8 Retirement Party Ideas to Send Off Your Employees on a High Note
Are you looking for awesome retirement party ideas as the perfect way to thank your employee for their years of hard work and dedication? We spoke with eight business leaders about their favorite ways to celebrate their retirees.
There comes a time in everyone’s career where they’ve worked hard, earned their keep, and are ready to ride off into the sunset and enjoy their retirement. Whether it’s traveling the globe or relaxing at home, most people have big plans for what they want to do once they’ve finally clocked out for the final time.
But before you let them go, there’s one thing left to do: decide on the perfect retirement party idea and celebrate all their hard work and dedication.
This event is going to be their last impression of the company—and the working world—though. And if that feels like a tall order, don’t worry. We tapped into our network of business leaders to get their favorite retirement party ideas and tips.
Here’s what they had to say.
Craft Something They Can Keep Forever
A party comes and goes but memories last forever. So, Samantha Moss, Editor and Content Ambassador at Romantific, recommends putting together something the retiree can take with them and reflect on years later.
“Sending off an employee on a high note is one great way to express our gratitude for their years of contribution to the organization,” says Samantha. “And, to make someone’s retirement celebration even more special, one thing you can do is prepare a video or create a book of memories for them. Ask each employee to share their unforgettable memories, give thanks, and offer well wishes to the retiring member of your team. And you can also include in the video or book the career highlights or achievements of the retiring employee.”
Create a Custom Trivia Game to Celebrate the Retiree
As a fun and outside-the-box retirement party idea, Martin Seeley, CEO at MattressNextDay, recommends putting together a game that’s entirely focused on the retiree.
“As a CEO, there is always a pang of sadness whenever a member of the team retires,” says Martin. “And our company makes it a point to show our appreciation for their hard work and dedication. It’s also a great way to show that our company values its employees as individuals and not just statistics.”
He continues, “A fun way to tastefully send off a retiring member of the team remotely is to hold a trivia contest about all their achievements and activities during their career at the office. You can even ask the celebrant for hard questions for bonus rounds.”
If you’ve got a team full of trivia lovers, check out our list of 13 trivia games for work teams that you and your colleagues might enjoy incorporating into your retirement party planning.
Host a Costume Party
When you’re coming up with retirement party ideas, it can be fun to facilitate an event that’s reminiscent of the retiree’s time with the company. That’s why Sam Dolbel, Co-Founder and CEO of SINC Workfroce, is a big fan of throwing themed parties.
“Celebrating someone’s retirement lets them feel appreciated and loved as they embark on a new milestone in their lives,” says Sam. “To make things fun, you can choose a theme or a dress code, such as dressing like the decade when the person joined the company. You can also pick a playlist from that era as well.”
Play a Game of Retirement-Themed “What’s in the Box?”
Here’s an interesting retirement party idea: Dan Belcher, CEO at Mortgage Relief, suggests playing a game of What’s in the Box with the guest of honor. Hint: the box will be packed with sentimental retirement gifts.
“Not all goodbyes need to have a sad sentiment to them, and retirement is a perfect example,” says Dan. “It’s hard to leave a legacy at first, but it becomes something you appreciate as it’s celebrated. We like to make our retirement parties memorable by playing a game of What’s in the Box. The retired employee is blindfolded and puts their hand into a box full of items—in our case, gifts. They then have to guess what the items are just by touching them. We always tell them that they can bring the items home if they get the correct answers but, of course, they get to take them home anyhow. We also ensure that the items inside the box are useful and serve as their rewards for everything they have done during their employment years.”
Don’t Host a Retirement Party If the Retiree Doesn’t Want It
This might seem counterintuitive but as Emily Appelbaum at Family Destinations Guide points out, some people don’t actually want them. And in this case, you should opt for another retirement farewell idea.
“There are retirees who don’t want to celebrate their retirement,” says Emily. “It’s not because they don’t enjoy quality time with their co-workers, it’s just that they aren’t comfortable with too much attention from others. Day-to-day conversations are fine for them, but parties can be overwhelming.”
In these instances, Emily recommends a few other ideas.
She elaborates, “If someone doesn’t feel up for a party, retirement cards are perfect because they help minimize any awkward interaction. With the ‘new normal’ we’re living in, it can be hard to send physical cards and getting everyone to sign them, though, so virtual cards are a great alternative. I recommend Kudoboard so you can personalize your card with photos you’ve collected and get everyone to leave a message in it.”
