How to say congratulations professionally

Milica Vucicevic

Last updated on: December 27, 2022

When someone close to you has achieved something great, what do you do?

Well, you congratulate them.

Whether it’s an aced exam, a nice house or the birth of a child, people love to receive praise and admiration and get recognized for their hard work.

How does this translate into professional life, I hear you asking.

Landing a better position, getting a promotion, or a raise are some of the occasions you might find yourself wanting to congratulate your colleagues on.

Sending a message or a card congratulating them on their achievements is a surefire way to leave a lasting impression and strengthen relationships.

Continue reading to learn more about:

  • Why it’s important to congratulate your colleagues,
  • What makes a good congratulations message,
  • Examples of congratulations messages,
  • Different ways to congratulate, 
  • How to congratulate your superiors, and
  • What to avoid in a congratulations message.

Let’s start!

How to say congratulations professionally-cover

Why it’s important to congratulate your employees

Congratulating someone for their achievements almost always means giving praise in some way.

You can express your admiration for their incredible skills that got them the new job or praise their dedication, which led them to a promotion. 

So, congratulating and praising often go hand-in-hand.

After someone praises you, you will surely have a smile on your face or a pep in your step for the day.

Or, maybe you’ll blush and get embarrassed, but inside you’ll still feel seen and admired.

In any case, receiving praise will:

  • Boost your confidence,
  • Make you feel appreciated and valued,
  • Motivate you to be even better, and
  • Help you develop better relationships

Besides, the people receiving praise aren’t the only ones who will feel good.

When you put out positive energy, it will come back to you. 

So when you make someone else feel good, you too will feel happier.

Furthermore, receiving positive feedback is beneficial to employees.

Receiving praise from your manager or coworker is proven to boost productivity and improve job satisfaction.

So, when you praise or congratulate your colleague, it creates a more positive atmosphere in the workplace and encourages teamwork

Additionally, building a good rapport with your colleagues is very beneficial, and one of the ways you can do that is by acknowledging and celebrating each other’s accomplishments.

If you are in a managing position, you should keep in mind that congratulating and praising your employees is a great way to motivate them to achieve their professional goals.

And, congratulating your coworkers is a great way to not only help lift their spirits but also reap the benefits yourself.

So, don’t shy away from congratulating and praising your colleagues, as it benefits everyone.

What makes a good professional congratulations message?

Now that you know why it’s a good idea to congratulate colleagues on their accomplishments, the next step is to understand what makes a good congratulations message.

First of all, the overall tone of your message should be positive

Now is not the time to mention a problem at work or a skill your coworker should improve upon.

Focus on their accomplishments, and keep it cheerful.

Also, make sure to be specific and include relevant details concerning their accomplishment.

So, if your coworker got a promotion, make sure to include the skills they mastered in order to climb the ladder of success.

If you are congratulating a colleague you don’t know very well, it’s okay to keep it simple.

However, if you know the person well, it’s always a good idea to include a personal touch, so that they know you are really thinking about them.

Maybe a funny anecdote or an inside joke can find its way into your congratulations message to make your coworker smile even wider, like in this example:

Example of a congratulations message with a joke on Pumble, a team messaging app
Example of a congratulations message with a joke on Pumble, a team messaging app

Last but not least, always remember to keep it professional, use appropriate language and be polite.

Overall, these are the main characteristics you should pay attention to:

  • Positive, uplifting tone,
  • Specific to the situation,
  • With a personal touch, and
  • Professional and polite.

With that in mind, let’s go over some examples of congratulations messages.

Examples of congratulations messages

Keeping in mind the general rules mentioned above, let’s go over some examples of good congratulations messages.

In any of these examples, feel free to add or omit anything, or just use them as inspiration while writing your own congratulations message.

General and simple messages

Here are some examples of congratulations messages that are great for any occasion. 

These are short and sweet, so you’ll probably use these for colleagues you don’t know very well.

I’m delighted to hear the news. Congratulations! You did it!

Well done! I’m so happy for you.

This is great news! Congratulations!

If you need a simple yet formal message, here are some examples:

Congratulations on your admirable success!

Sending my warmest congratulations!

Congratulations! Sending my best wishes!

Congratulations on a new job

If your coworker has started a new job, congratulations are in order.

Make sure to let your coworker see how proud you are of their accomplishments and that this is a great step for them.

