Whether you're a manager or simply a concerned co-worker, sending a thank-you note to another person in the office is a way to reward good behavior and encourage more of the same. Going above the call of duty, extending a helping hand to someone in need, or simply being a positive influence on the staff are all very good reasons to send someone a note. If you're a manager, you should make an effort to thank your employees often -- even the ones who need a bit of encouragement to do better. The key is to make each person feel special, and that may mean individualizing your thank you notes.
First and foremost, forget the idea of the "thank-you e-mail." Hand-written notes are much more personal and will make a bigger impression. If you're planning to send out a series of notes to a bunch of different people, don't just go out and buy a big packet of cookie-cutter cards. Try to get a card that matches the person's style, or at least something that you think they'll like. If you're married to the idea of buying a packet of cards, buy one that has several styles, so that you won't be sending out the very same card time after time.
If you want to be able to send thank-you's to a large number of people in the office, it's just going to look tacky and insincere if you send them all at once. Instead of sending a thank you to each person at the same time, send a few at a time -- or even one at a time, cycling through your employee roster so that eventually, everyone gets a note.
By now you may have realized that all this employee appreciation is going to take some time and effort. To make it easier on yourself, set up an alert on your mobile phone or make a note on your work calendar, reminding yourself that it's time to send out a new round of notes. Aim to send out a new set of notes every few weeks. If you're writing a lot of notes over a period of time, keep a notebook where you can jot down things you've appreciated about certain people, so you'll have something fresh and specific to mention when it's their turn to get a thank-you.
What to Say
You're sending a person a thank-you -- so chances are you have something for which to thank them. There's no need to write an exhaustive note about every single thing the person has done, but do make an attempt to call the person out for something great that they've done -- and hopefully something you want them to do again. In the note, state the specific thing you've appreciated, and sign off with "Sincerely" or "Best Wishes," and then sign your name. Then, hand-deliver the note or leave it in the employee's mailbox, and don't make a big fanfare about it. The idea is not to let others know you're doing it.
Nicole Vulcan has been a journalist since 1997, covering parenting and fitness for The Oregonian, careers for CareerAddict, and travel, gardening and fitness for Black Hills Woman and other publications. Vulcan holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and journalism from the University of Minnesota. She's also a lifelong athlete and is pursuing certification as a personal trainer.