I am certain that there are some people that breathe a long sigh of relief when it is a colleagues final day in the workplace! However, in this article we will be talking about a colleague that we actually like and have respect for - meaning that we will miss working with them.
People leave jobs for many reasons. Some colleagues may be approaching retirement age, some may secure a job elsewhere and others may decide to move out of the area - there are several different reasons why people will leave their job.
However, if we have worked with a colleague for a while and got to know and like them then despite them choosing to perhaps progress their careers elsewhere, it is inevitable that we may feel a tinge of sadness. Our working environment will change and the colleague will be replaced because that is what happens in jobs and careers - people invariably move on and change - gradual or sudden - is commonplace. It is something that unlike our own personal lives, we do not have that much control over.
Emotions may run high, there’s no doubt about that but the main aim is for both the much loved colleague and indeed ourselves, is to be able to say goodbye on a positive note.
For your colleague who is leaving, there will be a sense of trepidation as they are probably leaving a job in which they are both familiar and comfortable, surrounded by supportive colleagues and travelling into the relative unknown.
So what can we say to them so that they know that their time spent with us has been valued? It is important to convey to your colleague that just because that particular working relationship has reached its conclusion, it does not mean that the friendship and bond that has been forged is over. It is perfectly acceptable to offer them your contact details if they already do not have them and say how much you would like to know how they are getting on in the near future.
Mention how they have inspired or helped you and how their positive influence will not be forgotten. Wish them all the very best in their new role and thank them for supporting you over the time they have been part of your working environment, adding that their future colleagues will also enjoy their company as much as you have and that their contributions will be remembered for a long time.
You can remind them of any amusing memories that you shared with them as laughter always breaks the ice in potentially tense or emotional situations. Keep it lighthearted but sincere.
Whilst it may not apply to everyone, it is important for both parties to recognise that any disagreements that you may have experienced in the past stay exactly where they belong - in the past.
Lastly, it is of great comfort to all involved, particularly if emotions are heightened to reassure them that it is only farewell for now and not a final goodbye!