Don’t Forget to Say “Thanks”: A Guide to Employee Recognition

Don’t Forget to Say “Thanks”: A Guide to Employee Recognition

Posted by Stephen Spiegel on Mar 22, 2023


How a few simple words of appreciation can improve employee engagement and retention.


68.2.2 C CrewHuEmployees thrive when appreciated. This is especially helpful when you express it by recognizing their efforts. After all, as Zig Zigler, an all-time sales great, once said, “You never know when a moment and a few sincere words can have an impact on a life.”

A few simple words of appreciation from the boss can increase employees’ sense of value and foster a culture of recognition. By expressing your gratitude, you’ll create an environment where your workers thrive. The results are increased productivity, engagement, loyalty, and employee retention.

Are you doing everything you can to let your employees know how much you appreciate their efforts? Sometimes it only takes some inspirational words to make them feel their effort and contribution really matter.

Why Words Can Make a Big Difference

According to the Psychology of Appreciation, feelings of gratitude increase activity in the hypothalamus. This part of the brain controls essential body functions such as eating and sleeping. It also influences stress levels and metabolism.

These feelings also activate brain regions associated with the “feel good” hormone dopamine. Dopamine is a “reward” neurotransmitter that motivates and makes us feel good. According to Neuroscientist Alex Korb, Ph.D., "Increases in dopamine make you more likely to do the thing you just did. It’s the brain saying, ‘Oh, do that again.’”

Appreciation and words of recognition motivate employees to keep giving their best. When they feel their hard work is valued, productivity and job satisfaction increase, and so does employee retention.

6 Ways to Use Words of Recognition to Show Appreciation

So how do you express appreciation for your employees’ efforts in a way that will motivate them? Try these six simple tips.

1. Write an Employee Appreciation Card

You can reach your employees’ hearts and make them feel your appreciation by sending them a card with a handwritten appreciation message.

Speak from your heart. Tell your employee how their effort and accomplishments have made a difference to the team or the company. Let them know that you saw how they invested those extra hours, that you appreciate their attention to detail and dedication to meeting company goals, and that you value their efforts.

Add specific details of what they did to deserve the recognition and express your genuine, heartfelt gratitude. And make sure you personalize the message by calling them by their name instead of “team member.”

Whether you want to recognize outstanding performance, express appreciation, celebrate anniversaries, or applaud a positive attitude, including a personal message on an appreciation card can help you communicate sincerely.

2. Words of Affirmation

Words of affirmation are one of the five languages of appreciation, according to Dr. Gary Chapman and Dr. Paul White. Use them to let your employee know they’ve done valuable work.

Throwing an occasional “good job” every time a worker performs well isn’t enough. Be specific if you want to use words of affirmation effectively to express your gratitude. Pick out the specific performance you’d like to appreciate and describe the importance of their actions to you and the organization. For example, “You did outstanding work on the sales report. Your attention to detail and thorough analysis really helped us make important business decisions.”

Like other ways of showing appreciation, your delivery method will depend on context and the employee. While one employee might want public recognition, another may prefer a personal, one-on-one conversation or a written message. Knowing your employees’ personalities is a key aspect of letting them know you appreciate them.

3. Writing a LinkedIn Recommendation

Let the world know about your employees’ capabilities and talents by writing a LinkedIn recommendation. This underrated gesture is a valuable, meaningful, and personal endorsement of their hard work. It communicates not only your appreciation but also your investment in their personal growth and future success.

When writing a LinkedIn recommendation, be specific and highlight their unique skills and accomplishments. Start by expressing gratitude for their contributions to the company and explain how they have positively impacted the team or organization. Provide concrete examples of their work, including specific projects or tasks they have excelled in. For instance, you can mention how they have successfully led a project or exceeded their sales targets. 

Additionally, highlight their personality traits and professional demeanor, such as their ability to communicate effectively and work collaboratively with others. You want them to feel seen. 

4. Shoutouts

Another way to let your employees know you appreciate them is by giving shoutouts. Create a public recognition feed or develop an employee recognition program to showcase their accomplishments. When giving shoutouts,

  • Be specific: For example, you could say, “I want to recognize John for his outstanding work on the sales report. His attention to detail and thorough analysis really helped us make important business decisions.”
  • Be timely: Give the shoutout as soon as the employee has done something noteworthy. This shows that you’re paying attention and that you value their contribution. 
  • Use public recognition: Give shoutouts in public to maximize their impact. This could be in a team meeting, on a company-wide communication platform, or even on social media. 

5. Featured Spots for Employees

Use featured spots on your website, newsletter, company magazine, or monthly/quarterly reports to highlight outstanding employees. Write a detailed blurb with the employee’s accomplishments and contributions that made them deserve the featured spot. Be sure to appreciate their efforts and let them know why they are valued.

6. Write Employees a Haiku

A haiku can be a simple yet powerful way of using inspirational words to recognize your employees. The brevity and structure of a haiku force you to distill your thoughts and emotions into just a few lines.

Start with a moment or action that touched you. For example, maybe an employee went above and beyond to help a client or worked late to meet a deadline. Then, think about the qualities of that person you admire – their dedication, creativity, and work ethic.  Finally, put it all together into a three-line poem that captures your appreciation. You could write something like:

Dedicated and true
Your work ethic inspires us
Thank you, valued friend

You can use imagery, metaphors, or wordplay to create a vivid and memorable haiku that will make your employee feel valued and appreciated. 

Regardless of whether you choose to send an appreciation card, give a public shoutout, write a haiku, or recognize your employees in any other way, the most important thing to remember is to make it personal and make it sincere. That’s how you increase employee satisfaction and create an environment where everyone wants to give their best.

Use inspirational Words to Recognize and Appreciate Your Employees

Using inspirational words for your employees can profoundly impact their motivation, engagement, and performance at work. By choosing the right words, tone, and context, you can uplift and empower your team to strive for excellence, overcome challenges, and achieve their goals.

Remember that inspiration isn’t a one-time event, but a continuous process of communication, feedback, and encouragement. So, take the time to craft your message, and let your employees know they are valued, respected, and capable of achieving great things.

CrewHu can help you create and implement a recognition program that will communicate a sense of purpose, appreciation, and confidence in your employees’ abilities. Book a CrewHu demo today, and let us help you show your employees how much you appreciate their efforts.

Topics: employee recognition, productivity, employee appreciation, Engagement, Retention

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