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It is worth all the time and money you spend in appreciating a devoted employee. Recognition letters are one of the best tools available for employers to shower recognition and it boosts the morale of an employee. Drafting a thank you letter that acknowledges an employee's contribution, is very motivating and is a way of recognizing an employee's earnest effort. Also, if the letter is given along with a bonus, then it amplifies the credit given to a hardworking employee.

So, do you wish to make a certain employee feel special for their work? Then, an employee appreciation letter is the way to go. Employee recognition letters are like formal "thank you" notes, which are sometimes necessary for employee motivation. Let us see a few points that one needs to be aware of, while writing an employee letter of appreciation.

Points to Remember while Drafting an Appreciation Letter

Send it in a Short TimeWrite the employee appreciation letter as soon as possible. An appreciation letter should reach the receiver within four days of the act, that made them deserve the letter. This way, the employees feel that the management really values their services. More so, it sets a very good example in the minds of the other employees, if the incident is fresh in their minds.
Write by HandAn appreciation letter is best when the letter is handwritten on an official company stationery. It is most effective when signed by the CEO or MD. However, for a lower level employee, a handwritten letter of appreciation, signed by the HR of HOD works wonders. Nonetheless, a second signature by the CEO will really increase the motivation of the employee.
Personalize the LetterAlways make sure to address the letters to the specific employees. Refrain using words like "dear employee", it is extremely cold and detached. As such, it won't really work. Best is to use something like "Dear ______" with the employee's name. Don't you think it would, really, make him feel special? That is the point, right?
Mention Words of Appreciation One big mistake that people make is that, in spite of writing a beautifully drafted letter, they "forget" to mention what they appreciate. Wouldn't it be hilarious if the employee comes to you after he reads the letter and says something like, "Thank you for the appreciation, sir. But, can I know what is it that you appreciate so much?" Let's face it, it would be embarrassing for you as well. So, make sure you mention what you are appreciating.
Word CountAvoid writing long employee performance appreciation letters. They are an official communication letter, not love letters. So, do not exceed 250 - 300 words. Too much emphasis on the appreciation may make the employee feel too special. I am sure you do not want someone thinking that they have earned leeway, right?
Post, But Not BeforeDo Not send appreciation letters in advance. It would reduce the impact of the letter and make you seem very feeble. I mean, let's face it, appreciation in advance, sounds like pleading, right?
Ending LinesMake sure that the closing line is very warm. Avoid using words like "sincerely". Use words like "warm regards" or "best wishes". A modern closing line, used a lot in organizations is, "cheers". You could opt for that as well.

Sample Letter of Appreciation to an Employee ~ Block Format

January 28, 2012

Contact Name
Address
City, State, Province
Zip Code

Subject: Letter of appreciation

Dear (Contact Name),

Please note that a bonus has been added to this month's paycheck. Under unmanageable circumstances, the team has accomplished the monthly target, and it goes without saying that the task wouldn't have been carried through without your undying endeavor and dedication. Your incentive reflects our appreciation for the hard work put in, and also to say cheers for a job that's so well done!

As the situation in the company continues to get better, I, as the head of this company, will not shy away from giving committed employees due credit for their sincere efforts and helping the company achieve its goals.

Thank you once again for the assistance, support and good-natured tolerance, while things have been going tough.

Warm regards,

Your Name,
(Signature)
(Your Title/Designation)
(Your Phone Number)
(Your Email)

You can draft the letter of appreciation in any style, that you may find comfortable. However, block style is known to have better impact. Nonetheless, as it is handwritten and personalized, any style can be used. Use normal ink colors like blue or black. Coming from a senior, a flashy letter may not seem right. While closing the letter, avoid being too warm. Using "love", etc. may seem out of order and probably, give the employee a very different perception of the letter, right?

Well, I am sure by now, you know all about drafting appreciation letters to employees. The key is to be genuine. Once the genuineness shows, even hundred words would hold a lot of meaning. This is where I sign off! I highly appreciate you reading this article. Thank you!