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How to Say Goodbye to Co-Workers

Updated on February 19, 2013
ChrisMcDade8 profile image

Christine McDade is a Human Resources professional (PHR & SHRM-CP) with over 18 years in the public sector.

Christine McDade is an experienced human resources manager.

Saying goodbye should be positive in a manner that wishes them well in the new position.
Saying goodbye should be positive in a manner that wishes them well in the new position. | Source

Saying Goodbye to Co-Workers is Never Easy

Employees who resign from a job to take on a new responsibility can be a sad occasion for both the departing employee and the co-workers left behind. Depending on the circumstances, employees often make moves to take on new challenges in a job that may provide advancement, better pay and new opportunities to grow. Submitting that two-week notice to the boss can be very difficult for employees who have had a generally good experience at the job. As many employees tend to find their job as part of their identity, saying farewell to the familiarity of a job and all of the relationships that have been developed with co-workers can be bittersweet. Regardless of the reason or the opportunities that lie ahead, employees departing the organization will miss the relationships that have developed during their employment.

Wishing a co-worker farewell is important to maintain good business relationships.
Wishing a co-worker farewell is important to maintain good business relationships. | Source

Important to Say "Thank You"

Employees moving on to a new job will appreciate a thank you from the boss, co-workers and the company itself. Although the boss will be disappointed to lose an employee to another employer, he/she will want to show some appreciation for all of the hard work the employee did for the organization. Saying thank you in an appropriate manner will be a proper way to say "farewell" to the co-worker.

What to Do for the Employee Who is Leaving

There are many ways to say farewell to a departing co-worker. Things to consider when a co-worker is leaving:

  • Retirement - If the co-worker is retiring from the organization, it will be important to acknowledge the time that has been committed to the employer. For many employees, retiring from an organization comes after many years have been spent at the job. Employees like to feel appreciated for their efforts. Recognizing the years put into a job is an important way to accomplish this appreciation. Many employers will plan a retirement party to honor the work of the retiring co-worker. A retirement themed party will be a good send off to the co-worker who is about embark on a new chapter of their life. It will also provide an opportunity to gather employees together to celebrate this important milestone and say farewell.
  • Resignation - When a co-worker voluntarily terminates his/her employment, there is a decision made to explore other opportunities with another employer or to take on a new adventure. The decision to move on is usually one that is made with some trepidation and much consideration. In other words, the co-worker would have taken a lot of time to consider the pros and cons of changing occupations. Some employees quit to start college and embark on a new career field. There is a likelihood, however, that the co-worker is leaving behind co-workers who are going to miss him/her for their hard work, expertise, and overall camaraderie with the rest of the team. These partings can be bittersweet due to the fond memories created with good working relationships.

Knowing the reason for the co-worker's decision to leave the organization will help co-workers decide on how to properly say goodbye.

Make the Occasion Fit the Co-Worker

In addition to acknowledging and applying the reason for the co-worker leaving, it is important to demonstrate the goodbye in a manner that is fitting to the personality of the co-worker. For some individuals, a big affair that includes many invited guests to a luncheon or party will be very appropriate. Such a large gathering would be much appreciated by the co-worker who is leaving, and a great opportunity for co-workers to publicly acknowledge him/her for the dedication and work in the organization. Celebrating the hard work and efforts of the departing co-worker can be done by having a large farewell party. A goodbye gift for the co-worker, cake, food, and themed decorations will fit the occasion. Especially with a retiring employee, it may be appropriate to purchase a gift to show appreciation for all of their dedication and loyalty over the years in the job.

If the co-worker is more introverted or prefers less of a fuss over the departure, it is prudent to consider having a more understated event that still acknowledges the work effort in a classy and respectful manner. A luncheon at a local restaurant or ordering a cake that co-workers can all enjoy might be more fitting to the person leaving. There are many ways to acknowledge the time committed to the employer that can be done on a smaller scale, yet tasteful and appropriate for the occasion. When in doubt about what to do for the co-worker, a manager should simply ask the person if they have a preference as to how they would like to say goodbye to everyone.

Co-workers appreciate the occasion to celebrate some fun at work with co-workers who will be missed. A gathering to celebrate such an occasion will be an opportunity for the boss to wish them well and thank them for their time with the organization. It will show the current employees that the employer does appreciate and respect hard work of employees.

Send a Positive Message to All Employees

When employers acknowledge and celebrate the hard work of a co-worker who is leaving the organization, it demonstrates a culture of employee appreciation. Co-workers saying goodbye to a co-worker for whom they cared will like to see that person treated with dignity and respect. While an employer will hate to lose the co-worker who has been a part of the team, the management will be wise to give them a positive send off that offers an opportunity for all to participate in the farewell. Such activity shows respect and appreciation for all to experience.


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    • ChrisMcDade8 profile image

      Christine McDade 5 years ago from Southwest Florida

      Thanks for the comments. There are many ways to send good wishes to a departing co-worker. It gives the employee who is leaving a heartfelt expression of "good luck".

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      sarosh kumar 5 years ago

      very nice things to be noted here....