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7 Quick Tips for Writing Great Recognition

The power of written thanks is exponential.

Most everyone knows that writing recognition can be a powerful way to motivate employees. We understand that it drives engagement and affective commitment to a company and that it reinforces relationships with givers of recognition and those who add congratulations.

But knowing recognition is a great idea doesn’t always mean it is easy to give. In fact, recognition comes a lot easier to some managers than to others. And I’d say one of most challenging things I hear about recognition for many managers is what the heck to write!

So here’s a bit of advice to pass on to those managers, in the form of seven quick tips on how to write an authentic, memorable and impactful message of appreciation to your employees.

  1. Be specific about what they did: Be as precise and explicit as you can be about what exactly the employee did that was worthy of recognition. Let them know by recounting for everyone what they accomplished.
  2. Talk about their results: Part of your specificity should be to explain not just what was done, but why it was worthy of recognition. In other words, what were the results from that activity?
  3. Consider your words: Language has tremendous power. Choose your words carefully and make your message pithy and impactful. Consider words like “because” and “as a result” to transition from action to success. Never, ever never give recognition that includes the words “Thanks for all you do.”
  4. Make it individual: Try not to use the same phrases in every recognition message you write. Cut and paste is not your friend when it comes to recognition messages. The contribution was unique, so take the extra moment to explain how and make it unique to that employee or team.
  5. Use their name: It’s a little thing, but studies show that when you use someone’s name, their brains light up. Don’t be afraid to throw their name in there so they will pay attention.
  6. Tell a story:Tell the story of their success and use emotionally evocative language that captures the sequence of events and the “moral” of their hard work.
  7. Say “thanks”: Make sure somewhere in your message you include the word “thanks” or “thank you.” It might seem like a no brainer, but it means a lot.

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