5 Emojis we use in Slack to Motivate our Team + Bonus App

The Future of Work
Published in
5 min readDec 20, 2017


If managing a team of people it’s a hard job, managing a team of people online… it’s a HELL of a job!

If you ever founded or even just worked remotely for a startup, you know what I’m talking about.

When your team members are not motivated to give their best contribution for the success of the project, the workflow becomes cumbersome, which means that a lot of time, energy and sometimes even money go wasted on simple tasks that wouldn’t require so.

The project loses traction.

Growth slows down.

That’s frustrating. But you’ve got to be patient.

It takes a time and effort to motivate your team to work in a certain way, with certain values and best practices to follow. You can’t get mad every time things don’t go the way you wanted to.

Afterall, most of the people you can hire today on the market never worked remotely in their entire life. It takes time for them to get used to it, and it’s definitely challenging:

How can you expect people to be intensely motivated and focused, while working with their pajamas on and all their social media apps ceaselessly bursting notifications?

It’s simple. You can’t.

You have got to take action and give your team the right motivation.

Motivation is what fuels growth: whether it’s the motivation to be part of something, achieve a result or simply become a better version of yourself, every member of a team needs to feel that energy when they sit in front of their laptop.

But how do you motivate your team members from such a physical distance?

Chat messages and direct calls on Slack help, but sometimes there are ideas, concepts or intentions that do not come out as clear as they should, or they might be subject to misinterpretation from both parties

In many cases, you need a simpler and more effective way to deliver your messages.

And that’s why we started using emojis.

Emojis are incredibly powerful because they express a concept or a feeling in a simple and relatable way for everybody, so we implemented them in our communication strategy to motivate our team.

And they worked. 😎

Among the many emojis we started to use, these are the 5 emojis that we used the most. Some of them are lighter than others, but they all have the same weight in delivering important messages.

The first one is..

1) Rocco

If you do not recognize this guy, he is one of the most famous pornstar in the world. I know — this might not be the most politically correct emoji to use, but trust me: it’s effective! It communicates strength and pride to highlight the weight of particularly important achievements, particularly for men.

2) Clap

We are all familiar with the meaning of claps (or thumbs up) in a social context. It makes us feel approved and supported by others — and whether we like to admit it or not — we enjoy receiving them. It’s a great boost for our morale and it motivates us to continue on the same path.

3) Logo

As we said , one of the most difficult challenges to working remotely with a group of people, is that everyone is is scattered in a different country.

How do you build identity? How do you build a family?

That’s why we decided to use our logo as an emoji to involve people and make them feel part of a collective project, something that — regardless of the outcome — we are building together.

4) Club

This is a club, but it’s not as scary as you would think! On the contrary, it’s a funny way to say “pay more attention to this matter next time”, because it may cost us either time or clients or something else, and it’s not moving us forward.

5) Metal

This is one of my favourites! It’s a metal symbol and we use it to foster a proactive attitude in learning from mistakes or from each other, and declare the intention to do better in the future.

Now, it’s quite weird to even say it — but these and other emojis truly helped us to shape our working culture here at LeadsBridge by making our team members feel part of a family and actively seek to grow with it.

Even if we still face some struggles with our workflow, we proudly managed to bootstrap our project to 1M $ revenue in 12 months.

Emojis can help you go a long way. 😉

Oh wait, I almost forgot about the bonus app: the Growbot APP.

The Growbot APP was developed for Slack users with the intention to celebrate awesome work when it happens. We decided to adopt in on our platform and we instantly realized the impact it had on our group work.

Example of the Growbot in action!

Even if it’s “just a bot”, the Growbot App helps us improve our team relationships through GIF’s, reactions and points that reward our team members every time they do something worth celebrating.

It might look like a childish technique, but it’s surprisingly effective! It gives a funny and human flavour to the Slack wall and keeps the energy high.

So here we are, managing a group of people around the world through emojis and artificial intelligence. If you would have told me this would happen, 5 years ago, I would have called you “crazy”.

But the world changes fast and so does every aspect of it, including companies cultures. So we better embrace the change, and redefine the way we communicate with and motivate each other.

One kudos at a time.

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