3 Samples of Formal Employee Recognition Letters

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Employee Recognition Letters Are Always Appropriate and Appreciated

These are sample thank you letters that an employer can write to an employee to recognize the employee's good work. Keep in mind that an employee recognition letter is also appropriate for coworkers, employees in different departments, managers, supervisors, and senior managers, as well as from the employee's boss.

Sometimes managers are hesitant to write positive instances of success and contribution down. Don't be. Managers often have no problems documenting poor behavior, but forget to document great behavior. Employees feel valued when you tell them how much their work contributes to the success of the business.

Additionally, when you praise certain behaviors, the employee is more likely to repeat them. If you remain silent, the employee can't tell the difference between okay work and work that you love.

Each employee and each company culture is different. In some companies, it is appropriate to copy your manager in such a letter. In others, they are not interested. In some companies, a handwritten note is appropriate. Other companies use email for all communication including employee recognition.

However you do it, make sure that employee recognition gets done. A copy of the note should also go in the employee's personnel file, for future reference. Also, remember to reference such positive instances in the employee's formal annual review.

Sample Formal Recognition Letter

This is an example of a formal employee recognition letter. Download the formal recognition letter template (compatible with Google Docs and Word Online) or see below for more examples.

Screenshot of a sample formal employee recognition letter
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Sample Formal Recognition Letter (Text Version)

Steve Yang
123 Main Street
Anytown, CA 12345

September 1, 2018

Rob McKenzie
Acme Software
123 Business Rd.
Business City, NY 54321

Dear Rob,

Thanks for the effort you've put in this past couple of months to help us orient and bring the two new developers onboard.

They've become productive and contributing much faster because of the training and assistance you've provided for them.

This has worked out so well, in fact, that we're making the buddy system an integral component in how we bring all new employees into the company in the future.

Will you participate in a brainstorming and planning session on Thursday so we can all capture what worked well and what needs improvement?

I'm also inviting the Human Resources staff, the other employees who have been buddies, and several new employees. The goal is to design a process that we can adopt for bringing new employees on board. Let me know and I'll send a meeting notice.

Again, thanks for all of your help orienting Rich and Bonnie.

Warm regards,


Second Sample Recognition Letter (Text Version)

Helen Scott
123 Main Street
Anytown, CA 12345

September 1, 2018

Kate Jones
Acme Office Supplies
123 Business Rd.
Business City, NY 54321

Dear Kate,

Thank you so much for going the extra mile with difficult customers. Twice in the past week, other people have come to me and whispered about how adept you are at de-escalating a difficult situation.

This is an incredibly valuable skill. Customers sometimes have unreasonable demands and making them happy while still following company policy means continued profitability for us.

We appreciate the effort that you make to maintain a positive attitude even when faced with a challenging situation. Please keep up the good work.



Third Sample Recognition Letter (Text Version)

Rebecca Daniels
123 Main Street
Anytown, CA 12345

September 1, 2018

LaTonya Hernandez
Director, Human Resources
Acme Manufacturing
123 Business Rd.
Business City, NY 54321

Dear LaTonya,

The presentation you gave yesterday on the impact of new overtime regulations in our manufacturing plant was a resounding success. Not only did you research the topic thoroughly, but you also made the information interesting and applicable.

I'd like to adapt your presentation to all divisions. Each division has unique challenges, but the underlying legal implications are the same. Would you be willing to work with the division site heads to develop a unique presentation for each location? Steve will help set up the necessary meetings.

Your groundwork is invaluable and will make this process smoother than we had predicted. I look forward to your continued involvement in this implementation. Ultimately, we'd like you to do the presentations at each division, which will require some travel.

I know travel is not part of your normal job description, but I don't believe anyone will be able to communicate the information as clearly as you did.

Thanks for all of your help,