How to Write a Thank You Note at Work
Isn’t it wonderful to have an entire month dedicated to gratitude? November is special. One of the best parts of going to work and being a part of a team with other humans is the opportunity to express appreciation. Every person you work with brings unique value to projects and to the organization. Perhaps not everyone thinks about this, but it’s true! You are part of a unique group of individuals that can’t be found anywhere else on earth. Your organization has its own thumbprint of talent.
What Should You Say Thank You For?
So, if you’re just warming up to the idea of being appreciative at work, you might wonder, “what should I say thank you for?” The answer to this question is that you should show appreciation for any kind of behavior you’d like to see more of. Studies show that people respond well to appreciation and that it can be a powerful motivator for success. When you see someone being a good example, let them know with a thank you card and perhaps a small gift of appreciation. The following list of positive behaviors will give you some goodness to watch for. Maybe you’ll notice someone being:
Steps for Writing an Excellent Thank You Note
1. Watch and observe.
Get to know your people and their contributions. After you’ve taken a little time to pay attention, you’ll be ready to write a thank you note that is personal. After all, meaningful communication is in the details.
2. Decide on your format.
a. Email– You might choose to write an email if you want to get a thank you out quickly. If so, it’s a good idea to add “thank you” to your subject line. It will stand out in an inbox that’s usually filled with emails asking for something from your recipient rather than offering them something. It should be a pleasant and welcome discovery, and you wouldn’t want it to go unnoticed.
Are you on a first-name basis with the person you’d like to thank? If you work closely with this individual, go ahead and begin your thank you with a “Dear (first name)” or a “Hello (first name).” If you’re not as familiar with the individual, make sure you throw in a title of respect. Using Mr. or Ms. is nice, or increasingly, companies are opting to use the gender-neutral Mx. to avoid assuming gender, which can potentially lead to unnecessary tension in work relationships.
4. Say your thanks.
Now, for the fun part: expressing your gratitude. Use your introductory sentence to cut to the chase by explaining the purpose of your note. Example: Thank you for __________. Then, follow up with the “why.” This is the part that will help your recipient feel good about their contribution(s). It’s a warm fuzzy in written form. It lets them know the good they’re doing is being noticed and appreciated. These details are validating and go a long way in encouraging more of the same behavior in the future. Remember, it doesn’t have to be long or wordy.
5. Can you reciprocate?
Now might be the perfect time to mention you’d like to be helpful in return. Something to remember, though: Don’t offer unless you’re willing and able to follow through. If you’re sure you can, go ahead. Offering your help is a great way to strengthen relationships and build reciprocal friendships at work. I’ll scratch your back if you’ll scratch mine—together we’ll be itch-free and happy at work.
6. Wrap it up.
7. Sign off.
End your letter with a complimentary close such as: “Sincerely,” “Best,” or “Regards.” Follow this with your first name if you’re on a first-name basis with the recipient, or your full name for a formal thank you letter.
8. Spell and Grammar Check.
In a business setting, a thank you can be offered in any direction, up the ladder, down the ladder, and side to side between coworkers. Everyone is equal and deserving of appreciation, no matter their position in a company.
Someone in leadership might be thanked for their generosity, example, encouragement, mentorship, and for being observant of the needs and desires of employees. Employees can receive thanks for many of the same things. Clients, customers, contractors, or anyone who provides a service within or for the company is also worthy of notice and appreciation.
Successful businesses are always looking for ways to strengthen connections and build their network. Appreciation is an excellent foundation material for building lasting professional relationships. The following are some things you might say to express appreciation to those in various positions at work:
Thank You Examples
Thanks for anticipating and offering the additional information I needed to complete my portion of our project together. Your foresight saved us both a lot of time.
Let me know if you’d like me to set up the tech for next week’s presentation at our off-site meeting.
Once again, thank you for thinking ahead. I appreciate the opportunity to work with you.
Step 1: Identify the Recipient(s)
Identifying who’s receiving your thank you note should be the easiest part. However, perhaps you have a lot to be thankful for lately — and a lot of people to thank. This is great. However, getting in the right headspace to write all of these notes in one or a few sittings may benefit you. Thank you notes don’t have to be for traditional exchanges or relationships, either.
It’s likely you’d feel compelled to thank a physician or a care provider, for example, and may wonder how to write a thank you message to a doctor . You’re also more than welcome to have a less-structured approach to your note writing and send them “just because.” This can also be a great approach. People love to be thought of and appreciated, if even for “nothing.”
Tip: Keep a running list on your phone, on your counter, or wherever you’re likely to not miss it. Jot down the names of people and keywords of what you’d like to thank them for. This can save you time and help you to not forget anyone over the holidays or on a birthday, for example.