At my first job when I was in high school, we had one manager who always said thank you to our team members. He’d recognize if one of us had to stay late, and he wouldn’t miss the opportunity to thank us for our good work.
Those little thank you messages meant a lot to me when I was nervous. They changed how I viewed my work. I’m sure I wasn’t the only one that felt that way, either.
When people feel appreciated, it can change their outlook on work for the better.
But saying thank you to a team isn’t as natural for some as it is for others. Trying to pick the right time and place might feel awkward. We know it’s a nice thing to say, and it’s something we all want to get better at doing — but where do you begin?
Why is it important to show your team appreciation? You never know how a simple “thank you” can impact someone. Showing people that you appreciate them and their great work demonstrates that you value all of their contributions. You see them and recognize how important they are to your business. One of your team members might be feeling down about themselves and your gratitude could lift them up again. It also helps your company culture because when people realize what a great team they are, they can become motivated to be more productive. Employee engagement will increase because of your positive attitude towards showing appreciation. Recognizing your entire team is excellent, but don’t forget to recognize individuals, too. It can inspire them to spread this positive, grateful attitude, trickling down to other team members. When people know that their talents are appreciated, it boosts self-confidence. As your team members’ confidence grows, it will strengthen collaborative or leadership skills and further their career development. When should you send a thank you letter? With all of the communication options we have, why write a letter? First, it doesn’t have to be a letter, on paper, dropped in the mailbox. But taking the time to document your thanks and gratitude in words, in-text that someone can read and refer to later is powerful. I doubt that I’m the only one who files away these little kudos and thank yous, not just for prepping my performance evaluation months later. I save mine and refer to them when I need a pick me up, support, encouragement — artifacts help us remember that we’ve succeeded or been appreciated in the past and we can do it again. Writing an appreciation letter to a team for a job well done doesn’t have to be an everyday thing. But you don’t need to reserve it for employee appreciation day, either. When you see an employee or team member go the extra mile, performing excellently when it matters, let them know. Many parents and teachers know the value of positive reinforcement for kids. Turns out that adults like it, too. Offer encouragement when you notice team members working hard on their own goals, or when they ask for feedback. Begin to pay attention to your team and how they tackle projects. When you note how they deal with quick deadlines and unexpected problems, it can help you see where they shine and when you should show your appreciation. You can’t hover over them and watch their every move. But noticing how they work professionally and incorporate their personal touches on things is an excellent opportunity. Find ways to acknowledge their effort and express your appreciation. If you’ve noticed that your employees are improving their teamwork skills, consider writing one big appreciation letter. This will save you time from writing one to each individual and ensures that you won’t forget anybody. 6 tips for writing an appreciation email If you’ve never written an appreciation email before, you might feel lost trying to pick the right words. There are a few things that you can look for to find some inspiration to get you into the writing groove. Here are six tips for writing your thank you emails and appreciation messages: 1. Focus on the specific projects or contributions that you’re highlighting. 2. Keep it short and on topic instead of rambling about something irrelevant. 3. Use appropriate language when addressing your employees. 4. Make your words sound encouraging for future hard work and milestones. 5. Don’t be afraid to use names when you refer to specific good work. 6. Highlight what made your employees stand out in the first place. Thanking them for their support is always important. In addition, if your company has a set of values, use that language to call out what you appreciate about your employee’s efforts. For example, at BetterUp, one of our values is Craftsmanship and managers frequently call out the examples of craftspersonship they see in an event or presentation. Have trouble finding the best words to put in your thank you notes? A BetterUp coach can help you make your words count and strengthen your communication skills so that you’re confident you’re hitting all the right points. 6 appreciation email samples The appreciation message you sent today could look completely different from the one you sent last month. Depending on the reason and who it’s addressed to, they can come in varying formats. Here are some examples of thank you notes that you can send to either an individual employee or a whole team: To an entire team 1. Dear team, I just wanted to extend a big thanks to everyone for putting in such hard work on this latest project. It wasn’t easy, but I think we reached new heights on this one! I’m proud of each one of you for never giving up and supporting one another. Have a great weekend. 2. Hello team, The work ethic that I saw from each of you today was terrific. I know we were stressed about this project, but I’m so impressed with how everyone handled their work. I loved seeing people support one another, and it made me hopeful that we can continue to be so caring about each other in the future. Thank you, team, for your hard work! 3. Dear team, We just received the sweetest feedback from our new clients, and I thought you all should read it. I’d like you all to note that our client highlights each of your departments because of your outstanding performances. A big thank you goes out to each one of you for going that extra mile to make sure our work was stellar. I loved seeing everyone’s enthusiasm and professionalism shine throughout this project. Take a bow, everyone! Thanks. To an individual employee 1. Hi [name of employee], I know that you were a bit nervous about your new job, but I wanted to let you know that you’re killing it! I’m so glad you’re part of our team because you’re such a great leader. Have you noticed that your new team members try to emulate how you approach challenges? You’re creating an excellent template for your other team members to follow. I hope you take the time to be as proud of yourself as I am of you. Cheers to you! 2. Hello [name of employee], Happy second work anniversary! Within these past two years, I’ve loved watching your confidence grow, and your skills develop. You’re a positive role model within our workplace, and I appreciate your attention to detail in every project you take on. Thanks for being you, and I look forward to watching you grow even more. 3. Hi [name of employee], A big thanks goes to you, [name of employee]! You went the extra mile today, and your work ethic was incredible. I was so impressed with how you demonstrated such inclusive teamwork today. It’s a pleasure to watch a great leader like yourself be a positive role model and encourage others to do their best. I appreciate your hard work every day, but especially today! Thanks again. Find someone you can bounce ideas off of when it comes to writing your thank you emails. A BetterUp coach can be that person who adds their perspective to help you be clear, respectful, and kind in your notes. Your next move Communicating how appreciative and thankful you are to someone is a useful skill outside of the workplace. It will help your communication skills and make you more comfortable expressing your feelings. As you strengthen these skills, you’ll find that professionally, you’ll be able to articulate things better, but personally, you’ll be more open with others. Next time you see a team member do something great, make sure you acknowledge it. Your words could make a positive difference that someone may need. Plus, they could make someone smile, and that’s always special.