As an industry, Internal Communications is a relatively new business function, compared to likes of ‘Book Keeping’ or even ‘Marketing’. However, Internal Communications is rapidly becoming one of the most sought after and essential functions, when it comes to the success of a company.
Did you know?
There has been a 900% increase* in the amount of times ‘internal communications‘ has been searched for via Google.
(*August 2016 – July 2017 compared to August 2015 – July 2016)
Most companies now recognise the need for an internal communications function, but not all know what to do with the function once they have it in place.
Many surveys have been conducted to gauge the state of the internal communication sector, and some quite positive, thought provoking reports have been produced.
These reports in a nutshell give us a view, from a cross section of internal communications individuals. Of those who contributed, there is evidence that confirms an increase in those who feel they have a ‘clearly defined purpose’.
On the flip-side, I have regular chats with a few fellow internal communicators from a variety of industries and most still feel ‘they’ (as a team or as an individual) lack a clear purpose within the company, or direction from line managers. Many are simply used as a messaging service. (‘Can you send this out, urgently’….Cringe!)
Barrier to Success
There are a number of key stumbling blocks that need to be addressed in order for internal communications to become a mature strategic discipline:
- High level buy-in
- Dedicated budget
- Having a seat at the top table
- Lack of line manager communication skills
By many accounts, the most frequent barrier to success is a shortage of ‘skilled’ internal communications line managers.
A staggering 52% of responders to ‘State of the Sector – Volume 9 – 2017‘ (Gatehouse.co.uk) reported ‘lack of line manager skills‘ as being the main barrier to success.
Personally I tend to agree, there are a lot of senior internal communicators who have transitioned into the industry without formalising their experience with accredited qualifications.
Why do I need professional recognition and creditability?
“An IoIC qualification is proof that you meet professional standards with recognised accreditation by Southampton Solent University.” www.ioic.org.uk
I have yet to meet any fellow Internal Communications Professional (ICP) who could say ‘I’ve always wanted to be an internal communicator’. Although I will say, when you come across an ICP who takes their career seriously, you know straight away.
The IC Professional
The ICP is usually formally qualified, and although they carry that ‘Trusted Advisor’ status, they are always on a continual journey of learning and carry a great reputation among fellow ICPs.
I am in the opinion that ‘we’ need to do more to raise awareness of the ‘IC career path’ and encourage formal qualifications for all internal communicators. We also need to prioritise the showcasing of Internal Communications as a career choice to ‘post-millennial generations’.
Being formally qualified as an ICP, I believe that companies who have taken the steps to invest in an IC function, should also work with the IoIC to ensure all IC managers/leaders have the opportunity to (if not already) receive accredited professional qualifications… A very worthwhile investment.
A big thumbs up to: