Change Management WalkMe TeamUpdated October 23, 2023

The 7 Emojis of Change Management

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The 7 Emojis of Change Management

Change management can be a difficult and complex process, but sometimes, even the most novel methods can greatly impact how people perceive and respond to change.

Using emojis for managing change emerges as one of these methods and presents a new and innovative approach to communication.

They may seem like just fun little icons, but they have become crucial to how we communicate, cultivate allyship, and express ourselves in our digital age.

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Emojis can serve as powerful tools for helping people navigate and adapt to new situations by conveying emotions, building empathy, and fostering engagement.

Contrary to popular belief, using emojis in the workplace can have positive effects. ResearchGate reports that a leader’s use of positive emojis can enhance members’ creativity and make them feel less objectified.

By understanding how to use emojis effectively, change managers can improve their ability to connect with stakeholders and overcome resistance to change, ultimately leading to a more dynamic company culture.

This article will explore the 7 key emojis of change management and how they can be leveraged in the change management process.

By the end of this article, you will better understand how emojis can be used as tools for effective change management and how they can combat resistance to change.

What Are Change Management Emojis?

Change management emojis are a set of digital characters and symbols designed to help communicate and manage change effectively.

Once considered by some to be an informal and novel way to communicate, the ubiquitous use of digital tools and platforms (I.e., WhatsApp) has melded societal perceptions of how we use emojis and their understated benefits.

Emojis have become a popular form of expression in modern-day communication and can play a significant role in conveying emotions, building empathy, and fostering engagement, particularly in digital contexts.

The Unicode Standard offers a vast selection of over 3,633 emojis to choose from, providing a range of options for users to convey empathy and nuance when communicating.

In the context of change management, emojis can be used as visual cues to help employees and stakeholders understand the various aspects of a change initiative

For example, different emojis can represent the different stages of change, such as resistance to change, acceptance, or enthusiasm. They can also be used to indicate the emotions that employees may experience during change, such as fear, uncertainty, or excitement.

Why Are Change Management Emojis Important?

With many teams relying heavily on group chats to relay vital information about work, emojis for change management are a powerful tool for any change leader or manager who wants to improve their communication skills and facilitate positive change.

Pioneering companies are realizing this and leveraging the emotive power of these digital symbols to better manage complex transitions and build stronger relationships with employees.

Results from a survey conducted by Slack show that 58% of respondents believe that using emojis at work can help them convey more nuance with fewer words. Additionally, 54% of participants think that the use of emojis can speed up workplace communication.

Change management emojis are important for several reasons, including:

  1. Visual Communication: Emojis allow complex ideas and emotions to be communicated quickly and easily through visual cues. This is especially helpful in change management, where emotions can run high and complex ideas must be conveyed.
  2. Universality: Emojis transcend language barriers and are recognized across cultures, making them useful for communicating with employees and stakeholders from diverse backgrounds. This can help avoid misunderstandings and miscommunication.
  3. Engagement: Emojis can help increase engagement among employees and stakeholders by making communication more engaging and fun. This can help build excitement and enthusiasm around change initiatives.
  4. Empathy: Emojis can be used to convey empathy and understanding of the emotions that employees may be experiencing during a change initiative. This can help build trust and rapport between management and employees.

What Are The 7 Emojis Of Change Management?

Now that we’ve established the importance of change management emojis let’s explore the 7 key emojis that can be leveraged in the change management process.

  • Scratching Head Emoji

Scratching Head Emoji

The scratching head emoji represents confusion and uncertainty, common emotions during times of change.

As a change manager, using this emoji can help acknowledge the challenges and concerns that employees may have during a change initiative.

How They Feel: When confronted with the idea of change, some individuals may find themselves freezing in response. It’s as if their brain momentarily switches off, halting the processing of the information and creating a temporary state of cognitive paralysis.

What you Need To Remind Them: To effectively remind them of the key facts and reasons behind the change, it is important to provide a comprehensive overview. Providing ample time for employees to process information and address questions is key to ensuring a smoother transition. This approach fosters clarity and engagement, allowing individuals to fully understand the rationale behind the change.

  • See No Evil Monkey Emoji

See No Evil Monkey Emoji

The see no evil monkey emoji can represent denial or resistance to change. This is a common response during times of change, as individuals may not want to face the reality of the situation.

It’s important to recognize and address this response with empathy and understanding.

How They Feel: The second stage is denial, a common response when faced with unwelcome news. During this stage, individuals may attempt to rationalize and explain to themselves that it’s a mistake, clinging to the hope that it won’t actually happen.

Alternatively, some may believe that the decision is irrational and that it will not be implemented once management thoroughly evaluates it. This stage is characterized by a mix of uncertainty, resistance, and a reluctance to accept the reality of the situation.

What you Need To Remind Them: If you take the time to help them understand the logic behind the change and provide clear explanations and examples, they will be more likely to cooperate and fully embrace the transformation. Offering a deeper understanding of the reasons and benefits of the change instills a sense of purpose and motivation, fostering greater commitment and enthusiasm for the new direction.

