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Business thank you speech

Let's write an employee appreciation speech

By: Susan Dugdale | Last modified: 05-10-2020 | First published: 07-01-2015

There'll be those times, (hopefully a lot of them: many, many more than once a year on Employee Appreciation Day), when as an employer or a manager you want to formally thank your team for a job well done in a speech.

Image: Employee Appreciation quote. Text: Take time to appreciate employees and they will reciprocate in a thousand ways. Bob Nelson.

To help you do that, here's an example to use as a template. It covers off all the areas you'll most likely want to comment on or acknowledge.

At the bottom of the page, under the speech, you'll find a printable of the template to download.  I hope it's useful to you! 

How to make this speech work best for you

Be specific, direct, generous and frequent with your thanks  

Thank you. They're two simple, yet extraordinarily powerful words.

Studies show regularly and sincerely showing appreciation and gratitude for all the positive efforts employees make delivers benefits to employers and employees alike.  And focused specific acknowledgement is even much more effective than generalized. 

The benefits of giving thanks include:

  1. Increased job satisfaction leading to increased motivation, innovation and productivity
  2. Increased loyalty which in turn means less loss of staff
  3. Increased happiness and health for everyone in the work place, in their homes, and communities.

For more please see leader of the O.C. Tanner Institute, David Sturt's, article for Harvard Business Review: The Easiest Thing You Can Do to Be a Great Bossoutlining the results of "two separate but recent studies involving nearly 3,500 employees, from startups to Fortune 100 companies."

And this article: In Praise of Gratitude from Harvard Health Publishing, Harvard Medical School.

Do you know the difference between generalized and specific praise?

To make what you say count, to make it stick in minds and memories, praise, thanks and acknowledgement needs to be specific.

For example saying, "Thanks everyone for a job well done.", while pleasant, is generalized.

Who does it really apply to? What is the job being referred to?  Is everyone being praised regardless of the size and value of their contribution? Even the guy in accounts who bunked off as soon as he thought no one was looking?

The comment, although nice, is wide open. And because it is so broad, it is easily  discounted as having very little value. 

Contrast that with, "Thanks Robbie.Those extra hours you put in night after night for two whole weeks to get to the bottom of the problem with our analysis of data from the laboratories were a life saver. Your effort got the job back on track. We couldn't be more grateful for your perseverance and initiative.", is far more effective.  

You've let Robbie know his work is being seen and valued. You've also let others listening know which is important for his self-esteem. To be a member of a group where excellence is openly and genuinely acknowledged makes everybody feel proud. This is effective, memorable praise. Something worth striving for.

We are people, and we want, and need, to be acknowledged by the significant folk in our lives: work, friends and family, for what we do well.

These are your next steps :

Read the speech through to get an idea of what is covered, and how.

Take sections out or, add pieces in, to fit your own situation. For instance, you may not want to talk about challenges. So that section is cut out.

Replace all the purple highlighted words inside the brackets eg. {Fill in project(s) name here. Example: Data Digitization Project} with what you want to say about your company and your people.

Once you have all your information down, say the speech out loud and record it.

Play it back and listen for any areas where you need to make changes.

For instance:

  • Do the transitions work?
  • Are you repeating yourself?
  • Have you missed an important section out?
  • Have you mentioned everybody you can and have you been clear about why they are being called out?
  • Is the language too formal? Or too informal?
  • Is it too long?

Make all of the changes needed. Then record your speech once more and listen again. Repeat the process until you are satisfied.

Example business thank you speech

Opening

Friends and colleagues,

We all know why we are here today, so I'm beginning with the obvious: a simple, heartfelt, and well-deserved THANK YOU!

For those of you who took on the {Fill in project(s) name here. Example: Data Digitization Project}, I couldn't be more grateful! {Name some people you want to acknowledge specifically here. Example: Sandy, Darren and Joe} I know it wasn't easy at times.

Challenges

Add a brief description of at least one of the challenges endured

Example:

Standing on your feet all day on the cold concrete floor of {Change name to fit. Example: ABCD's Record room} instead of sitting at your desks in our warm, comfortably cozy and friendly {Change name to fit. Example: Quest} office, isn't anybody's idea of fun.

Change championship

Acknowledge the knock-on effect: how everybody, even those indirectly involved, was asked to accommodate and adapt for the duration of the project. 

The same gratitude goes to those of you who were on this project part time. Thank you for taking time away from your other important tasks so that we could keep pace with our customer's goals and deadlines on this one.

