Employee recognition becomes more powerful when you accompany any award or gift with a thank you letter. This is especially important when the recognition you provide is cash, a check, or a gift certificate, but is always appropriate to reinforce employee recognition.
While initially rewarding, cash, or a check, once spent, the employee has a short term memory for the dollars he or she received. Consequently, an accompanying thank you letter that enumerates the reasons for the recognition becomes even more important to reinforce the employee's feeling of recognition.
Employees will keep their going above and beyond recognition letters for years. They often display them on the walls of their cubicle, above their workstation, or on their desk. Even employees who don't favor public display will keep a file of recognition letters received throughout their careers.
With the above and beyond cash awards, in which employees are rewarded for contributing above and beyond their normal job descriptions, you want to develop general guidelines for your managers. This will ensure a consistent approach when you want to recognize and thank an employee.
Guidelines for Thanking Employees Who Go Above and Beyond
These guidelines for your managers to ensure consistency and fairness need to include:
- Who is eligible for an above and beyond award? (Many companies exclude senior managers who are compensated differently than the regular employees, for example.)
- What performance qualifies for monetary recognition in as explicit terms as possible?
- What various levels or amounts of the rewards are available for what actions?
- Who can give an above and beyond award? (Other managers? Only the direct manager? Regular employees or coworkers?)
- When will the above and beyond cash awards be given to the employee?
- How will the rewards be given to qualifying employees?
You want to make sure that managers are rewarding equivalent performance and contribution across the departmental lines of your organization. Employees do talk and they will notice when the expectations and goals, the amounts of money, or the performance recognized are different.
Require the involvement of your Human Resources staff in each award to make sure that the rewarding is equitable across departments and the company.
Consider making managers responsible for delivering the above and beyond check with a thank you note a requirement of your above and beyond process. Establish a budget for your program, too, so that you can measure your success in recognizing employees.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture, for example, provides a Cash-in-Your-Account Award. This is a small cash award designed to recognize employees for going the extra mile in getting the job done. These awards recognize specific instances of exemplary employee performance. The awards range from $50 to $500, in $50 increments.
Here are two examples of the type of thank you letters that are recommended to accompany an above and beyond check for an employee.
Thank You Letter Sample
This is an example of a thank you letter for going above and beyond. Download the thank you letter template (compatible with Google Docs and Word Online) or see below for more examples.
Thank You Letter Sample (Text Version)
123 Main Street
Anytown, CA 12345
September 1, 2018
123 Business Rd.
Business City, NY 54321
The management team decided that you should receive the enclosed award of $3,000.00 for your contributions in helping our company move into the mobile marketing of our products. While that is your actual job, you went well above and beyond our expectations.
Here is why you are receiving this recognition. You assessed the status of the marketing department’s knowledge about marketing on tablets and mobile devices and found it wanting. So, you developed a ten-week class which you taught twice a week and invited your colleagues and any other interested employees to attend.
Turnout for the classes was excellent across the company and feedback about the content you presented was positive. People felt that they learned a lot of essential information that will assist them in the mobile marketing of our products.
Not content to stop there, you presented at our annual employee development day. You were partially responsible for starting the local mobile professional association that we hope will attract new employees who are interested in mobile to our region and to our company.
Your leadership on the mobile team is helping us move the company forward in this most important area. Our Human Resources staff also recognize you for your efforts to help them identify the appropriate skills we need to hire to advance our success in the mobile world. You have helped with recruiting and interviewing potential employees.
For all of these reasons, we decided to recognize you with an above and beyond award. You deserve it for all of your contributions.
Second Sample Employee Thank You Letter
Your management team is awarding your above and beyond efforts with a $1000,00 one-time bonus. We want to recognize your efforts as the leader of the product development team. In that leadership role, you have consistently exceeded our expectations.
Your job requires you to assign and monitor the work of your team members and oversee the features that they are building into the product. Beyond our expectations from your role, you determined that your team members lacked crucial customer information as they determined the features of the product.
You approached the research specialists who work in marketing to request that they put together a research effort. You wanted to determine the exact features and options that our customers most wanted and needed. They were happy to work with you on a favorite assignment.
Unlike earlier research efforts for your product and some research efforts across the company in the past, you are actually using the data they collected as information to inform your team. This magnifies the probability that the product will sell well.
Beyond sales and profitability, you gave the research team the affirmation that their efforts are wanted and needed. They are thrilled to see you using the data as information. They are prepared to go above and beyond for you in the future. That's for sure. It is so discouraging to them when they see their efforts go unused.
For these reasons, we awarded you the above and beyond award to thank you. Your work is so appreciated and we hope to see your efforts continue to exceed expectations.
Thank you again.
Robert on Behalf of the Executive Team