05/17/2013 09:41 am ET Updated Jul 17, 2013

Ideas for Public Service Recognition Week

This week has been designated by Congress as Public Service Recognition Week (PSRW), a time to honor the men and women who work in government each and every day to find solutions to our country's problems, assist Americans in need, keep us safe and advance our national interests.

For federal leaders, the week offers an opportunity to reach out to employees and let them know their service is appreciated, a seemingly small but important gesture given the current climate of pay and hiring freezes, furloughs and overall uncertainty.

President Obama has already taken this step, issuing a letter praising public servants for "diligently serving without expectation of fanfare" and for being "committed to a cause greater than personal ambition."

All 15 Cabinet secretaries signed a separate letter, noting that every federal employee, whether appointed agency leaders and ambassadors or air traffic controllers and Social Security claims representatives, are united by a common pledge to "serve and protect our great country."

"Together we are confronting and overcoming challenges of great importance to the American people," they wrote. "Whether securing our borders, ensuring the safety of products we buy and the feed we eat, protecting our environment, or caring for our veterans and most vulnerable citizens, government employees are dedicated to serving others and making a difference--sometimes at great risk to their own lives and well-being."

There are numerous ways for departmental and agency leaders to communicate their gratitude to employees, including sending a simple email letting them know that their hard work and accomplishments are valued.

The theme of PSRW 2013 is "Why I Serve," so another, more personal, approach might be to send a message about your reasons for serving our country. Most front-line public servants have little, if any, interaction with senior leaders. A sincere expression of your motivation for public service may prove to be inspiring.