Incorporate Some Games and Team Building Activities
When it comes to adding some fun to your retirement party, Devin Schumacher, Founder at SERP, is all about gamification and team building.
“Most retirement parties in our company involve online games,” says Devin. “There are tons of great virtual team building games out there, like escape rooms, game shows, and even classic party games. All of these can be done virtually.”
If you’re looking for some great virtual team building activities to incorporate into a retirement party for your colleague, we’ve got a few ideas you might like, including:
- Virtual Escape Room: Jewel Heist: There’s been a robbery! Someone has masterminded a heist to steal a priceless collection of precious jewels, and it’s up to you and your team to recover them before time runs out. In this virtually-hosted escape room activity, you and your team will need to uncover hidden clues and solve a series of brain-boggling challenges that require collaboration, creative problem-solving, and outside-the-box thinking. But be quick! The clock is ticking before the stolen score is gone forever. This virtual activity is based on our popular in-person Corporate Escape Rooms, Jewel Heist and The Mummy’s Curse.
- Virtual Happy Hour Trivia: This is no ordinary happy hour trivia game. In this activity, you and your team will take a trip to Hamish McDuff’s virtual pub. This hilarious Scottish pub owner is the legendary host of a trivia game with more than 20 category options to choose from, including sports, food and drink, and even celebrity real estate. This virtual pub trivia game is guaranteed to produce plenty of laughs and lift team “spirits.” It might even include a few special surprises.
- Virtual Trivia Time Machine: Step into the Outback Time Machine and take a trip through time, from pre-pandemic 21st century through the decades all the way to the 60’s. This exciting, fast-paced virtual trivia game, packed with nostalgia and good vibes, is guaranteed to produce big laughs, friendly competition, and maybe even some chair-dancing. Your virtual game show host will warm up guests with a couple of “table hopper rounds” (breakout room mixers) and split you out into teams. Within minutes, your home office will be transformed into a game show stage with your very own game show buzzers!
- Virtual Clue Murder Mystery: You’ve probably never heard of a man named Neil Davidson. But your group will need to come together to solve the mystery of his murder by analyzing clues, resolving challenges, and figuring out who had the means, motive, and opportunity to commit a deadly crime. This activity will challenge you and your group to approach problems analytically, read between the lines, and use critical thinking in order to identify a suspect and deliver justice.
And if you’re looking for even more ideas, we’ve created an extensive list of virtual team building activities we think you’ll enjoy.
Don’t Be Afraid to Go Old-Fashioned
As Eric Mills, Owner and CEO of Pro Support Accessories, points out, sometimes a classic retirement party idea is the best idea.
“Our idea is somewhat old-fashioned, but we are quite happy with the results so far,” explains Eric. “Before the actual event starts, we always make sure to choose a unique, special retirement gift. We usually choose something related to the person’s hobbies or some of the inner jokes at work, or both. We then prepare a speech to celebrate their achievements at the company, and we wrap it up with celebratory drinks and cakes. We always try to create the most outgoing, social party we can, so that we can celebrate together and commemorate their time with us.”
Make New Memories with a Photobooth
When you’re hosting a retirement party, it’s often the retiree’s last chance to make new memories with their longtime colleagues. That’s why Eden Cheng, Co-Founder at PeopleFinderFree, likes to facilitate one final opportunity for everyone to make new memories together.
“At our company, we often like to make memories at our retirement parties by setting up a photo booth,” explains Eden. “This allows us the opportunity to capture every single moment of the party and ensure everybody has something to remember the retiree by once they’ve left. And the best part about it is that it allows our staff to also use the wacky props and snap fun pictures that can be uploaded on their social media pages. Moreover, this also allows them to get printed copies of the photos, whether it be pictures of the entire group or solo pictures that we enjoy hanging on the office billboard, as it often helps us create a fun and friendly office atmosphere at work.”
Tens of millions of people retire each year. And they’re only ever going to do it once! So, it’s important to celebrate their hard work and dedication as you send them off into the next chapter of their lives. And picking the right retirement party ideas is an important component of that.
What kind of celebrations do you hold for your retiring employees? Let us know in the comments section below!
Learn More Team Building Activities That Are Perfect for Office Retirement Parties
For more information about the best team building activities for retirement parties, reach out to our Employee Engagement Consultants.