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IoIC Profession Map

Lisa Hawksworth, senior internal communication consultant at scarlettabbott, shares her experience reviewing IoIC’s relaunched profession map framework, and why she thinks its makeover complements the growth and maturity IC has seen in recent years.   

What was your role on the advisory board? 

I’ve got nearly 15 years of IC experience altogether, having worked over a decade in-house and four years in an agency. Having a mixture of the two working environments meant I could bring both perspectives to the group and consider the varying needs associated with each.

How did you find the experience of being involved in the review of IoIC’s profession map framework? 
I only attended one of the reviewing sessions as it was already underway by the time I found out about it, but I thought it was a great collaborative session. Having a range of experience and backgrounds around the table really brought value to the session. 

What insights/outcomes did you find particularly interesting?
I thought it was good to have constructive discussions around the levels of career progression showcased. We had conversations around what it meant to be a level 1 or a level 2, for example, and then what it meant to jump from one level to the next. 
It was also useful to recognise that internal comms roles will rarely be as black and white as a level 4 only doing the work of a level 4, for instance, as you’re often having to roll your sleeves up and flex between different levels of competencies. 
Even when you’re in a senior position, you still need to have the capabilities expected of someone at a more junior level, and you need to be willing to undertake the tasks associated with it from time to time in order to be successful. 

Why is it important that the profession map framework exists? And why do you think now is a good time to be relaunching it?
The framework is a really positive thing for IC in its developed form – there was a lot of contemplating previously, thinking about where the progression was and where IC fits in organisations, but that’s not needed anymore. Now we can articulate what we expect and explain the role to businesses, which is really valuable. 
IC as a profession has grown up. It has become more mature and challenging as a function and it works within higher levels in businesses. 
How do you think the relaunched framework will support internal communication professionals in 2020 with their development?
On an individual level, I think it will encourage people to identify their own progression and where they want to be in their careers. 
For teams, I think managers should utilise it by mapping their staff members across it and identifying where the strengths and weaknesses lie. They can then use that knowledge to articulate to the business the areas they wish to develop, why they want to do it and how they plan to do it. They can also then forecast the benefits that the development should bring, which will strengthen their case.

How will you use the new framework? 
I’ll be using it to look at where I currently sit within the framework and where I want to progress. 
I will also be able to use it in conversation with clients to get an understanding of where they need more support.  
What would you like to see happen in the field of IC as a result of the relaunch? 
I’d like people to get a clearer understanding of where they stand within the framework in regard to their gaps and strengths, and hope that once they have this understanding it will inspire them to invest in their own development by exploring what courses they can attend, identifying what their smart objectives are and putting together a career plan to help them achieve their goals. 
I also hope people use it to have meaningful conversations about where gaps might exist across the industry. For me, the framework gives us a clear structure to see where we’re great and where we need to get better, and once these conversations have been had, we can work together to find a way to address it. 
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