In this example, we have Nina congratulating her coworker Joan on her new position:

Example of congratulating your coworker on a new job on Pumble, a team communication app
Example of congratulating your coworker on a new job on Pumble, a team communication app

Here are a few more examples of how that might go:

I will surely miss you around the office, but I’m incredibly happy that you have this new opportunity to grow. You’re nothing short of amazing! Congratulations!

It’s been amazing to see your growth for the last couple of years. I’m sure this new position will help you further your career, and let you shine even brighter. Congratulations!

You getting this new job is great news to everyone in the office who has seen your potential. Your skills and hard work are unmatched. Congratulations!

Although I will miss you on our team, I’m delighted to hear about your new job. This opportunity will be great for your career. Your new team is so lucky to have you. Congratulations!

Congratulations on a promotion

A promotion is a big accomplishment, and your coworkers will be over the moon to share the news with you. 

Make sure to share their enthusiasm — as Nina did in this congratulations message to her coworker:

Example of congratulating your colleague on a promotion via Pumble, a team communication app
Example of congratulating your colleague on a promotion via Pumble, a team communication app

Here are some more examples of congratulating someone on a promotion:

I want to congratulate you on your promotion. You’re so committed and diligent, and this only shows that you have so much more potential in you. I’m so proud of you!”

You are definitely the right fit for this promotion. Your empathetic side truly shines in this position, and I’m sure you will be delighted to expand your skills even further. Congratulations!

You set a great example that if you want something and work hard enough for it, you will get it. I admire your dedication and hard work. Congratulations on the promotion!

You have been an amazing coworker, and with this promotion, you will be an even more amazing leader. Congratulations on your success, and I’m looking forward to working with you in a new capacity.

Congratulations on a personal achievement

If your coworker has hit a new milestone in their personal life, such as buying their dream house or welcoming their child, now is the time to congratulate them.

If you aren’t close to your coworker and you don’t want to blur the line between your professional and personal life, a simple message from the list of general messages above is more than enough.

This way you uplift your coworker but still preserve a good balance between professional and personal life.

However, if you are close to your colleague and want to make it more personal, here are a few examples:

I’m so happy to see your family grow. I’m positive that you will be an amazing parent and wishing you all the best for this new chapter in your life. Congratulations! Can’t wait to celebrate!

I remember talking to you about your dream house a couple of years ago. This is just how I imagined it to be. I’m so happy that you have accomplished your dream. Congratulations!

I know you love cars, and this new one is amazing. I’m thrilled for you and hope you can give me a ride around the block after work. Congratulations!

I want to congratulate you on your win in the finale of the season. I know how much you love to play football in your free time and I’m happy to see you and your teammates are the champions this year. Congratulations!

More ways to say congratulations

If you feel like congratulations are in order, but you want to be a little more original and stand out with your message, here are some ideas on how to congratulate someone in a more creative way.

Option #1: Compliments

Instead of saying congratulations, you can compliment the skills and knowledge that led them to their achievements.

Here’s how Nina complimented her coworker while congratulating her on a promotion:

Example of congratulating with compliments via Pumble, a team communication app
Example of congratulating with compliments via Pumble, a team communication app

Below are a couple more examples of messages:

You are amazing. The way you dedicate yourself to your work is an admirable quality. Way to go!

You’re a homeowner now. I’m sure the empathy and open-minded spirit you have in the office will translate into building a warm home for you and your family. Keep being great!

You’ve earned this success. Your work ethic and willingness to learn are praiseworthy. Keep it up!

I’ve never doubted you and your skills. You’re really amazing at what you do. Just keep at it!

This way, you avoid the usual congratulations message, but still compliment your colleague’s competence and send warm wishes.

Option #2: Short phrases

If your company uses a team communication app, you most likely have group chats with coworkers.

When someone shares some great news in the group chat, your reply doesn’t have to be long and complicated.

A short phrase like the examples below will suffice, and in some cases, a simple reaction to a message is enough.

In this case, Nina has shared some great news in the group chat, and Joan responded in a thread:

Example of congratulating with a short phrase on Pumble, a business messaging app
Example of congratulating with a short phrase on Pumble, a business messaging app

Here are a few more examples of short messages you can use:

Good job! Congratulations!

Keep up the good work!

Congratulations! Well deserved.

Impressive. Hats off to you!

Bravo! Excellent job.

You did a great job. Congratulations!

