As an employer or manager, you can use an employee's leaving to create goodwill and positive memories that will ease the stress of the transition. By making your employee's last days on the job comfortable and letting him know that you appreciate his service, you can avoid burning bridges and maintain business relationships that might be useful in the future.
A public tribute to the hard work your employee put in over the years serves two purposes: to thank the person for her efforts and spread the word about the transition to other employees and clients. You can include an article on your website, publish a notice in your next email or print newsletter, or offer a thank you speech at a banquet or company dinner. Use simple, straightforward language, and include mention of specific accomplishments and accolades.
To let your employee know that the entire staff has enjoyed the time together, get a gift from the group. Whether you all chip in for flowers or do something more personal, the employee will appreciate the effort. For a person who has grown close to staff members and contributed value to the team, you can put together a scrapbook that highlights memorable projects and lists the things coworkers see as valuable personality traits and assets. Other possibilities include gift cards, gag good luck gifts or something that relates to the employee's personal interests.
When an employee leaves your company, give other employees the chance to say goodbye and give good luck wishes by throwing a company or department party. Hold the event during work hours on the employee's last day to give everyone a chance to take a break and celebrate their coworker. Bring in cocktails and food, and ask high-ranking executives and people close to the employee to give short, personal speeches.
Letters of Recommendation
Even after they leave a job, employees often ask bosses for letters of recommendation for future jobs. When one of your staff members leaves, give him a letter in anticipation of this request; in doing so, you can talk about his positive qualities and strong work while he is on your mind instead of years down the road. This lets the employee know that you value his contribution and have an interest in his future success. Give him several copies and keep a digital file that can be updated with new dates in the future.