Use These Employee Appreciation Speech Examples to Show Your Team You Care

Business People Laughing During Meeting

The simple act of saying “thank you” does wonders.

Yet sometimes, those two words alone don’t seem to suffice. Sometimes your team made such a difference, and your gratitude is so profound, a pat on the back just isn’t enough.

Because appreciation is more than saying thank you. It’s about demonstrating that your team is truly seen and heard by thanking them for specific actions. It’s about showing that you understand and empathize with the struggles your team faces every day. And it’s about purpose too. True appreciation connects your team’s efforts back to a grand vision and mission.

Soit’s time to diversify your portfolio of reliable tips and go-to words of wisdom for expressing your undying appreciation. After all, you diversify your portfolio of investments, and really, workplace appreciation is an investment.

Let’s set aside the standard definition of appreciation for a second and take a look at the financial definition.

According to Investopedia,

“Appreciation is an increase in the value of an asset over time.”

In the workplace, appreciation increases the value of your most important assets—your employees—over time. Here are some ways appreciation enhances employee relations:

circle of appreciation

 

Some of the most successful entrepreneurs in American business built companies, and lasting legacies, by developing employees through the simple act of appreciation.

Charles Schwab, founder of the Charles Schwab Corporation, once said:

“I consider my ability to arouse enthusiasm among my people the greatest asset I possess, and the way to develop the best that is in a person is by appreciation and encouragement. There is nothing else that so kills the ambitions of a person as criticism from superiors. I never criticize anyone. I believe in giving a person incentive to work. So I am anxious to praise but loath to find fault. If I like anything, I am hearty in my appreciation and lavish in my praise.”

Boost your ability to arouse enthusiasm by learning how to deliver employee appreciation speeches that make an impact. Once you master the habits and rules below, sincere appreciation will flow from you like sweet poetry. Your employees are going to love it!

 

The Employee Appreciation Speech Checklist

Planning employee appreciation speeches can be fast and easy when you follow a go-to “recipe” that works every time.

Maritz®studies human behavior and highlights relevant findings that could impact the workplace. They developed the Maritz Recognition Model to help everyone deliver the best appreciation possible. The model asserts that effective recognition touches on three critical elements: the behavior, the effect, and the thank you.

Here’s a summary of the model, distilled into a checklist for your employee appreciation speeches:

  1. Talk about the behavior(s). While most employee appreciation speeches revolve around the vague acknowledgment of “hard word and dedication,” it’s best to call out specific actions and accomplishments so employees will know what they did well, feel proud, and get inspired to repeat the action. Relay an anecdote about one specific behavior to hook your audience and then expand the speech to cover everyone. You can even include appreciation stories from other managers or employees in your speech.
  2.  Talk about the effect(s) of the behavior(s). What positive effect did the employee behaviors have on your company’s mission? If you don’t have any statistics to share, simply discuss how you expect the behaviors to advance your mission.
  3.  Deliver the “thank you” with heartfelt emotion. Infusing speeches with emotion will help employees feel your appreciation in addition to hearing it. To pinpoint the emotional core of your speech, set the “speech” part aside and casually consider why you’re grateful for your employees. Write down everything that comes to mind. Which aspects made you tear up? Which gave you goosebumps? Follow those points to find the particular emotional way you want to deliver your “thank you.”

employee-of-the-month-acknowledgement

 

Tips and tricks:

  • Keep a gratitude journal (online or offline). Record moments of workplace gratitude and employee acts you appreciate. This practice will make you feel good, and it also provides plenty of fodder for appreciation speeches.
  • Make mini-speeches a habit. Try to deliver words of recognition to employees every single day. As you perfect small-scale appreciation speeches, the longer ones will also feel more natural.
  • When speaking, pause frequently to let your words sink in.
  • Practice your body language. The words in your speech mean nothing if your body language projects an insincere, awkward image. Toastmasters International recommends:
    • Making eye contact
    • Controlling jittery gestures
    • Acting out verbs
    • Matching facial expression to words
    • Moving around the stage
  • Modulate your tone. Experts say the sound of your voice can have as much impact as the meaning of your words. Analyses of expert orator John F. Kennedy’s speeches have pinpointed a few vocal elements of powerful speeches:
    • Varied pace. Don’t drone on at the same pace. Speak quickly and then switch to speaking slowly.
    • Varied volume. Raise your voice on key points and closings.

 

Employee Appreciation Speech Scripts

Build on these customizable scripts to deliver employee appreciation speeches and casual meeting shout-outs every chance you get. Each script follows the 3-step approach we discussed above. Once you get the hang of appreciation speech basics, you’ll be able to pull inspirational monologues from your hat at a moment’s notice.

Swipe the examples below, but remember to infuse each speech with your own unique perspectives, personality, and heartfelt emotions.

employee-speeches-of-gratitude

 

All-Purpose Appreciation Speech  

Greet your audience.

I feel so lucky to work with you all. In fact, [insert playful aside: e.g. My wife doesn’t understand how I don’t hate Mondays. It drives her nuts!]

Thanks to you, I feel lucky to come to work every day.

Talk about behaviors you appreciate.

Everyone here is [insert applicable team soft skills: e.g. positive, inspiring, creative, and intelligent]. I’m constantly amazed by the incredible work you do.

Let’s just look at the past few months, for example. [Insert bullet points of specific accomplishments from every department].