Whether it was cooperating through {Enter specific examples of ways people worked to allow the project to go on. Examples: carpooling like Jo and Liz, Mike and Bob offering to double up on a few of the more tedious tasks, or simply through putting in some extra unexpected time that the project demanded like Fred and his two faithful side kicks: Dawn and Bruce,}, your efforts were appreciated.

Accountability

Acknowledging how responsibly the project was undertaken and the effect that had. 

Through all of you coming in day after day and always putting your best foot forward, we were able to achieve so much. At the same time our client was assured of our commitment to the highest quality of work.

We did this by {Enter specific examples to illustrate. Examples: following the strict quality work standards set by Bill's team, being willing to work closely and cooperatively to fill in any gaps that arose, (Yes, that's a nod to Rose for stepping in.) , taking the initiative to go back over some aspect of the work that occasionally required double-checking. (Thanks Hugh.)}

I want you to know they are delighted with the accuracy we achieved. Without your shared pride and accountability, we simply could not have been so satisfactorily, so triumphantly, successful.

Teamwork

Acknowledging how people worked together. 

As is true with any project encompassing so many different aspects, there were some ups and downs, but that's to be expected. Whether {Enter specific examples of team work. Examples: someone needed help analyzing, or data compilation was falling behind, or someone simply needed a ride to or from the office}... everyone pulled together and worked as a team.

I know how much time and energy this assignment demanded, and I deeply appreciate all of your efforts, both individually, and collectively.

Customer focus

Acknowledging the result of satisfying/fulfilling the customer's need.

Merely completing this project was a hurdle in and of itself. However, congratulations are in order to each and everyone of you for a job so well done!

We've always known about your willingness to consistently go above and beyond. Now our client has experienced it too.

In fact, they are so satisfied they are currently in the process of retaining our services for another project!

Very few things speak more loudly about a company than a client wanting to be a repeat customer. So, not only can each of you be very proud of yourselves but we can all be proud that everyone on the {Enter the name of your company here. Example: Quest}Team will continue to benefit as a result of your contributions!

Close

Thank you all, sincerely, for being true professionals, for being inspirational! You are a great team. This successful outcome, the result of all your hard work and dedication, is down to you. And, lastly thank you for the pleasure and privilege of working with you!

Congratulations, once again!


Related helpful pages

Slip in a thank you quotation

Before you finalize the content, you may like to check out these 38 'thank you quotations'

Image: yellow flower background. Text: 38 thank you quotes

Through an aptly chosen quote we borrow clarity, humor, wisdom, expertise, authority and even glamour, from their original owner.

You can see an example of a Martin Luther King Jr quotation being used to add weight, drama and urgency here: How to end a speech effectively.  

Tips for delivery

Image: girl with angel wings levitating
Text: How to rehearse a speech properly and do so much more than 'wing it'.

Writing a speech is only half of the process. Delivery completes it.

All the rehearsal/practice tips you need are right here to ensure you deliver your speech as best you can.

Do check them out. Taking time to rehearse will repay you over and over.

* The story behind this business thank you speech

It arrived one day through my contact form - almost in the form it is now. A complete speech, from a complete stranger!

I emailed him to thank him for his thank you speech, and to ask if I could post it on my site. This is what he said:

Ms. Dugdale,

You're welcome for the contribution. Truth be told, as I was writing what I needed to be a "business" or "professional" type thank you speech, I was scouring the web for some well-placed anecdotes, tips to improve upon, or general all-around good advice to include in a thank you speech.

Surprisingly, incredibly difficult to find. Google may churn out billions of "results," but none were applicable. So, as I continued to compose my own, I happened across your website. I found it helpful in terms of examples of speech writing structure, some main points to include, etc.

Long story short, when I had finished it the other night, I just thought I'd pass it on when I saw that that was an option on your useful website. You may certainly post it as a "sample business thank you speech" on your page if you wish. Since, as I said above, they were incredibly difficult to come by.

If it helps someone else who, perhaps, has never written anything like that before and now finds themselves in the position of needing to, I'd be glad if my example could help them.

It seemed fitting to send it to you after using some of your tips to help me complete it.

Thank you for your rather enthusiastic reply! It was both a surprise and a delight for me. I'm glad to hear my speech brought a smile to your face too :)

Kind regards, 

J.

Employee appreciation speech printable download

Image:Invitation to download printable thank you speech template

Either click on the image above or this link: business thank you / employee appreciation speech template printable to download a pdf of the speech for your own use.

Image: green dividing line

Of course if you really are stuck I'm happy to help ...

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