5 Ideas For A Meaningful Thank You Letter To A Retiring Employee (Tips and Examples)

Working is a large part of our lives.

We put our best years into a career that defines who we are and shapes us into who we become. 

At the end of that career, we get to that glorious and much anticipated moment: retirement.

It’s a long-awaited moment in life filled with both joy and sadness. 

As a co-worker transitions to retirement, you want to express your sentiments to them.

But where do you start? 

The best place is to write a simple retirement letter to an employee that is heartfelt and memorable.

How Do I Write a Retirement Letter to an Employee?

You can show how much a co-worker or employee meant to the company by putting your thoughts into words. A keepsake letter helps create a smooth transition for them and you. 

Here are some things to consider when writing a retirement letter:

  • The letter’s tone should reflect your relationship: friendly, professional, funny, etc.
  • Keep it concise and straightforward. The longer it gets, the less clear the message. 
  • Discuss a few of their attributes.
  • Talk about what they have done for the company professionally. 
  • Give praise. Think about the legacy that they will leave behind. 
  • State any hopes you have for them in retirement.
  • Be positive and happy for them.

Knowing what to say is just one part of retirement thank you letters. The next step is the structure of the letter.

Knowing how to make the letter flow well makes all the difference in saying what you intended. 

A general rule of thumb is to section the retirement letter into clear points that fit together.

retirement thank you letter 

Consider these structural flow samples when writing retirement thank you letters:

1. The salutation (Is Dear ___ appropriate or something else?)

2. The number of years they worked for the company, or you worked together.

3. What they have done well each day and over the course of their career.

4. Specific praise or achievement (could be a story).

5. What you have learned from the person personally.

6. Your hopes for their retirement and/or words of gratitude.

7. Complimentary close (Does “Sincerely ___” work or something else?)

5 Simple Thank You Retirement Letter to Employee Examples

The best way to begin writing a thank you retirement letter to an employee is to see a few samples.

Each example retirement letter below has a different tone based on your relationship with the person retiring. 

1. Thank You Letter To Employee From Boss or Team

Dear (Retiree’s name),

We have worked together for the last (x) years through some significant challenges. Whether facing demanding clients or pushing up against deadlines, I have always felt I could lean on you for your expertise. With each project, you truly embodied the definition of perseverance. 

It is not only your expertise that we will miss at (company name), but also your thoughtful nature. I cannot begin to count the number of times that other employees have shared with me how much you have helped them learn and grow. Dedicated employees like you have made our company a great place to work.

We all wish you the best in your retirement, as you have earned it. Know that we will miss you, and we will think fondly of your presence and remember the lessons you have taught us long after you’re gone.

Warm Regards,

(Name of boss and team) 

2. Thank You Letter To a Boss From Individual Employee

Dear (Boss’ name),

You have changed the way I think about our work. Your time here was more than a job to you, but a passion you brought into the office each day. Your attitude and the way you look at life showed me that what we do makes a difference in the lives of others. 

In the (x) years I have worked in (work type), I have never felt as respected and appreciated as you have made me feel. In turn, I have committed myself to this work and look forward to coming in each day. You have made an enormous difference in my life and the lives of everyone I work with. 

retirement thank you letter 

I am happy for you as you move into retirement. I’m sure you will find great satisfaction in the simplicity of each day. Know that we will miss you here, but we will continue the excellent work you inspired us to do. 

Enjoy it all!

(Employee name)

3. Thank You Letter From Individual Boss to Individual Employee

Dear (Retiree’s name),

I truly believe you to be one of the hardest-working people I have ever worked with. Your dedication day in and day out has been a huge asset to the company and an inspiration to me. No matter what was asked of you, you did it without error or any cause for concern. 

Your dedication to this company over the years has helped me to stay confident that we are delivering the best service possible to our clients. You are leaving us with a legacy of true devotion to quality work.

In the (x) years we have worked together, I have learned how important family is to you as well. Now, you move on to retirement and have the opportunity to spend your days close to those you love and do the things that bring you joy. I am so happy for you. 

All the best!

(Boss’ name) 

4. Employee to Employee Thank You Letter (Professional Tone)

Dear (Retiree’s name),

Thank you for coming into work each day with a smile on your face. We will miss your warm demeanor and personable nature after you leave. I always looked forward to working with you no matter the task we had on our plate. 

In the last (x) years we have worked together, I have learned so much from you personally and professionally. You taught me what it means to be both dedicated and well-organized, as you always made sure to get the job done to the best of your ability. 

As you depart after a long career, I want you to remember that you made a difference here. Your work ethic and your personality will be impossible to replace. 

I hope you enjoy every day of your retirement – you earned it.


(Co-worker name)

5. Employee to Employee – Friendly Tone

Hey (Retiree’s name),

This is it! You made it to the end of a long and successful career, and I’m so happy for you. 

I’m not sure what I’ll do without knowing that I can lean on you for support when things get tough. I will miss that positive and playful attitude that has put a smile on my face each day.

Getting to retirement is a huge success, but more than that, it’s a time to focus on what you want to do. I hope that you’ll do it all. Take on each day with the enthusiasm you brought into work for (x) years.

Get out and play every day with a child-like spirit and relax each night with your family close by. 

While you’re doing that, I’ll be here continuing to work. I will carry your knowledge and spirit into everything I do each day. 

I’ll miss you and think of you fondly for many years to come. Don’t be a stranger,

(Co-worker name) 

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How Do You Congratulate an Employee for Retirement?

A thank you letter to an employee when leaving a company is a great way to show how much they mean to you and the company.

By following the structure above and looking at the sample letters to a retiring employee, you can create retirement thank you letters that are both professional and heartfelt.

You don’t have to show your appreciation to a retiring employee in a letter only. There are many other ways to let the retiring employee know how much they mean to you and the company. 

Think about including one or two of the following in addition to an appreciation letter:

  • Give a gift that matters. Think about what the retiring employee may enjoy in retirement. 
  • Throw a party for the retiring employee at work or after work.
  • Have an experience together that the retiring employee will enjoy and close the office for a few hours. 
  • Donate to a charity or community organization in the retiree’s name.
  • Go out to an extended lunch as a whole staff on their last day. 
  • Fill a mason jar with slips of paper from each employee stating something they learned or find admirable about the retiring employee. 
  • Ask all employees to write a thank you letter to the employee when leaving the company. 

No matter what you choose to do, the goal is to celebrate the retiring employee’s accomplishments and this major milestone. 

Your words and actions matter to other people.

As long as you genuinely share your thoughts and celebrate the retiring employee, they will know how much they are appreciated. 

Express your years-long gratitude by learning how to write a retirement letter. We also provided examples of retirement thank you letter you can use.

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