Time to Celebrate: Best Retirement Party Gift Ideas for Employees

Don’t miss the signs. It may be time to consider retirement party gift ideas if: 

  • You notice an employee bringing up bird sighting specifically, and the Audobon Society in general, all apropos of nothing, during Zoom calls.
  • One of your empty nester team members takes up Taiko drumming.
  • Your office manager starts listening to Rosetta Stone during lunch breaks, with the goal of mastering an obscure Creole language spoken on the Caribbean Island of Aruba (said language is Papiamentu, in the event that you, too, are preparing your own tropical passage).

These are all indicators that you may want to think about in-person and virtual retirement party ideas. If a few of your long-term contributors are headed for greener pastures and you’re wondering how to do them proud in their send off, fear not! We have all the fun virtual retirement party ideas and suggestions for retirement gifts for employees that are sure to make every adios a memorable occasion.  

Why Is It Important to Celebrate Retiring Employees?

Recognizing retiring employees makes team members of all ages and tenures feel valued and connected to your company culture.  

  • Underscore characteristics of the retiring employee that were critical to your business success, including exceptional teamwork, compassion, commitment, and customer service.
  • Show you value your team members beyond just the bottom line, by calling out remarkable personal traits of your retiring team member such as physical fitness, resilience, world travel, amazing parenting, or a work/life balance that supports personal happiness and long-term success.
  • Celebrate your retiring employee’s next chapter including details about what’s next, whether that’s a year or two on the couch or a trip around the world. Let them know they deserve all they seek in retirement and that they’re welcome back anytime to share updates over lunch or via Zoom.

What Are Fun Games to Play at Retirement Parties?

From Bingo to pin-the-tail-on-the-retiree, there are so many in-person and virtual retirement party games, it will be tough to pick your favorite. Here’s a consistent crowd pleaser: 

Who Knows You Best? Ask questions of the retiree’s team members and give a grand prize to the co-worker who knows them best. Make sure everyone gets a small giveaway as an honorable mention to keep them engaged in the fun. Ask questions like their:

  • Hometown
  • Hire date
  • Favorite coworker
  • Favorite meal or team lunch spot
  • Biggest office pet peeve (e.g., fish in the lunchroom or pen-clicking cubicle mates)
  • Retirement plans (e.g., travel, TV, or senior softball league)

What Are the Best Virtual Retirement Party Ideas?

Working from home has become much more widespread, and virtual retirement parties have, as well. A few tips to make your retiree feel like a million (virtual) bucks: 

  • Have participants contribute slides to a PowerPoint or video montage to be played during the party.
  • Make the virtual surprise party a surprise by calling the Zoom call a quarterly review or all hands meeting.
  • Send retirement gifts for the retiree to open on camera.
  • Deliver smaller gifts or snacks to all party participants to lend the meeting a festive feel for everyone.

What Are the Best Gifts for Retiring Coworkers?

When it comes to celebrating retiring employees, focus on fun, focus on quality, or a little of both. And if you’re wondering how much to give for a retirement party, as long as your retiree feels special, the amount doesn’t matter. Meaningful gestures including funny stories, shared experiences, and handmade cards go a long way toward warming hearts and making memories.  

For a souvenir to celebrate the occasion, these gifts are sure to bring smiles:  

Cross® Click Chrome Ballpoint: A meaningful gift they’ll use with pride and treasure forever. 

Premium Set of 4 Double Old Fashion Glasses -14 oz: Do retirement and tumblers go hand in hand? For lemonade on the front porch or cocktails at sunset, we’re sure this set of glasses will be put to good use. 

Le Chateau: Just the right amount of “fancy” for your star retiree. 

Jubilee Award: Show your retiring employee they are nothing short of magnificent with this stunning, laser engraved award. 

Large Empower Award: A splash of color and a contemporary design ensure this award turns heads.  

A Few More Retirement Party Gift Ideas to Make Memories That Last

  • Pool resources together for a substantive gift like a bike, hiking gear, spa day, or weekend getaway (and talk to Human Resources about expensing all or part).
  • Distribute a souvenir gift set to party participants as well, and remind your team that employees are honored and remembered for years and years.

Cheers and Tears Make It Meaningful

The best in-person and virtual retirement party ideas bring together your team to bid adieu to one of their own. Provide food, fun stories and games, a few gifts for the retirement party guest of honor, and souvenirs for event attendees. Celebrate your retiring employee’s next steps and new interests, from Taiko drumming to spotted owls to Rosetta stone. Then let good memories roll and new chapters begin. 

Karleen Wise Andersen

From marketing tips to product recommendations, I’m here to help small businesses be their best.

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