A co-worker leaving the company isn't a reason to shed a tear -- it's an excuse to throw a party. Although the nature of your workplace might partially dictate the type of going-away party you can organize, do your best to get creative and send off the colleague with a bang. Tailor the decor to the occasion, organize a formal component, play a couple fun games and present the person with a going-away gift.
Decorate the room in which you're holding the party to suit the reason the person is departing the company. If she's quitting to fulfill a lifelong dream of traveling the world, print images of various notable landmarks, cut them into circles and place them on the walls to serve as makeshift cruise ship portholes. If your co-worker is retiring and plans to play golf daily, set up a mini-putt area in the corner and decorate the room with images of golf courses. In the event you can't identify a theme, print images of the co-worker and various people from work at company events.
Few people enjoy going-away parties dragged down by speech after speech, but it's appropriate to ask a few people to formally share some words about the person who's leaving the company. This component is especially important if the person has a long history with the organization. Suitable speakers can include the person's direct supervisor, the company president or CEO and a peer who started around the same time. After the remarks, a company representative can present a certificate of appreciation and the group can gather for a photo. Invite the person who's leaving, especially if she's retiring, to share a few words at this time, too.
Organizing one or more quick games can provide some laughs and make the party more enjoyable for everyone. Put the person who's leaving on the spot and make her reveal how well she knows her co-workers. Ask 10 co-workers to tell two true statements about themselves and one lie, and then have the party's guest of honor guess the lie. Or, invite people around the office to each email you one short anecdote about the favorite member of the person who's leaving. Read the stories aloud and challenge the person to guess who wrote each story.
Many workplaces pool staff members' funds to buy a going-away gift for a departing co-worker, especially if the person was well-respected around the office. Think of a gift that would suit the next chapter of the person's life. For someone eager to travel, for example, buy a gift card to a travel website or a high-quality digital camera. If you have trouble thinking of a gift, make a donation to a local charity in the person's name.