Gift Programs

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How to Write an Effective Employee Recognition Letter

Recognizing employees is a meaningful process and nothing can destroy a recognition program faster than a poorly written or insincere recognition letter. Alternatively, human resource managers take a lot of time to put together a recognition program that will appeal to employees and increase loyalty over time with a well thought out employee recognition letter. I have identified three basic approaches for employee recognition letters depending on the reason behind the recognition award. In each situation if you are looking to maximize the impact of the recognition letter, be sure to include a corporate gift or ordering instructions to truly reward the employee.

The Generalized Employee Recognition Letter

When a company takes the general approach to employee recognition letter writing, usually the CEO or the company president will be the author. This form of an employee recognition letter works best for years of service awards and can be presented to the employee via email or personally delivered.

An employee recognition letter does not need to be elaborate in order for the employee to feel appreciated. Generalized recognition letters congratulate the employee and link the employee’s dedication and service to the company’s success. The recognition letter should also thank the employee for their continued commitment to the organization. Click here to read a sample general letter that Awards Network has created.

The Customized Employee Recognition Letter

The second approach to employee recognition letter writing is to design the letter on company paper stock and/or brand it to match the company’s logo, colors or themes. This approach to employee recognition letters is mostly used for safety recognition awards, milestone anniversaries and on the spot or sporadic recognition. This is the most common approach to employee recognition letter writing among my clients. These employee recognition letters are usually printed out and mailed directly to employees’ homes or delivered by management at work if feasible.

The text of the letter should be written by the employee’s specific store or regional manager when taking this approach. The customized employee recognition letter may discuss the specific contributions that the employee’s department or region has made to the overall company. Besides laying out the specific reasons for the recognition award, the customized letter needs to reinforce the positive behavior by thanking the employee and asking for their continued dedication to the organization. Click here to read a sample custom letter.

The Personalized Employee Recognition Letter

The third approach to employee recognition letter writing is to personalize the letter and have it written by employee’s direct manager. Quite often, these types of recognition letters are hand written on company letter head and are suitable for framing. This approach is mainly used for milestone accomplishments and on the spot recognition and are best when personally presented.

The personalized employee recognition letter needs to include specific information or maybe even a particular incident to provide the reason behind the recognition. These letters need to include praise for the employee and you should feel free to elaborate on why the employee is appreciated and an asset to the company.

“A simple thank you letter, that recognizes specific employee contributions,” Susan Heathfield of Human Resources explains, “goes a long way in helping employees feel recognized and rewarded…Some employees experience such gratification that they post the thank you and recognition letter in their cubicle, office, or workstation for years.” Effective employee recognition programs begin with sincere recognition letters and can lead to increased loyalty and retention.

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