Hearing that you've done a great job never gets tiring
Who doesn't love a pat on the back occasionally? A word from your boss that she's grateful to you for completing that project before the deadline. Or a drink bought for you after work on a Friday night for helping out at an office event after hours, when you could have easily sloped off home. All of these are great to receive.
But isn't it even more special when you get an actual letter of appreciation? It doesn't have to be old school through the post; it might be a letter of appreciation in email form, but it's there in black and white, proudly announcing your true greatness!
And it's just as satisfying to pinpoint an employee who has gone above and beyond, celebrating their achievements and sending them a letter of appreciation to show how much you value their input.
We're always so keen to get on to the next thing, or worry about things that have gone wrong, that reflecting on what's gone right can often get overlooked or missed.
In this article, we'll explore why and how to write a letter of appreciation, to both an employee and an employer, with samples for both to boot!
What is an appreciation letter to an employee?
The chances are you're going to be writing a letter of appreciation to an employee, rather than an employer, to let them know how highly you rate them. This message of gratitude shows members of staff their true worth and is designed to motivate them to carry on with their hard work, while appreciating the fact that they performed beyond your expectations.
Writing a letter of appreciation to an employee will make them feel valued, not only by you, but also by the organisation. It can be a general thank you for their work, or specific to one particular act or task that they performed exceptionally well.
This gesture of kindness will bolster their mood, actioning a more positive approach to future work. Often, especially in a big corporation, workers can feel like a small cog in a large wheel, grinding away at their job with little or no recognition. A letter of appreciation goes a long way to showing them that you, an inspirational business leader, appreciate them for what they do.
The importance of appreciation letters
Receiving an appreciation letter is never going to be a bad thing, so as an employer it's savvy to dole them out once in a while. But don't make the mistake of sending out letters of appreciation every other day. They then become meaningless. In this case, less is most certainly more. Only celebrate a member of staff's achievement with a letter when they really deserve it.
Below are some ways in which a letter of appreciation can really make a difference:
Improves job satisfaction
Sending an appreciation letter on behalf of the organisation not only shows your respect for the employee in question, but will also improve their outlook on you and the company as a whole. This, in turn, consolidates loyal relationships, which leads to an increased sense of belonging to the company.
When employees realise they've been recognised for something, they're more likely to strive to become even better. This motivation shifts from external rewards to internal job satisfaction and, if they stay loyal, this can reduce staff turnover. It means you can enjoy employing individuals who are happy at work and don't feel the need to move on.
Increases staff morale
There are always going to be times when low morale in the workplace is draining the life out of everything; whether that's throughout the office or just some of the staff. With personal support from leaders, staff can be helped to restore their confidence and get back on track.
A thank you letter for their hard work, giving positive feedback, can do just that. It's a simple, thoughtful thing to do, but can make the world of difference, showing that you care for your staff and are dedicated to maintaining the mental health of the workforce.
Expressing gratitude to the team, through gestures such as appreciation letters, encourages employees to want to continue producing the best results and outcomes that they can. It's a good form of positive reinforcement, as it sets a level for staff to strive for.
Not only will it drive them to pay more attention to detail, it could also decrease mistakes and establish independent work that resolves problems. When more employees take ownership of their work it rubs off on others, motivating them to do the same, which culminates in fewer issues and an increase in productivity.
The best way to craft an appreciation letter
Writing a letter to say thank you, whether you're sending it to an employer or employee, will give you a boost as well. Follow the guidelines below to make it perfect.
Ensure you address the right recipient
Using a letter of appreciation template is fine; just double check you're addressing the right person! Seeing their name at the top of a letter of appreciation will really make their day as it's a special document to receive. It would be disastrous if the letter was clearly for them, but had the wrong name on it. That would leave a rather nasty taste in their mouth, when you're trying to show them your appreciation of their actions.
So, tailor the letter, getting the name and reason for writing correct from the start.
