Everyone likes to feel appreciated. After a good day’s work, 85% of employees aren’t looking for a celebration or a gift: they just want a ‘thank you’. In a fast-paced work environment, though, signs of appreciation can all too easily be forgotten. It’s tempting for employers to think, “of course I appreciate my employees… I pay them!”, but nowadays that approach just won’t cut it—and neither will saving up your compliments for the annual performance review.
If employees don’t feel appreciated, they won’t have an incentive to stay around long term, and in a tight labor market this can be big drag on your bottom line. Feeling truly appreciated supercharges employee engagement, which in turn can send retention rates soaring. And that’s not all: employees who feel appreciated have been shown to perform better, too.
Why You Should Recognize Employees
Many bosses are positive that employees feel appreciated. But can you really be sure? And here’s the thing: if you do appreciate them, what’s the harm in showing that a little more? It’s a soft cost that can have a big impact, especially for part-time or remote employees who might worry that the work they do goes unnoticed.
Some employers may worry that too much praise can detract from important feedback on areas requiring improvement. But you should be as keen to reward good work as you are to criticize poor performance. And when an employee’s work requires more than just verbal praise, showing your appreciation in writing can be very effective.
How to Write Letters of Appreciation to Employees
It’s completely normal for employee appreciation letters to be sent by email, but paper will make it all the more special. That’s especially true if you use the official company stationary and even more so if it’s handwritten.
It all boils down to this simple advice. Letters should:
- Be Personalized (by more than just name)
- Include what it is you most appreciate
- Emphasize specific actions you want to encourage
The problem is, writing original letters is hard—but if your employee has gone the extra mile for the company, it’s only right for you to do the same in return. The letter doesn’t need to be long, but it does require thought.
What to avoid:
- Sending the same letter to a large team
- Exaggerating (if it’s not true, don’t say it)
- Taking an old letter and just swapping the names
Below are three employee appreciation letter templates. But be warned—just copying and pasting the relevant details is worse than sending no letter at all!
Sample Employee Appreciation letter #1
This is just a quick note to let you know how much I appreciate the work you put in on [project]. I know how hard you worked on it and you should be very proud of how it turned out.
The whole senior leadership team were delighted with the end result.
I’m continually impressed with the effort and dedication you show and very grateful that we can count on your talent going forward as a key member of our team!
Sample Employee Appreciation letter #2
I don’t say it often enough, but I’m so glad to have you working with us. I know when you started there was a steep learning curve, but watching you put the hours in, improve, and become an expert in your field has been a real pleasure. You set a great example to all your colleagues.
If you keep it up there’s no limit to what you can achieve.
Sample Employee Appreciation letter #3
Well done on the presentation yesterday. The whole team was impressed by your strategy ideas.
Keep up the great work!
Alternatives Ideas to Show Gratitude
While one letter can really make an employee’s day, if you make letters your only way of showing your appreciation, you’re quickly going to face a situation where it stops having the same power. Luckily, there are lots of alternative ways to show your thanks:
- A shout-out at a meeting
- A small gift or gift card
- Add their name to a “weekly appreciation” notice board
It’s important to remember that employee rewards aren’t one size fits all. Get to know your employees and think about what suits them best. Your efforts can also be supplemented by a more formal employee recognition program.
However, a personal touch is always appreciated. Even if you don’t send each employee a letter of appreciation, it’s still worth taking the time to thank employees personally for their efforts, as well as asking how they are doing (and actually listening to their response) whenever possible.
Paycor Can Help
Ensuring that your whole team feels appreciated can feel like a lot of work but luckily technology is here to help. Paycor HR makes it easier for employers by storing useful information like anniversaries, t-shirt sizes and even the make of their favorite chocolate bar. Take a self-guided tour of our products to see how your organization can benefit.