Steven Fox – [email protected]
upenn.edu – 46890050On April 2017, the Darwin Award was posthumously given to a welder who decided that a fire extinguisher could be fired from an artillery howitzer. He was technically correct but the shrapnel produced from the firing sadly led to his immediate death. While the fire extinguisher and the artillery howitzer are each useful tools, in the wrong hands, the consequences can be deadly. So it is the same with emojis. The right tools in the wrong hands can lead to tragic consequences.Green Napkin is a collegial environment with relaxed communication rules given it is a startup. Emojis have brightened up some of the communication at the company.
For example, the young head of marketing uses emojis to encourage her team to communicate how each of them is feeling and to make communications to external partners feel friendlier. However, some members of the team have used emojis poorly. The CFO, a seasoned financier, recently started using emojis and sent a kiss emoji to an intern after he completed a task particularly well and an eggplant emoji to the Founder after a closing dinner at a vegetarian restaurant. This has made it clear that some guidelines should be set for communication.Emojis should be added to the approved style guide. They are an important communication tool that people will likely use anyway if they are not specifically approved. Green Napkin being a startup probably does not need to codify a prescriptive set of rules but should adopt the following communications guidelines that would apply to many situations, even emojis.1.
Think about how your writing could be interpreted by others2. When in doubt about emojis, don’t use them or mirror the level of usage by the person you are communicating with. For example, if a customer does not use emojis, it may not be wise for the customer service agent to avoid them as well3. Emojis should be used to clarify not cloud communication.
If there is any doubt about the tone of your message, it’s best to pick up the phone or meet in person4. Regardless of title, employees have the right to raise concerns/questions around emoji usage of all employees, even senior employees, especially if that messaging comes off as inappropriate