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Giving a retirement speech - employee or employer

A retirement speech - or farewell speech -can be given by the boss of the person retiring or by the person retiring themselves. It's often both - the employer says a few words and the employee replies with thanks.  A retirement speech can be given in various locations and at various times. It could be just a few words at the end of your last working day - in your office surrounded by a few close work mates. It could be at work - during the lunch break or after hours with a presentation of a gift to show appreciation of all the hard work done by the retiree. This would be followed by a few words of thanks. It might be a more formal event in a local restaurant - either during an extended lunch break or in the evening.  The retirement speech could be very casual - perhaps just a few words in a local pub with work mates.

If you need help with a speech or just with gaining confidence when speaking - I can help you. Below is information about a speech by the employee and further down by the employer.  

Retirement speech given by the retiring employee

The longer you have worked for a company the more likely it is that you'll be expected to say something. It needn't be long - you might feel quite emotional (you might be pleased to leave!) so have anything you'd like to say written down and don't hesitate to read it if you need.

Say how much you will miss working with your colleagues and perhaps remind people of some memorable moments, these could be funny, serious or even sad. You can talk about any plans you have for the future.

Remember to address your thanks to everyone present - not just to the person who has spoken. This is especially true if you've been presented with a leaving present. It could be that other people in the workforce contributed as much, if not more, than the person who presented it.

  • To start your outline retirement speech make notes and sort them into the three sections - beginning, middle, end.
  • Obviously things that happened when you first started at the company would go near the beginning and the last few years and thanks for friendship etc. would go at the end.
  • You could start with how you felt when you got offered the job.
  • What your first impressions of the work force were, who befriended you in the first few days, any daft things you did in your first few weeks!
  • If you've worked there for a long time perhaps comment on how things have changed - especially technology.
  • If some members of staff played an important part in your promotion remember to thank them by name - we all like to feel important.
  • Say why you've enjoyed working there - what is it that kept you there and stopped you from moving to another company - perhaps it was the work itself, or the people, the bosses, the location, the customers etc.
  • If you have any plans for your retirement share them with your workmates.
  • Let them know that you'll miss them but that you have plenty of other things to do in your life.
  • More help here if needed

Whether you are the employee or the employer you might find these pages helpful

Retirement speech given by the employer

If you're the employer, thank the employee for all their hard work. Unless it's a very casual event your speech will need to have had a bit of thought. The person retiring has put a lot of time and effort into helping the company and it's only polite to spend a few minutes remembering this. If you do not know the member of staff very well take the time to find out how they have contibuted to the company and say how valuable they have been.

When you talk, direct your words - in the main - at the person retiring.

Open your mouth and imagine the words flying out of your mouth - if you want them to reach the retiree you'll need to look in the right direction otherwise they'll go somewhere else! Imagine your words are golf balls or tennis balls - they'll only go where they need to if you hit them in the right direction!

  • If you're the employer, again split your ideas into three sections.
  • If you were working there when the person first started what were your first impressions?
  • If you weren't there try to get some details from other employees who were around at the time.
  • Why do you think the person got the job and what daft things have they done since working there.
  • If you're going to bring up daft things make sure you also include some memorable 'good' things as well. The retiree won't want people to think that after all these years all you can remember are the stupid things!
  • State how much the company will miss their input - their ideas, energy, hard work etc.
  • End the speech with plenty of thanks for all their hard work and dedication. If you are presenting an award or leaving present remember to say that it comes from everyone (if other people have contributed towards it). Also say why it was chosen and wish the retiree good luck in the future.
  • Remember that very few people ever complain because a speech was too short!!