  • Finance launched an amazing new online payroll system.
  • Business Development doubled their sales last quarter.
  • Human Resources trained us all in emotional intelligence.

Talk about the effects of the behaviors.

These accomplishment aren’t just nice bullet points for my next presentation. Each department’s efforts has deep and lasting impacts on our business. [Explain the effects of each highlighted accomplishment].

  • The new payroll system is going to save us at least $20,000 on staff hours and paper.
  • Revenue from those doubled sales will go into our core investments, including a new training program.
  • And I can already see the effects of that emotional intelligence training each time I’m in a meeting and a potential argument is resolved before it starts.

Say thank you.

I can’t thank you enough for everything you do for this company and for me. Knowing I have your support and dedication makes me a better, happier person both at work and at home.

employee-appreciation-event

 

Formal Appreciation Speech

Greet your audience by explaining why you were excited to come to work today.

I was not thrilled when my alarm went off this morning, but I must admit, I’m luckier than most people. As I got out of bed and thought about doing [insert daily workplace activities that inspire you], I felt excitement instead of dread. It’s an incredible feeling, looking forward to work every day, and for that, I have each and every one of you to thank.

Talk about behaviors you appreciate.

Just last week, [insert specific anecdote: e.g. I remembered, ironically, that I forgot to create a real-time engagement plan for TECHLO’s giant conference next month. As you all know, they’re one of our biggest clients, so needless to say, I was panicking. Then I sit down for my one-on-one with MEGAN, worried that I didn’t even have time for our meeting, and what does she say? She wants to remind me that we committed to submit a promotional plan by the end of the week. She had some ideas for the TECHLO conference, so she went ahead and created a draft.]

Talk about the effects of the behaviors.

[Insert the outcome of the anecdote: e.g. Her initiative dazzled me, and it saved my life! We met our deadline and also blew TECHLO away. In fact, they asked us to plan a similar initiative for their upcoming mid-year conference.]

Say thank you.

[Insert a short thank-you paragraph tying everything together: e.g. And you know what, it was hard for me to pick just one example to discuss tonight. You all do so many things that blow me away every day. Thank you for everything. Thank you for making each day of work something we can all be proud of.]

 

Visionary Appreciation Speech

Greet your audience by explaining why you do what you do.

Here at [company name] we [insert core competency: e.g. build nonprofit websites], but we really [insert the big-picture outcome of your work: e.g. change the world by helping amazing nonprofits live up to their inspiring visions.]

I want to emphasize the “we” here. This company would be nothing without your work.

Talk about behaviors and explain how each works toward your mission.

Have you guys ever thought about that? How what you do [recap the big-picture outcome at your work: e.g. changes the world by helping amazing nonprofits live up to their inspiring visions]?

[Insert specific examples of recent work and highlight the associated outcomes: e.g. Let’s explore in terms of the websites we launched recently. I know every single person here played a role in developing each of these websites, and you should all be proud.]

  • The launch of foodangel.org means that at least 500 homeless people in the greater metro area will eat dinner tonight.
  • The launch of happyup.org means thousands of depressed teenagers will get mental health counseling.

Now if that’s not [recap the big-picture outcome], then I don’t know what is.

Say thank you.

Thank you for joining me on the mission to [big-picture outcome]. With any other team, all we’re trying to do might just not be possible, but you all make me realize we can do anything together.

employee-appreciation-speeches

 

Casual Appreciation Speech

Greet your audience by discussing what upcoming work-related items you are most excited about.

I’ve been thinking nonstop about [insert upcoming initiative: e.g. our upcoming gallery opening]. This [initiative] is the direct result of your amazing work. To me, this [initiative] represents [insert what the initiative means to you: e.g. our true debut into the budding arts culture of our city.]

Talk about behaviors you appreciate.

You’ve all been pulling out all the stops, [insert specific example: e.g. staying late, making 1,000 phone calls a day, and ironing out all the details.]

Talk about the effects of the behaviors.

Because of your hard work, I’m absolutely confident the [initiative] will [insert key performance indicator: e.g. sell out on opening night.] 

Say thank you.

Thank you, not just for making this [initiative] happen, but also for making the journey such a positive and rewarding experience.

 

Funny Appreciation Speech

Greet your audience by telling an inside joke.

I want to thank you all for the good times, especially [insert inside joke: e.g. that time we put a glitter bomb in Jeff’s office.]

Talk about behaviors you appreciate and highlight comical outcomes.

But seriously, you guys keep me sane. For example [insert comical examples: e.g.]:

  • The Operations team handled the merger so beautifully, I only had to pull out half my hair.
  • The Marketing team landed a new client, and now we can pay you all for another year.
  • And thanks to the Web team’s redesign of our website, I actually know what we do here.

Talk about the real effects of the behaviors.

But for real for real, all your work this year has put us on a new level. [Insert outcomes: e.g. We have an amazing roster of clients, a growing staff, and an incredible strategic plan that makes me feel unqualified to work here.] You guys made all this happen.

Say thank you.

So thank you. This is when I would usually tell a joke to deflect my emotions, but for once in my life, I actually don’t want to hide. I want you all to know how much I appreciate all you do.

That was hard; I’m going to sit down now.

We hope adapting these tips and scripts will help you articulate the appreciation we know you already feel!