Appreciation Letter Header Image

Although it’s not a very common practice today, learning to write a proper letter is still an important skill for both your personal and professional life.

In business and in the workplace, appreciation letters are a great way to encourage your colleagues, subordinates, or even your boss. Learning to appreciate what other people do can strengthen relationships, which goes a long way in improving team dynamics. 

This post will help you with the steps needed to write an appreciation letter, including tips for acknowledging the strengths in others.

How to Write an Appreciation Letter

Here are some steps to help you write a letter of appreciation. In order to provide concrete examples, we will focus primarily on appreciation letters for employees or subordinates, but these steps are also applicable for any other person you want to compliment.

1. Choose a format for your letter. 

If you intend to say “thank you” for something small, such as an employee staying late to pack up after an event, or a manager going out of her way to check on your team, you can opt to use e-mail to send a quick thank-you note.

But if you want to appreciate an employee for something more substantial, such as his putting in extra hours to reach a deadline that led to a huge account signing on, you may want to opt for either a typewritten or handwritten letter. 

Although handwritten letters are less common nowadays, they continue to have a stronger impact when it comes to making others feel special. 

2. Make it personal.

One way of adding a personal touch to your appreciation letter is to address your employee by name. Remember, the letter is designed to highlight something you appreciate about that person, so an impersonal group message is probably not the best choice. 

If you are writing a note for a superior, make sure he or she appreciates being called by their first name. If not, using Mr. or Ms. followed by a last name will suffice.

Then, if you are writing the letter by hand, sign your name at the bottom. 

3. Point to specific actions.

The key to a great appreciation letter is acknowledging specific actions that you’d like to compliment. For example, did the person you’re writing to do something helpful or encouraging? Did they perform a task beyond expectation, or lead a team well? 

If you want to appreciate an employee’s performance, include details such as what, why, and how. This helps give specific feedback so the employee knows exactly what behavior he should continue in the future. 

First, specify what actions you are recognizing, explaining why the actions are worthy of praise. Then, tell the person the significance of these actions, such as how they contributed to the good of the company or team. 

4. Connect their actions to unique strengths.

As you praise your employee’s behavior, also take the time to connect those actions to some of their positive traits.

For example, if the action included leading a team well, you can perhaps point to the employee’s inner sense of responsibility, commitment to excellence, or ability to take initiative. 

5. Be excited about their future. 

Next, add one or two sentences that express how you’re looking forward to the employee’s success with the company in the future.

When you encourage an employee, it helps them feel greater ownership over the company, and they’ll be more likely to take on new challenges on behalf of the company. 

6. Stay sincere and don’t flatter. 

Lastly, remember that an appreciation letter will only have its intended effect of encouraging another person when it’s written sincerely, and without flattery. This applies for if you’re praising someone under you, but even more so if you’re writing to a superior. You don’t want your manager to think you’re just buttering them up!

Don’t gush over how great they are, or exaggerate the impact of their actions. Anyone can smell a phony from a mile away, and if you aren’t sincere in your praise, other people will learn not to take your notes seriously. 

Sample Template for an Employee Appreciation Letter 

These sample templates will help you write your own personalized letter to express appreciation for your colleagues. Just decide whether you want a casual, informal, or formal tone.

Casual Appreciation Letter Template

Hi [employee’s name], 

Thanks for all your help with [describe the task or assignment that the employee did well]. It helped our team/company [describe the benefit to the team or company].

I loved seeing your [insert employee’s good traits that affected the achievement] as you worked on the task. We couldn’t have done it without you! 

Thanks again!

[Your first name]

Informal Appreciation Letter Template

Dear [insert employee’s first name], 

Thank you so much for the great work you did with [describe the task or assignment that the employee did well]. It helped our team/company [describe the benefit to the team or company]. 

Your [insert employee’s good traits that affected the achievement] tells me how much you care about [insert company name]. It’s great to have you on the team!

Thank you again for your dedication and hard work. Cheers, to your future achievements and success! 

Sincerely

[Your full name]

[Your job title]

[Your company’s name]

Formal Appreciation Letter Template 

Dear Mr./Ms. [insert employee’s last name], OR Dear [employee’s first name], 

I would like to express my sincerest appreciation for the great work you did [add explanation of specific action]. 

Your [insert employee’s good trait(s) that directly affected their achievement] is/are impressive, and shows a strong commitment to the good of the company. 

Your actions [insert direct impact that the action has on the company]. I want you to know that I appreciate the effort you have given to your work. You are an important part of this team.

Again, thank you very much for your hard work. I believe we will be seeing more of your achievements in the near future!

Sincerely, 

[Your full name]

[Your job title]

[Your company’s name]

Examples of Appreciation Letters for Employees

Take a look at these completed samples of appreciation letters:

Casual Letter Example

Hi April, 

Thanks for all your help with organizing and running our online orientation for new parents last week. It helped Living Pupil deliver an effective equipping session for our new enrollees.

I loved seeing your attention to detail as you worked on the task. We couldn’t have done it without you! 

Thanks again!

Lisa 

Informal Letter Example

Dear James, 

Thank you so much for the great work you did with shooting the video for our product launch. It helped us encapsulate the company’s vision and express it to our stakeholders.  

Your initiative and resourcefulness, including your willingness to go the extra mile, tells me how much you care about Organic Brew. It’s great to have you on the team!

Thank you again for your dedication and hard work. Cheers, to your future achievements and success! 

Sincerely, 

Mandy Smith
Operations Manager
Organic Brew, Inc 

Formal Letter Example 

Dear Eric, 

I would like to express my sincerest appreciation for the great work you did in preparing a very detailed presentation for our client, XYZ Corporation. 

Your strong leadership over the team during the brainstorming was impressive, showing a strong commitment to the good of the company. 

Your actions helped set a tone of excitement for the rest of the team. I want you to know that I appreciate the effort you have given to your work. You are an important part of this team.

Again, thank you very much for your hard work. I believe we will be seeing more of your achievements in the near future!

Sincerely, 

Bob Sanchez
Manager
XYZ Corporation 

Writing an Appreciation Letter

Writing an appreciation letter regularly to members of your team is a great way to keep up morale and strengthen connections. It’s especially important to acknowledge extra effort at the end of difficult projects, so that your employees know how they fared. 

As a side note, it also helps serve as a feedback system for your employees to know what behavior is best to keep doing, which helps improve your team’s overall performance in the long run. 

Did you find this post helpful? Let us know in the comments below!

 

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