Hurrah! I have
just returned from the
celebration, together with the fact that the kids have gone back to school this
week (have you noticed the traffic?!), has prompted me to think about learning
and development. It’s an area I’m passionate about and, painful as it sometimes
is, I do practice what I preach.
A few years ago I was part of a small group of people from across the internal comms world which developed the Inter-Comm professional development matrix. With backing from all the key players in the industry, it was a first step towards creating a clear and consistent development framework for communicators. It’s looking a little dated now (we’re planning a refresh soon), but it’s still a robust piece of work and a great starting point if you’re contemplating your development.
As every good HR
person will tell you, there are numerous options – formal training, coaching
and mentoring, educational courses, visiting other organisations, secondments,
volunteering to support one of the professional bodies, and so on. I will return to this subject, but for now I
want to concentrate on degree and post grad courses.
I’m often asked to recommend a good degree course for internal communicators, something I really struggle with. It’s not that the courses out there are no good, it’s just that there are so few of them to choose from. These are the only three dedicated IC courses in the UK I know about:
- Kingston University - post graduate diploma and MA in IC management
- Bournemouth University - post graduate certificate in IC management
Let me know if you’re aware of any others.
There are, of course, lots of wonderful PR-based courses catering for the sexy end of our profession, but most of them pay mere lip service to internal comms (apparently Lincoln University has a module called 'internal PR' in its PR degree!) The course I studied was different and very relevant. I'm sure there are others like it.
And don’t get me started on MBAs and broader business courses – though they often cover change management, most of them wouldn’t give employee communication a second thought.
I find this whole area rather frustrating, but it’s indicative of the immaturity of our ‘profession’. Before we can earn the right to use that tag we need academia to wake up to IC, we need the disparate associations to come together, we need agreement on what it means to be an IC professional, and we need practitioners to be required to undertake continuing professional development. These, for me, are vital ingredients of professionalism.
We’ll get there, but it will take time. Until then it’s up to each of us to take learning seriously. If you haven’t already got one, take the opportunity to draft a personal development plan this week.