What Emoji Use at Work Can Tell Us About Team Dynamics

A new significant data investigation undertaking discovered that emoji use at operate differs drastically based mostly on the user’s position, enterprise and conversational scenario.

Emojis have come a very long way since their introduction in 1998. In fact, in 2020 the Unicode Consortium officially additional 117 new emojis bringing the overall variety of accepted emojis to three,304. Emojis (also known as emoticons, electronic icons) have turn out to be a major ingredient of business enterprise communications thanks to prompt chat providers like Slack, Skype and Teams, still their usage in the workplace has not been rigorously analyzed.

Image: Rawf8 – stock.adobe.com

My workforce and I not too long ago labored on a undertaking to anonymously analyze how leaders use emojis when communicating with their workforce associates at operate. We parsed anonymized emoji reactions from Slack messages at four various enterprises in excess of a 180-day period in 2020. The overall data established involved in excess of eighty three,000 messages with in excess of one zero one,000 emojis of 466 various sorts (customized Slack emojis have been excluded). Our workforce also extracted metadata on the messages the emoji have been responding to and the sentiment of the emoji them selves. This gave us the special capacity to not only appear at summary distributions of emoji usage, but to also analyze the utility of emojis in directing dialogue.

It is truly worth noting that (amazingly) there was incredibly minimal improve in the data from Q1 2020 to Q2 2020, so the boost in distant operate thanks to the coronavirus pandemic did not show up to have a major affect on emoji usage.

Now on to some of the essential conclusions:

Do folks stick to making use of the identical established of emoji? In brief, of course, they do. 1.2{d11068cee6a5c14bc1230e191cd2ec553067ecb641ed9b4e647acef6cc316fdd} of people utilised much less than ten emojis in the past 180 days and 50.seven{d11068cee6a5c14bc1230e191cd2ec553067ecb641ed9b4e647acef6cc316fdd} of people utilised much less than five emojis in that time. It is not apparent from our data if this is because of to personalized desire, or if the “Frequently Used” and “Handy Reactions” menus in Slack encourages folks to stick to the identical established (probably some of equally).

Do folks use particular sorts of emoji in response to precise sorts of messages? There are major differences in emoji usage based mostly on the intent of the concept that the emoji is utilized to. We calculated the variance between the world-wide usage charge for every emoji, and the usage fees of that emoji in response to messages of a precise intent (we’ve good-tuned BERT to classify messages into a variety of conversational intents, such as “giving praise”, “scheduling a assembly”, “requesting facts”, etc.).

For instance, an advertisement-hoc scheduling ask for will get the Thumbs Up emoji 16{d11068cee6a5c14bc1230e191cd2ec553067ecb641ed9b4e647acef6cc316fdd} more often than general posts will (they are also probably to get the Espresso Cup). Posts that give recognition get Clapping Fingers 6{d11068cee6a5c14bc1230e191cd2ec553067ecb641ed9b4e647acef6cc316fdd} more and the Noisemaker 4{d11068cee6a5c14bc1230e191cd2ec553067ecb641ed9b4e647acef6cc316fdd} more. Posts that notify that operate has been finished get Thumbs Up fifteen{d11068cee6a5c14bc1230e191cd2ec553067ecb641ed9b4e647acef6cc316fdd} more (and are also more probably to get the Rocket Ship) and posts that specific question also get the Thumbs Up nine{d11068cee6a5c14bc1230e191cd2ec553067ecb641ed9b4e647acef6cc316fdd} more.

Do managers and employees use emojis uniquely? The prime five emojis utilised by managers are completely various than the prime five utilised by their workforce associates. In general, supervisor emojis tend to show positivity and appreciation (like the Clapping Fingers and the Noisemaker) and workforce member emojis tend to show acknowledgement (like Checkmark and Eyes). Our workforce is happy to see so many good and encouraging emojis utilised regularly by managers!

Do various organizations use emojis in another way? Our workforce discovered overlap in how various organizations utilised Slack emojis, but also major differences. Firms do appear to build their personal similar but unique emoji “vernacular.” This could be brought about by a range of elements like enterprise society, differences in workforce constructions, etc.

In spite of all these differences, which emoji designed the leaderboard general? The most typically utilised emojis general have been (in buy of usage) Thumbs Up at thirty{d11068cee6a5c14bc1230e191cd2ec553067ecb641ed9b4e647acef6cc316fdd}, Coronary heart at 8{d11068cee6a5c14bc1230e191cd2ec553067ecb641ed9b4e647acef6cc316fdd}, Laughing Deal with at 6{d11068cee6a5c14bc1230e191cd2ec553067ecb641ed9b4e647acef6cc316fdd}, Hearth at five{d11068cee6a5c14bc1230e191cd2ec553067ecb641ed9b4e647acef6cc316fdd}, and the Noisemaker at 4{d11068cee6a5c14bc1230e191cd2ec553067ecb641ed9b4e647acef6cc316fdd}. As you can see, Thumbs Up is the most well known by a huge margin and all of the prime five emojis have a good sentiment. Negative emojis are not utilised often.

All in all, emoji use is more customized that you may possibly believe and relies upon on an individual’s enterprise and posture. Subsequent time you consist of an emoji in your chat company of preference, think about why you chose that distinct one — it just may possibly support strengthen your electronic communications with your workforce.

Andy Horng is Co-Founder and Head of AI at electronic leadership platform Cultivate. He has a background in data science and has labored as a software package engineer building machine finding out tools for lawful document investigation and professional medical investigation. He retains a BS in Electrical Engineering/Pc Science and a BA in Cognitive Science, equally from the University of California Berkeley.


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