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IoIC Profession Map

Lara Ibbs, Group Comms and Employee Engagement Business Partner at Tchibo Coffee International, formed part of the professional development advisory board that reviewed and updated the IoIC’s recently relaunched profession map framework. Here she discusses her experience, what she learnt and why 2020 is the right time for the framework to be relaunched.

What was your role on the advisory board? 
The IoIC wanted to ensure it had representation across seniority levels of the profession when reviewing the framework, and I was asked to come on board as someone who was newer to IC than the other participants.
I was thrilled to be asked and used the fact that I was more junior make sure we were creating something that would be truly accessible and equally applicable to someone early on in their career, as much as it would be to someone more established.
I’m also the only internal comms professional in my team at work, meaning I’m both the decision maker and doer, so having that perspective meant we had diversity on the panel in regard to team structures and dynamics.
How did you find the experience? 
It was great! Watching ideas develop into concrete actions and seeing them form and evolve was really exciting.  
I also enjoyed meeting new people and learning about their roles – seeing the similarities and differences that come with IC at different levels and in different sectors. It gave me a whole new perspective and broadened my understanding of internal comms. 
IC can feel a little under the radar, so it was really nice to be part of a group working hard to develop the career for others. The IoIC does great work for the profession and being part of this experience showed me that there is so much going on below the surface that IC professionals are not even aware of. 
What insights/outcomes did you find particularly interesting?
The diversity of ideas brought to the table and the ways in which different people got into the profession were both really interesting to me. 
There were lots of different views being represented, which was fantastic, and I believe has helped us to relaunch a really inclusive, accessible framework. 
Why is it important that the profession map framework exists? And why do you think now is a good time to be relaunching it? 
Internal comms is expanding really quickly but it’s also becoming more niche, and we’re a lot more defined in what we do and who we are. Refreshing the framework was necessary as so much has changed in the field, and in order to build our credibility inside the organisations we work in and to the people coming in from outside, our framework has to reflect how the profession has evolved and what it can offer. 
The framework shows how integral IC is, as opposed to just being an after-thought. It also gives us something solid and professional that shows who we are and what we do, which will help us to attract the best talent into the profession. 
How do you think the relaunched framework will support internal communication professionals in 2020 and onwards with development?
Defining the roles and responsibilities found within IC empowers professionals to grow and develop in a more structured way. 
Previously, people jumped, or sometimes fell, into IC from other areas, but this framework shows people that they can go straight into it and build up experience as they go along – making it a viable, rewarding career. 
How will you use the new framework?
As I mentioned earlier, I’m the only one in my team who works in IC, but I also do employee engagement and I sit as part of HR, so personally the framework will be great for me to use as a development tool. My manager is an HR specialist, so having a framework dedicated to internal comms will really help our conversations and paint a clearer picture of what goes into an IC role and what IC can achieve. 
If my organisation looks to expand internal comms in the future, then the framework will also give me a structured way to see what tools and skills we need to build in the team and what will benefit us most. 
What would you like to see happen in the field of IC as a result of the relaunch? 
I’d like to see it attract more people into the profession, particularly at the start of their careers, and I hope it will give people more of an understanding about what they need to do to gain certain skills and qualifications. People don’t always understand the more technical skills needed for the role – a common misconception is that it’s all very simple to do, but training is needed to do the job effectively.

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