These phrases are suitable for group chat conversations, or replies in threads — where you don’t want to clutter the chat with long messages. 

But, be wary of using phrases this short and impersonal if you are in a 1-on-1 conversation, as it may come across as stand-offish. 

Option #3: Quotes 

If you’re writing a congratulations card to your coworker, an inspirational quote can be an interesting way to congratulate them.

This way, you can be creative and stand out, but you don’t have to rack your brain crafting a professional congratulations message.

Here are some inspirational quotes you can use:

Success is the sum of small efforts repeated day in and day out.”

– Robert Collier

Success is no accident. It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice and most of all, love of what you are doing or learning to do.

– Pelé

Success is a state of mind. If you want success, start thinking of yourself as a success.

– Joyce Brothers

After a quote, you can add a short phrase to congratulate your coworker, like in this example:

Example of using a quote in a congratulations message via Pumble, a team communication app
Example of using a quote in a congratulations message via Pumble, a team communication app

So, even if you don’t want to craft a formal congratulations message, you have other ways of acknowledging the success of your coworkers.

How to congratulate your superiors

I think we can all agree that communicating with someone who is in charge can be nerve-racking.

You want to be respectful and professional, but you don’t want to sound subservient.

Although the examples given above are suitable for communication with your superiors, there are still a couple of things you should consider before writing them a congratulations message.

First off, people in higher positions are still just people — they like praise too.

So, when you know that they have an occasion or accomplishment worth praising — do it.

However, the important thing is to be aware of your tone.

You don’t want to sound too servile or like you have an ulterior motive.

Your manager may think you are just being nice to get something out of them.

So, keep it reasonable and congratulate them on their success without going overboard.

What to avoid when congratulating someone

It’s easy to get carried away when writing a congratulations message.

Maybe you’re trying to add a personal touch but end up typing out a paragraph about yourself. 

Or, you want to compliment someone but end up insulting them.

You want to be aware of the end goal and compose your message with your coworker in mind.

Firstly, make sure you don’t go overboard.

A few sentences are enough to express your admiration and congratulate your coworker without overwhelming them with a wall of text.

Even when adding an anecdote or joke, make sure to keep it concise. 

Furthermore, pay attention to your compliments.

Example of a backhanded compliment on Pumble, a business communication app
Example of a backhanded compliment on Pumble, a business communication app

You’re so lucky to get this promotion” may sound nice at first, but it can end up making the other person feel uncomfortable — you’re suggesting that luck is what got them the promotion, and not their knowledge and expertise. 

So make sure that you choose your words carefully to avoid conflicts.

💡 Pumble Pro Tip

If you ever find yourself in a situation where you’re not sure of your coworker’s intentions towards you, maybe you’re experiencing microaggressions in the workplace. Take a look at our blog post to learn more about microaggressions and how to deal with them:

Also, don’t forget that this isn’t about you.

Even if you helped them get the job or put in a good word to a manager, don’t toot your own horn.

If you don’t feel comfortable sending a congratulations message to a certain coworker, maybe you shouldn’t.

Refrain from congratulating when you aren’t sincere about it — the dishonesty can be obvious in your message.

So, to summarize, you shouldn’t:

  • Make the message too long,
  • Give backhanded compliments,
  • Talk about yourself,
  • Be insincere.

Conclusion: Acknowledging and praising success is beneficial for you and those around you

In summary, congratulating coworkers on their accomplishments and acknowledging their hard work will not only make them feel great about themselves, but you will also reap the benefits.

Whether you send a short and sweet message or write out a card complete with an inspirational quote, acknowledging the success and accomplishments of your colleagues should be one of your skills as a team player.

So, don’t shy away from sending that congratulations message to a coworker, and make it a point to recognize accomplishments in your workplace.

✉️ Do you congratulate your colleagues on their accomplishments? Do you love receiving congratulations messages yourself? What is the best way to professionally congratulate your coworkers?
Let us know at blogfeedback@pumble.com for a chance to be featured in this or future blog posts. Also, if you found this blog post useful, share it with someone you think would also benefit from it.

Author: MilicaVucicevic

Milica Vucicevic is a communication author and researcher at Pumble, focused on team communication in remote work environments. As a remote worker herself, she relies on her experience when writing, as well as implements her findings in her own professional life. When she’s not writing blog posts, you can find her enjoying the great outdoors, replenishing her energy for her next quest for knowledge.

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