• Jim Canfield

Writing Personal Notes to Thank and Recognize




The end of the year is a great time to reflect, recognize, and thank your hard-working staff. Taking some time to write personal notes to your team helps boost morale and lets your members know their work is being recognized. Use these tips to write memorable recognition notes.


Recognize their Hard Work


As leaders, we have an obligation to write thank-you notes to our people. It’s important to thank the people who make us successful, particularly when today’s pace often keeps us from expressing thanks when we should.


There’s a slight difference between thank-you notes and recognition notes. A recognition note goes beyond just saying thank you. The idea is to thank for an effort and also to recognize for results.


In today’s highly competitive employment market, where it’s hard to find and keep good people, few things significantly impact employee morale and engender more company loyalty than a sincere thank-you note from a boss or supervisor. Bonus if the letter is mailed to the employee’s home.


Get Started


Here are some tips on writing an effective note:

  • Start the note with you, not I—To underscore the employee’s contribution, use you and your: “You did an excellent job at . . .” “You demonstrated your unique skills in . . .” “Your contribution to the XYZ project was invaluable . . .” Avoid using I, as in: “I appreciate what you did . . .” “I want to thank you ...”

  • Provide specifics—State what the employee did and the effect the employee’s actions had on the project, goal, etc. The formula is action/effect and action/effect: “When you gave up your holiday weekend to work on the XYZ project, we were able to deliver the product by the due date and reach our goal of on-time order fulfillment.”

If you skip over management levels, always check in with the employee’s supervisor first, who may have some current information that you should consider in writing the note.


Create a Plan


Writing personal notes doesn’t take much time, but it does take some discipline to write them regularly. Consider setting a day and time every two weeks to write your notes. Whatever you must do to ensure that your employees receive a timely personal letter of recognition from you, do it. When it comes to your employees’ morale and dedication, a personal note from you is tough to beat.

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