In 2011, the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) launched a signifcant global initiative to define career paths and related competencies, and establish the Global Standard for the Communication Profession. Directed by then international IABC Chair, Adrian Cropley, ABC, FRSA, the Career Road Map Committee began a three-year journey to complete their task.
Both the Career Road Map and the Global Standard are based on quantitative and qualitative research with a broad scope of stakeholder groups, including over 6000 IABC members. This work, which is the culmination of thousands of hours of volunteer time committed by senior communication professionals, paved the way for the Global Communication Certification Council and certification of communication professionals.
In recognition of that work and our commitment to the future of the profession, the Centre for Strategic Communication Excellence proudly shares, verbatim, the Global Standard of the Communication Profession. While this information is in the public domain and available on the IABC website, we believe that the gift of these IABC volunteers to the profession deserves to be seen and heard to help communication professionals ignite their career. The Global Standard of the Communication Profession follows.
Communication professionals represent the voice of an organization as it interacts with customers, clients, employees, partners, shareholders, competitors and the community. The communication professional brings the organization to life with a brand voice that aligns its verbal, visual and digital messages and activities with its mission and vision. By clarifying the brand, communication professionals also help ensure the organisation runs efficiently and effectively.
Communication professionals build a strategic communication plan based on thorough research, they communicate with a variety of audiences in a range of styles, they develop and edit content, and they assess where and how to communicate and how to evaluate the results of their work. They act as the organization’s conscience and strive for its financial, social and environmental sustainability
Six core principles
format_quoteCommunication professionals around the world embrace a shared career purpose and six core principles as the building blocks of their work. Informed by our passion for engaging audiences with strategic communication, our purpose and principles focus our work and form a global standard. Applying that standard enables us to cross all borders, align with diverse cultures and effectively serve organisations of all types and sizes.
Communication professionals adopt the highest standards of professional behavior. They always:
- Communicate with sensitivity to cultural values and beliefs
- Act without deception and in accordance with the law
- Represent the organization truthfully, fairly and accurately
- Enable mutual understanding and respect
- Adhere to the “IABC Code of Ethics for Professional Communicators”
With rigor and discipline, a communication professional identifies opportunities and challenges both inside and outside of the organization. Addressing communication challenges and opportunities with a thoughtful strategy allows the organization to achieve its mission and goals. The communication professional systematically manages communication activities, making decisions based on research, analysis, planning and evaluation. The professional also has the flexibility and creativity to adjust to change inside and outside of the organisation.
Communication professionals research and evaluate how to serve and promote the organization most effectively and then offer recommendations supported by direct and secondary evidence. They develop and implement communication plans and gauge their results using clear qualitative and quantitative measures that can be duplicated.
The communication professional is sophisticated about the organisation’s internal culture and external environment. Deep familiarity with the organisation’s vision and goals and how its elements function together – from accounting to production to human resources -- is crucial to interacting successfully with other leaders of the organization and communicating effectively about the organisation. Advocating successfully for the organisation also depends on a thorough understanding of its political, economic, social, technological, environmental and legal context -- and of how to interact with representatives of other organisations.
A communication professional identifies and communicates with employees, customers, shareholders, regulators, government agencies and other groups with an interest in the organisation’s activities. All these groups have the potential to change the organisation’s results. So the communication professional fosters and nourishes relationships with them that will support the organization’s mission and goals. The communication professional uses dialogue to tell the organisation’s story and garner support.
Acting as the organisation’s voice, a communication professional expresses a single, consistent story for internal and external audiences. This narrative is clear and compelling, it reflects the input and perspectives of diverse stakeholders, and it furthers the organisation’s mission. A communication professional integrates information and inspiration for this narrative from people with diverse perspectives and ensures that communications are culturally appropriate to each audience.