7 Must-Know Tips for Writing Employee Recognition Messages

Employee recognition messages
Employee recognition messages

Without regular employee recognition, your employees won’t feel appreciated, morale will drop, productivity will cave, and the negative effects will compound over time.

One of the best ways to appreciate your employees is through messages of recognition and appreciation letters.

When it comes to writing employee recognition messages and letters, there are a few key things to keep in mind in order to make sure your message is effective.

Here are five tips to follow as you’re recognizing your employees.

7 Tips for Writing Employee Recognition Messages

1. Keep Your Message Positive

Make sure your message is positive and upbeat. This is a letter of recognition, after all, so you want to make sure the overall tone is one of congratulation. This certainly isn’t the time or place to critique or give constructive feedback.

Start by brainstorming the different areas your employee has excelled recently, or highlight their positive characteristics.

2. Be Specific and Concrete

Don’t just write “good job.” Get specific about what the employee did that you want to recognize. This not only shows that you were paying attention, but it also helps the employee to know what they should continue doing in the future.

Don’t just write a generic message that could apply to anyone. Generic messages can come across as insincere, so if you want your message to be truly effective, make sure it sounds like you really mean it. Use concrete examples to illustrate the employee’s good work. This will make the message more concrete and easier for the employee to understand and internalize.

For example, rather than saying “you’re a great worker,” say something like “I appreciate the extra effort you put into your work.” This will show that you have truly taken notice of the employee’s good qualities and that you are sincere in your appreciation.

3. Make it Personal

A good recognition message is personal. This is your opportunity to connect with your employees on a more personal level and let them know how much they mean to you. Writing in a personal way can go a long way in connecting with your employee.

Try to avoid using excessively casual language or jargon in your letter. While you want to sound approachable, you also want to maintain a professional tone. Close the letter by thanking the employee again and expressing your hope for their continued success.

As you highlight specific things they’ve done for the company, highlight specific things about them as well. Throw something in your message about their favorite food or a conversation you had a few weeks ago.

4. Be Sincere in Your Recognition

If you aren’t actually appreciative of their work – it’s going to be tough to write a meaningful employee recognition message. Dig deep and ask yourself, “What do I really appreciate about this person?” 

Make sure it’s from the heart. If it’s not, your employee will know, and your message won’t be very effective. Consider having another teammate read over the letter to make sure it doesn’t fall flat.

5. Handwrite Your Message

Your employees probably get an inbox full of emails everyday. Don’t send an email. Whip out the pen and stationery and hand write the letter. It will take a little more effort, but it will mean a whole lot more to them.

6. Involve Other Members of Their Team

A word of thanks coming from one person is nice. But when it comes from multiple team members, it means even more. So try to include a few others in your letter. Either just let them sign it, include a quote from them, or even let them write a whole section of the letter.

This can go a long way in making them feel really appreciated. It’s a given for the boss to write an appreciation letter. But to hear from peers is extra meaningful.

7. Include a Gift

Including an great gift in addition to the letter is the perfect way to put a cherry on top of your appreciation letter. It shows that you really mean what you’re saying. It’s a way of putting your money where your mouth is. 

You can get real bonus points if it’s personal (something the employee actually likes). Here are a few small gifts to consider:

Employee Recognition Templates

Here are just a few template you can use when writing employee appreciation messages. Don’t use these alone – but let them be a nice starting point.

Important Role Message

Dear [employee name], 

I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for being you! Your attitude and presence make everyone’s day better.

Thank you for being a part of our team. We at [company name] appreciate your efforts in doing such a great job. You play a really important role here.

Keep up the good work! 


[your name] 

Teamwork Message

Dear [employee name], 

As we are jointly working on finishing [x] project, I just wanted to thank you for contributing to a great teamwork atmosphere. 

The selfless sharing of your expertise and active involvement in our brainstorming sessions have led to an amazing [product or service]. 

Thanks for working collaboratively and for all you bring to our team!

Thanks again, 

[your name] 

Hard Work Message

Dear [employee name], 

I want to take the time to thank you for the extraordinary job you have been doing for [company name] lately. Your hard work and consistency has been noticeable. Thanks for all you do.

Also, you did a wonderful job by [insert something specific.]

Thank you for playing such an important role in our company. We are grateful for your great contribution to [company name]. 

We appreciate you,

[your name] 

Make Writing Employee Recognition Messages a Habit

An occasional letter here and there is nice. But if you really want to encourage and inspire your team in a way that promotes morale – make employee recognition a habit. Do it often and do it consistently.

We promise you’ll notice a difference over time: in morale, productivity, retention, and overall happiness in the workplace. It’s well worth it!