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:

  • Kind
  • Helpful
  • Thoughtful
  • Innovative
  • Creative
  • Authentic
  • Honest
  • Ambitious
  • Determined
  • Friendly
  • Supportive
  • Knowledgeable
  • Experienced
  • Generous
  • Communicative
  • A mentor

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.

Choose what feels right for the occasion.

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.

b. Card – You may choose a card and write a note to express your appreciation. This type of thank you automatically has a personal touch.

c. Letter – A letter format is often used for a formal thank you occasion.

3. Address your thank you.

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.

Finalize your note by reiterating your thanks. Incorporate another personal sentence, such as: “I enjoy working with you” or “your talents are appreciated”.  

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.

Check your note carefully for any errors before you send it along. This shows your professionalism and that you gave your thank you thoughtful consideration.

Who Should You Thank?

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:

Boss/Manager

  • I appreciate your example and leadership
  • Thank you for the opportunities you provide
  • Thank you for being observant
  • Thank you for making this a great place to work

Employee

  • Thank you for your hard work
  • Your positive attitude makes a difference for everyone
  • Your talent has been an asset to our company
  • Your dedication is appreciated

Coworker

  • Because of you, work is a great place to be
  • I appreciate the opportunity to work with you
  • Thanks for your example
  • It’s great to work with someone so talented

Customer/Client

  • Thank you for being a loyal customer
  • I look forward to working with you again
  • Thank you for the referral

Thank You Examples

Example A:

Hello Kiara,

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.

Sincerely,

Mischa

Example B:

Dear Mx. Sanchez,

Thank you for your recent customer referral. It was so nice to meet Taylor. I’m grateful to now have this mutual acquaintance. Taylor’s knowledge and experience will be so helpful. I look forward to working with both of you in the future.

Please reach out if you need anything between now and then.

Best regards,

Shanice Williams

Spreading the Love at Work

Taking notice of the natural abilities of your co-workers and taking the time to express thanks and appreciation for them is a wonderful way to ensure people love being at work. It feels great to be a part of a positive, safe environment and a work culture where all employees are encouraged to become more creative, productive, and more of themselves through genuine appreciation. This is the kind of stuff to spread liberally around the workplace. Gratitude is contagious!

Wishing you a thankful month with many workdays filled with gratitude and appreciation,

Your friends at Spoonful of Comfort

Share this: