during the session as well as the results of the L&D survey, to ensure we can continue to support newcomers to internal communication during this time and share the wealth of knowledge and experience that we know this group of professionals has. We hope you'll be able to join us for the next session – do look out for more details coming soon. 

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