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An employee recognition letter is a perfect way for employers to thank their employees for their hard work and contributions to the organization.

Reminding a coworker, team member, or senior manager that their contributions are noticed and appreciated is an excellent way to foster positive sentiment and boost employee motivation.

Adding to that thought, here is a detailed guide on the art of writing recognition letters for employees.

What is an employee recognition letter?

A recognition letter is a document sent to an employee to thank them for their hard work and positive contributions. You could send a letter to appreciate an employee's role in a project or assignment or recognize attributes such as ownership, empathy, or honesty.

A manager or senior executive typically sends it to a team member or junior executive, but modern recognition initiatives allow peers to recognize each other. Often, such letters are also stored for mention in the recipient's formal annual or quarterly review.

Showing gratitude at the workplace goes a long way in making peers and teams feel valued. Quoting Zig Ziglar,

“You never know when a moment and a few words can have a lasting impact on one’s life.”

So, are there any specific kinds of employee recognition letters you should write? Absolutely! We have narrowed down the top six.

Sample employee recognition letters

1. Employee recognition letter for letting them know their help matters

Apart from accomplishments in a project or assignment, smaller efforts deserve to be recognized, especially when a client is difficult, or a c-suite leader from another division needs support.

It can help an employee feel important and cultivate more positive habits at work. Here is a template you can steal:

Dear <employee name>

I want to thank you for organizing and managing the last meeting with <client name> effectively.

We have already received feedback from them about how seamless the interaction was and how you answered all their questions skillfully and professionally. They are keen to set up another meeting soon, and it is thanks to the positive impression you made on them. You have always been instrumental in handling our client accounts, and your passion and dedication are truly admirable. Thank you for inspiring us every day!

Warm regards
<employer/manager name>
Pro tip: People flourish when their work is praised and appreciated so go ahead and put it into words.

2. Sample employee recognition letter for hard work

While this might seem obvious or even unnecessary, you should make it a point to thank your employees for their daily efforts at work. The more valued employees feel, the less likely they are to leave your team and organization.

Here is a template to use for appreciating your employee's efforts:

Dear <employee name>

I want to express my gratitude for all your hard work throughout your tenure with us.

Your professionalism, positive attitude, and willingness to go the extra mile are genuinely appreciated. Employees like you help us succeed and carry us further along our journey to greater heights.

Thank you for your dedicated efforts! I appreciate them.

Warm regards
<employer/manager name>
Pro tip: Share the letter with the employee's coworkers and immediate supervisors. If someone does a good job, everyone should know!

3. Recognition letter saying thanks for covering a coworker's leave

Typically, coworkers are asked to step in when a team member goes on a lengthy leave. Thanking the employee for taking up the extra duties will help them feel appreciated and build stronger workplace relations.

Here is an example:

Dear <employee name>

Thank you for putting in extra effort in taking up <colleague's name> while <he/she> was away on leave. The extra hours you put in made all the difference to the project.

We all have a great many duties of our own to fulfill, and taking up additional workloads is hard. Employees like you keep us going with your sincerity and dedication.

Thank you once again!

Warm regards
<employer/manager name>
Pro tip: Encourage every manager on the job to send such emails to employees who take up extra duties during a crisis. Such good deeds should never go unnoticed!

4. Recognition letter for an employee’s long-term contributions

Long-term employees contribute to a company's culture and brand image. By recognizing their contributions to your company, you can secure their goodwill for an even longer tenure and motivate other employees to stay longer.

Below is an email template designed to convey gratitude:

Dear <employee name>

I want to congratulate you on the <number of years> anniversary of your tenure with <company name>. Your continued dedication and efforts have been invaluable to our growth.

We sincerely appreciate all the times you have gone the extra mile to make things work. Seeing you evolve has been a delight, and we feel honored that you have chosen to grow your career with us.

Thank you once again for all your contributions, and I wish you many more years of success.

Warm regards
<employer/manager name>

5. Appreciation for collaboration

Often, employees from different departments need to collaborate on a project. Thanking a coworker for a pleasant collaboration experience can go a long way in fostering inter-departmental goodwill.

Your email can read something like:

Dear <employee name>

I want to thank you for a successful collaboration experience on <name/details of the project>.

Your communicativeness and proactive attitude went a long way in maintaining team relations and completing project milestones on time. It is because of your contributions that we were able to complete the project well before the deadline. The client has given us a positive review, as well.

I sincerely look forward to working with you again on future projects.

Warm regards
<co-worker name>
Pro tip: Such emails can make your team appear approachable, friendly, and open-minded, and that is never a bad thing!

6. Employee recognition letter for outstanding performance

Outstanding achievements and work anniversaries should undoubtedly be recognized in addition to daily efforts. A thoughtful letter of recognition on such occasions can make all the difference.

Check out how the email shared below strikes the right chord with employees:

Dear <employee name>

I would like to congratulate you on your first work anniversary at <company name>. It has been a pleasant experience having you with us.

I very much appreciate your efforts over the last year to understand and enhance our company culture, get acquainted with our clients, and meet your KPIs.

Your willingness to work extra hours and your friendly attitude towards your coworkers are genuinely praiseworthy. Our clients have shared many positive comments about you, as have your peers.

Working with you has been a privilege, and I wish you a long and successful career with us.

Warm regards
<co-worker name>

How to write a recognition letter for an employee?

We have decoded the art of writing a recognition letter and here are our time-tested tips:

1. Be specific - Ensure that the letter points out precisely what the employee has done worthy of recognition.

2. Focus on their strengths - Talk about what you find admirable about the employee's performance or attitude. This will help them know what the company appreciates and cultivate those traits further.

3. Consider the employee's future - A letter of recognition should reflect your keenness for the recipient to continue working at the company. Wherever relevant, mention a promotion, a project assignment, or a salary hike.

4. Be genuine - A letter of recognition intends to appreciate an employee's efforts and motivate them to do even more. The message should thus reflect genuine praise for a job well done.

5. Be mindful of the tone - As an employer, it is vital to maintain a professional tone throughout the letter.

Summarising employee engagement in the words of Ari Weinzweig,

“If you don’t create a great and rewarding workplace for your people, they will not do great work.”

All the best!

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Rani Joseph

Rani Joseph LinkedIn

Rani Joseph comes with a decade-long experience across the value chain of content and brand marketing. She currently is the Sr. Manager of Content Marketing at Xoxoday.