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Submitted by ebn305 on


As managers and supervisors I imagine many of the Manager Toolers out there have found themselves at a staff member's farewell - either in the office or at a restaurant somewhere - and having to make the farewell speech.

I'd be interested to hear what people think makes for a great farewell speech and what traps there might be.


stevejb's picture

A former boss of mine would use the farewell speech as an opportunity to disparage the organisation the employee was moving to, with the implication that it was a big mistake to leave. This only reinforced the decision to leave by those who resigned and made current employees cringe. If you want to keep the respect of your employees, I can advise against anything along these lines!

When I do them I keep them positive and focused on the contribution the staff member made, ending with a genuine thank you - regardless of the circumstances surrounding the departure. You never know, that person may end up your boss one day or working in a company that you want to work in, I don't think the farewell speech is the time to bring up negativity.

jhack's picture

Tell one story about the departing employee that highlights one of their commendable traits (the time they worked late into the night to rewrite something, or the time a clever witticism restored morale at a tense moment).

Keep it short, stick to facts, and wish well.


Dani Martin's picture
Licensee Badge

Well said, John. In some instances, I have asked another staff person ahead of time if they would like to say something. For example, if the person leaving had been a long-time employee or if there was someone they were particularly close to.

The main thing is to be positive, upbeat and gracious no matter what. Someone (ok, it was Mark!) once told me it doesn't cost anything to be gracious and the benefits are huge. If the circumstances around the parting are at all tense, you can be sure all your directs know and will be watching you VERY closely. I'm not saying to act like you're suddenly best friends or anything. But sharing a particular achievement or positive story and sincerely wishing them well will make an impact on the rest of your team.

Good luck!

stephenbooth_uk's picture

Firstly, I'd say only give a farewell speech if you actually know the person who is leaving. It is truly cringe worthy to see some upper manager who has clearly never met the person try to give the farewell speech for someone who is leaving, especially if both have been with the organisation for some time. The speech should probably be given by their line manager or, if the line manager hasn't been in post long, a peer who knows them well (ask for a volunteer).

After that, remember the speakers adage: "Stand up, speak up, shut up."

Keep it short and sweet. Recognise how long they've been with the organisation, mention where they're going to, wish them well. If appropriate throw in a short anecdote or comment, ideally that casts them a positive light and makes them feel that they'll be missed. Make sure you've got a "Keep In Touch With" reminder in your calendar to drop them a line or a call to say Hi and see how they're doing

Something like: "As you all know Bob has worked for us as a project manager for just over three years. He's now decided to fly the nest to take up a programme director post with Blogs and Blogs. I'm sure we'll all miss Bob, in particular that lovely quiche he would bring to the pot luck lunches each month, and we wish him well for the future." Turn to Bob and shake his hand, "Good luck with Blogs and Blogs, I'm sure you'll be a great success for them. Thank you for everything you've done for us during your time here."


HMac's picture

Be professional. Be sincere. Be Seated.

If you can tell a good story which affects the groups ("Awwww!"), or get a reaction of applause for the honoree- then immediately raise your glass in toast, and SIT DOWN.