Plump for the right format
Go for a format that suits the contribution that your member of staff has made. If the employee has secured valuable customers that have increased revenue for the business or completed a near-impossible project, this should be reflected in your response. Those sorts of actions will probably have a great impact on the company as a whole, so a formal letter of appreciation is required in this case. You could even show off your handwriting skills by personalising it even more with a handwritten missive.
On the other hand, if a member of the workforce is being thanked for something more casual, like performing a small favour, then an informal format such as an email message is more appropriate.
Introduce the reason for the letter
There's no point in beating about the bush on this one. Start off with the reason why you're writing to them, stating the task or activity that you want to thank them for. You should offer up an explanation of how their actions made a difference, as this will help the recipient to understand what they did right and what type of behaviour to model as they progress further in their career.
Within the main part of the letter, detail the significance of what they've achieved. It might be that their actions improved customer engagement or contributed towards a streamlining of the project management process. With this sort of detail written down, they'll be able to see exactly how they made a difference, which will encourage them to maintain, and even better, this standard for future work.
Reinforce any desirable qualities
This sort of letter can have a dual purpose, as you can use it to reinforce certain behaviours in the workforce. Linger on the skills, qualities, and strategies that the employee deployed in order to successfully perform the activity. This should have a knock-on effect, whereby the employee will continue to develop their assets while encouraging them to apply their special talents.
Most people can read between the lines of a letter and work out if the writer is being sincere or not. You can achieve this by showing an interest in their work, using their name, and signing the letter personally. All of these things will make the letter much more memorable.
As with any professional communication, make sure you carefully check the letter for any errors or spelling mistakes before sending. You're a leader and, therefore, set the tone that everyone else should follow. Whatever you produce should be of the highest quality, time and time again.
Check out an example of a formal letter of appreciation sample here:
I am writing to express my thanks and appreciation to you for your outstanding efforts during the relocation of the offices to our new site. You showed yourself to be indispensable throughout those three weeks of change and upheaval.
Your tenacity, organisational skills, and calmness throughout were remarkable. You proved yourself time and time again during those weeks, and showed how far you have come since joining us just 10 months ago.
Now that we are ensconced in our new premises, I can see how your actions made such a difference to the smoothness of the move.
On behalf of the senior management here, I want to congratulate you on your work ethic, teamwork, and motivational techniques in galvanising other team members to act swiftly.
I look forward to seeing how you progress even further within the business to achieve more successes.
Here's an informal letter of appreciation sample:
I just wanted to reach out and offer up my thanks for your sterling work when sorting out the IT difficulties we had the other day. Your proactive nature really kicked in and saved the day! With the video link down, we would have struggled to connect with our client, so having your help made all the difference.
Thanks for putting in the time and effort to sort it out, and get it up and running before the client noticed anything was wrong.
How do you write a short appreciation note to an employer?
It might feel odd to say thank you to your boss, but it can't do any harm! Maybe she gave you time off at short notice, offered you a chance to advance your career, or rewarded you with a bonus.
You don't have to write a whole essay, just a few lines to show your appreciation.
Below is the type of thank you letter you could send to your boss:
I just wanted to say thank you for giving me the opportunity to be part of the event team attending the Yacht Fair last week. Despite my lack of experience, you put your trust in me and I'm really grateful for that.
The event proved very beneficial, both for me and the company, as we secured new clients and I improved my communication skills.
I'm keen to share our successes with the rest of the team and feel confident that we will be able to secure more business moving forward.
Thanks once again for believing in me.
Getting some good news once in a while goes down a treat. When you show your employees how much you respect and admire their work, they're going to appreciate that and strive to do even better. So, take the time to tell them… and watch your business flourish.
If you feel underappreciated at work, it might be time to put your house in order. Start off by sending your current CV to TopCV's free review service. Here, an expert will review it and give pointers on where to improve. Then you can begin your journey of finding a new role where you'll be valued - and where you might even receive a letter of appreciation one day!