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In the ideal world, all of your employees would do their best work at all times, simply for the joy of a job well done. Since that's not always the case, managers have to find ways to motivate workers. One way to do that is through a simple letter of appreciation. When you take the time to recognize a job well done, you're reinforcing the behaviors you want to see more of, reminds "Inc." magazine.
If you're the manager working directly with the person or team earning the letter of recognition, you'll likely have intimate knowledge of the team's work flow and what they've done to earn those kudos. If you're a higher-up who doesn't work directly with the team, you might not be as closely involved with the day-to-day activities. In that case, gather as much information as you can before writing the letter. Ask the manager who works with the person or team to give you a refresher on what the standard expectations are for that department, and then to share how the person or team has gone above and beyond. Review the job descriptions for the person or team to get a clear understanding of what they do on a daily basis. Also discuss the results of that excellence. For example, that good job performance may have resulted in increased sales, increased customer satisfaction or other major improvements at the company.
When you talk to your managers, also get the names of the entire team so you can include it in the letter. Address the letter to the person or people who are receiving the recognition at the top of the page. If you're writing individual letters to members of a team, it might be OK to include some of the same information on each letter; just remember that people like to have their thank you notes customized to them, reminds "Inc." If it's a smaller team, you could also address the letter to the whole team and then list the names of the team underneath. In any case, each person must be named personally so the letter isn't a generic form letter.
State clearly that you're writing to thank the person or team for a job well done in the first paragraph. You might say something like "On behalf of the company, please accept my congratulations for a job well done." Then state the specific project or performance you are trying to reinforce. Use descriptive words that underline the behaviors you liked, such as ''professionalism,'' ''dependable,'' ''hard work,'' or ''loyalty,'' or you might talk in detail about a specific job or task.
Following your initial show of gratitude, share why the behavior was so important for the company. Tell the addressees how their work influenced the organization as a whole by increasing sales or customer satisfaction. When people know why their work matters, they may be more motivated to do it again. If there are any next steps in the process, such as an awards banquet, an "employee of the month designation," or a financial bonus, name them near the end of the letter. Close the letter with a warm sign off, such as "Regards" or "In appreciation," and sign the letter.
Nicole Vulcan has been a journalist since 1997, covering parenting and fitness for The Oregonian, careers for CareerAddict, and travel, gardening and fitness for Black Hills Woman and other publications. Vulcan holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and journalism from the University of Minnesota. She's also a lifelong athlete and is pursuing certification as a personal trainer.