An employee recognition letter, acknowledging the outstanding efforts of
an employee, benefits both the employee and the company. The
recognition lets the employee know that his or her extra efforts have
been noticed and offers an incentive to continue to work effectively.
The company not only has a satisfied employee, but reaps the benefit of
that in a higher quality of work.
All too frequently, employees in business all over the country complain that their efforts are not acknowledged and that their successes are claimed by their superiors. Too few businesses fail to recognize the efforts that many employees put into their work, and are consequently rewarded with a workforce that does their job and no more.
It Shouldn't Be About Just Doing Their Job?
"Why commend them - they are just doing their job", is a comment frequently heard in boardrooms and offices in too many companies, and then they wonder why their annual performance figures are falling behind those of their competitors. Some do not appreciate the importance of employees feeling that they are part of a team rather than simply hired to 'work for the man.' Little wonder so many have an innate desire to 'sack the boss' and work for themselves.
The benefits that a simple employee recognition letter can provide significantly outweigh the time it takes to write one, and should be part of any good company's or manager's employee relations policy. How should a letter be phrased so that its sounds sincere without being fawning?
First, it should be written personally to the employee concerned. An
employee recognition letter should not begin 'Dear Employee... ', but
should name the person using their title (Mr., Miss, Ms., etc) and then
be brief and precise to the point. Whether it is written in the first or
third person will depend on who is writing it. Thus, an employee
recognition letter from a manager to an employee could commence:
"Dear Ms. Anderson,
I would like to thank you for the hard work you put into our last project. Your professionalism was exemplary, and resulted in a difficult project being completed on time when it seemed to be running behind schedule."
It is written personally from one person to
another, and then the reason for the recognition is given. More could be
written if appropriate, and you could finish off with a final
commendation, such as:
"The company is very impressed with your
initiative, and I personally congratulate you on a job well done and
wish you continued success with us.
Yours Sincerely, . . . "
The letter is sincere and personal, and specific to the
circumstances. It is not a photocopied standard letter with a
photocopied signature, but signed personally by the writer. Copies
should also be provided to the personnel dept. or Human Resources, and
to the CEO, and the letter should reflect that with a c.c. section below
Good managers do not only communicate, but also recognize achievements
including certain actions and behaviors that may also be appropriate for
recognition. The majority of employees like to be cared about by their
firm and their managers, and appreciate some form of recognition for
doing a good job. An employee who received recognition will be more
productive, not only doing more work, but work of a higher quality.
A serious problem with an employee recognition letter is that
many managers have no idea how to write them. It is possible for badly
constructed recognition letters to have an adverse effect on the
employee, particularly if it is ambiguous in what it is saying. For
"Dear Mr. Jones, you worked hard yesterday and enabled me to meet
my monthly target. For that I receive a free weekend vacation on the
company. Thanks again . . ."
No copies distributed. This might be an extreme case, but it is
not difficult to get an employee's back up. Not only are some managers
insensitive, but are not always chosen for their command of English. For
some it appears as if they are too busy to compose a letter for an
employee who is "only doing their job."
Letter Writing Software
Fortunately, there is an easy way out of these problems, in the form of software offering thousands of templates for employee recognition letters and other business communications. The templates offer you a plan for the structure of the letter, some example letters and then lists of possible phrases to use.
You can choose the most appropriate from a large choice of initial sentences, and then make more choices from phrases that can be used in the body of the letter, and finally a number of templates for its ending. In the first example above, there are a) the actual acknowledgment or thanks, b) the reason for it, and c) a concluding sentence inferring the employee has a good future with the company. That can be important to some who may feel slightly insecure, particularly during periods of recession.
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