Seeing a coworker off on their last day at work? This is a great opportunity for you (and your company) to cement a lasting relationship and leave a lasting positive impression. Here are a few ways to make the last day valuable and memorable:
1. Give a parting gift.
They need a way to remember your company. Give a gift. Maybe it’s a simple notecard (get everyone to sign it). Maybe it’s a book (leave an inscription). Or even better, maybe it can be a curio or trinket related to a project they’ll always remember.
2. Fill the parting glass.
Go out for food and drinks, or (better yet) bring them into your office and transform the workplace into a comfortable environment for sharing memories and plans. Food and drink tends to help with that. It’s easy to pool together funds to cover your departing coworker’s food and drink.
3. Reminisce about the good and bad.
If they’re a coworker worth celebrating, they’ve been through a lot of s*** with you and your team. Remember the good times and hard times in vivid detail. For someone moving on to something new, both kinds of memories are worth remembering. Tell specific stories about your coworker and your time with them. You have the opportunity here to help your coworker walk away with a positive narrative about his time with your company.
4. Give specific praise.
Don’t just leave them with an email saying “great job!” That’s going to be a real letdown of a parting compliment for anyone who has worked with you for a while. Think of 2-3 specific projects/instances where your coworker did an admirable thing. Point that out. Tell them what those admirable actions did for you.
5. Give them a grand exit.
Don’t let them walk out alone and unnoticed. At the very least, escort them to the door and give them a hug/hand-shake/high-five. Be their honor guard. When we farewelled a developer recently at my company, we gave a slow clap that and cheering as he walked out the door for the last time. I think it meant something to him.
BONUS – 6. Encourage them in their new work.
From time to time (typically when birthdays, new jobs, or anniversaries roll around), reach out and check in on how your coworker’s new work is going. Give them encouragement as they begin and congratulations as they move up in the working world. Maybe you’ll even find new and better ways to collaborate with them at their new companies. Often old coworkers make the best clients.