There are various occasions where it’s appropriate and even expected for an employer to write a thank you note to an employee. You might issue thanks for extra help on a project, contributions to a corporate charity event or in appreciation for a group gift from your entire staff. Make notes sincere and heartfelt so employees understand your true feelings for their efforts.
If you are thanking an employee for contributions made to the company, the letter should be written on company letterhead and be formatted as a formal business letter. In this instance, you're actually representing your company rather than yourself, as you serve as a spokesperson in issuing the note of thanks. For example, “Thank you for generously volunteering your time this weekend to participate in the ABC Co. charity marathon. Your dedication and commitment to the organization is greatly appreciated.”
If an employee team meets a significant goal, completes a large project or otherwise handles a significant task for the business, issue a group thank you memo that goes to the entire team or write individual handwritten notes of thanks on company note cards. Verbiage should be personalized but similar for each employee. For example, “Congratulations, Mike, and sincere thanks for a job well-done. Our marketing department has a stellar team of professionals who make the company look good every day. I appreciate your ongoing contributions as our lead designer -- great job!”
If an employee gives you a holiday gift, a birthday present, sends flowers when you are in the hospital or otherwise makes a personal gesture, respond in-kind with a personal note of thanks. Use personal stationary or a note card to write a letter that maintains the parameters of your business relationship. For example, “Sandy, thanks for your thoughtfulness in sending flowers after my surgery. Your gesture was very much appreciated.”
Typed letters are appropriate for business thanks, while handwritten notes add a more personal touch. It is appropriate to leave these letters in company mailboxes, but personal thank you cards should be sent to an employee's home address. Group email, text or social media posting thank you notes are appropriate for immediate acknowledgement of a significant task, though a written follow-up expresses your sincerity.
Even when issuing a personal thank you note to an employee with whom you are friendly, your verbiage should be professional in nature. Avoid using personal terms of endearment or coming across as overly familiar. Such forms of written communication can be misconstrued and should be avoided.