  • Face with Steam from Nose Emoji

Face with Steam from Nose Emoji

The Face with Steam from Nose emoji often conveys a feeling of frustration or annoyance, which can indicate resistance to change within an organization. 

How They Feel: At this stage, your team may likely feel angry and frustrated at the change, especially if they don’t understand why the Change is occurring. In their eyes, everything was going smoothly before the change, and the fear of losing their jobs only compounded their fear and anger.

What you Need To Remind Them: Explain to them the pros of making the change and why the new system is better than the old one. Be open and honest about the likely outcomes of the change, even the negative ones.

  • The Thinking Emoji

The Thinking Emoji

The thinking emoji represents an employee who is hesitant about the change and may need some convincing.

How They Feel: Many employees will try to minimize the scale to which the change will affect them through negotiations and bargaining. They will tell you they are willing to cooperate, but only to a certain extent.

What you Need To Remind Them: They are negotiating because they fear the change. They are trying to minimize the scale to which the change will affect them, and this is when you need to reassure them that this change will work out for the best. It has been thoroughly researched, and they will do fine with you assisting them every step of the way.

  • Loudly Crying Face Emoji

Loudly Crying Face Emoji

The loudly crying face emoji represents an employee feeling very emotional and upset about a major organizational development

How They Feel: Some will feel despondent. They think the change is inevitable and will have to go along with the transformation, whether they like it or not.

What you Need To Remind Them: Explain that you are there to discuss any issues they have with the change. Create an environment where dialogue is encouraged, where they can talk to you or other managers and colleagues regarding their issues in the change.

  • The Shrug Emoji

The Shrug Emoji

The shrug emoji represents a person who is undecided or indifferent about something and is often used to convey a lack of knowledge or understanding about a particular topic.

How They Feel: The person likely feels uncertain about the change and may need reassurance and support to overcome these feelings.

What You Need to Remind Them: It’s important to remind them of the reasons for the change and the potential benefits that can come from it. Encourage them to keep an open mind and stay positive as the transition occurs.

  • The Thumbs Up Emoji

The Thumbs Up Emoji

A thumbs-up emoji can suggest that the person is supportive and enthusiastic about the change and sees it as a positive step forward. 

How They Feel: They are becoming more and more accepting and inclined towards the idea of change. The concept of change has sunk in, and they are slowly supporting the new system. Congratulations, you’ve made it!

What You Need To Remind Them: 

While it’s important to acknowledge their positive attitude towards the change, it’s also important to prepare them for potential challenges that may come with the transition. 

Encourage them to stay open-minded and adaptable as the change occurs, and remind them that their enthusiasm and support will be crucial in making the change successful.

7 emojis for the 7 stages of change management

What better way to comprehend the influence of emojis in change management than by examining the seven stages of change and the emotions that encapsulate them?

In this section, we delve into the seven stages of change management, accompanied by carefully selected emojis that capture the essence of each phase. 

  1. Awareness: The stage where individuals become aware of the need for change. 🌱 (Seedling Emoji) – Represents the beginning of growth and new possibilities.
  2. Desire: The stage where individuals develop a willingness to embrace change.💡 (Light Bulb Emoji) – This signifies the moment of inspiration and gaining clarity.
  3. Knowledge: The stage where individuals acquire the necessary knowledge and skills for the change. 📚 (Open Book Emoji) – Represents learning and acquiring new information.
  4. Action: The stage where individuals take action and implement the change. 🚀 (Rocket Emoji) – Symbolizes progress and launching into new horizons.
  5. Reinforcement: The stage where individuals receive support and reinforcement to sustain the change. 🤝 (Handshake Emoji) – Signifies collaboration, support, and teamwork.
  6. Integration: The stage where the change becomes integrated into the culture and daily practices. 🧩 (Puzzle Piece Emoji) – Represents the seamlessly fitting and merging the change.
  7. Sustainment: The stage where the change becomes the new normal and is sustained over time. ⏳ (Hourglass Emoji) – Symbolizes the passage of time and the endurance of the change.

Communicating Change with Emojis

Emojis have emerged as a universal language of expression, and their role in change management is no exception. 

In a recent study by Adobe, it was found that 68% of participants appreciate the use of emojis at work. Additionally, the study revealed that emojis positively impact likability (69%) and credibility (59%)

By exploring the seven stages of change through emojis, we gain valuable insights into the emotional journey of individuals navigating transformation. These vibrant symbols capture the essence of each stage, foster empathy, and facilitate open dialogue. 

Employers and leaders can leverage the power of emojis to navigate change more effectively, ensuring a smoother transition for all involved. 

In a fascinating study by body language researcher Albert Mehrabian, it was revealed that a significant 55% of communication relies on nonverbal cues, while vocal elements contribute to 38%, leaving just a mere 7% for words alone. 

These findings highlight the immense power of nonverbal communication. In a world where emojis have become prevalent, they serve as a reminder that understanding and connection can be effortlessly conveyed with just a few taps.

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