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How to Write an Employee Recognition Letter

Thank You Letters Speak Powerfully

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Woman writing greeting card, close-up of hands
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Employee recognition is worth the time and the money you spend on it. You have no other tool at your disposal that so predictably makes employees feel good about your company and goals. From recognition and thank you letters to bonuses and gifts, employee recognition is good for workplace motivation and creates positive employee morale. Your options for employee recognition are numerous.

Annually, some companies give bonuses to employees who contributed during the year. Depending on your circumstances including company profitability, your line of work, the expectations in your industry, and your past practices, consider giving employees a bonus.

If you can't afford a cash bonus, buy the employees a reasonably priced gift (company merchandise can work well as gifts). If a gift is not on the horizon - and it may not be for public sector employees, as an example - at the very least, adopt the habit of writing letters to employees for recognition and to thank them for their contributions.

A simple thank you letter, that recognizes specific employee contributions, goes a long way in helping employees feel recognized and rewarded. In fact, an employee recognition letter that accompanies a bonus check or a gift magnifies the recognition an employee experiences. Some employees experience such gratification that they post the thank you and recognition letter in their cubicle, office, or workstation for years.

An employee recognition letter does not need to be elaborate but it is most effective when the employee recognition letter:

  • Specifically describes the behavior you'd like to encourage,
  • Says thank you and that the employee contribution is appreciated,
  • Is written and given close in timing to the event you are praising, and
  • Is handwritten, or even an email, if the email is customized and avoids sounding like a form letter.
Don't ever underestimate the joy an employee experiences when he or she receives an employee recognition letter from someone who is important to them at work. Might that important someone be you?

Sample Employee Recognition Letters

  • Formal Employee Recognition Letter.
  • Formal Employee Recognition Letter.
  • Informal Employee Recognition Letter.
  • Semi-formal Employee Recognition Letter.
  • More About Recognizing Employees

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