How to Write Retirement Messages for Longtime Employees

The number of Americans who are retiring is increasing as more Baby Boomers reach retirement age. Bloomberg reports in the last quarter of 2016, the number of retired Americans rose by 800,000, a figure that has been rising since 2011. At the same time, the New York Times reports many workers are choosing to work years after retirement age, with 8.4 percent of 75-year-olds and older continuing to work. Your business probably regularly has both people who are entering retirement, as well as older workers who continue to choose to work at your company for a little longer. When one of your employees decides to retire from your company, your business should be honored that worker has chosen to complete their work life with your brand.

Giving retirement awards should be part of your business strategy. You're recognizing retirees for their dedication to your company, with service awards for employees, you are showing other employees that you value loyalty and hard work, and you're creating positive sentiment for your business and others' view of your workplace culture. Personalized desk clocks or beautiful functional awards like glass vases give recipients a reminder of their time with your company when they see the award.

If you really want to make a lasting impact, pair awards with thoughtful retirement wishes. Writing genuine, kind retirement messages that convey true appreciation will leave a memorable impression on the retiree, who might serve as a future referrer for your company. A 2016 study found that 85 percent of job positions are filled through networking. Leaving those who are retiring from your business with retirement wishes can affect the type of talent that applies at your company in the future.

From what you engrave on a retirement plaque, to what you pen in a card that accompanies the award, make your retirement card messages one that recipients will treasure. Consider these tips if you're trying to figure out what to write in a retirement card:

Acknowledge the Time of Service

If a retiring employee has worked at your business full time, that means they've dedicated 40 hours a week to your company, times however many weeks they've worked for you, out of their lives. That's a significant portion! Working at your business makes a huge difference in the life of the employee. Recognizing their years of service in your note shows you paid attention to their time and care.

Convey How They've Grown

Whether you are their first and last employer, or they've been with your company for just a few years, there is likely some type of growth the employee has demonstrated while with your business that you can point out in their retirement wishes. Perhaps you've watched their interpersonal skills develop tremendously, or you've seen them rise up the ranks to obtain their dream position at your business. Pointing out ways you are proud of the retiree will make them feel like the time they spent at your company improved their overall life.

Point Out the Contributions They've Made

There are so many ways a professional can improve your business, whether it's through their amazing productivity or the way they positively impact your company culture with an always-on upbeat attitude. Tell retirees in your retirement card messages why your company will miss their presence, and acknowledge tangible ways they have strengthened your business. Describe how their work will continue to improve your business operations, even after they've retired.

Wish Them Luck for the Future

Just because they're retiring from your company doesn't mean they can't keep pursuing other goals. Retirement is exciting, but it can also be a time of uncertainty because it's such as significant life change. Show your continued support for whatever the retiree decides to pursue in the future by offering your best retirement wishes. Write retirement messages that convey that you believe in the retirees' potential because of the accomplishments they've achieved at your company.

Make It Personal, and Make It Public

A retirement awards message is made even more powerful when the person giving the award reads it out loud for other employees to hear. You can recognize retirees at a company-wide, annual awards ceremony, or carve out special time for recognition on the retiree's last day of work.

You can work on the retirement card messages as a team, getting input and descriptive examples of hard work and service from the retirees' co-workers. Using personal and unique examples in the message enhances the relationship between the retiree and your business, even after they leave.

Saying sincere words of thanks for retirees in a public setting makes them feel distinguished in front of their peers. You are also conveying to your entire staff that you are invested in your employees, you notice the effort they put into their work, and you care about their future not just in your company, but in retirement and beyond.