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How do you say goodbye to colleagues when leaving a job?



How do you say goodbye to colleagues when leaving a job?


When I left my first full time position, I was told by many people that I should send them an "exit interview" letter instead of a resignation letter or firing notice.

I always thought this sounded like such overkill -- surely there's some way to write one simple note saying we're parting ways without making everyone feel awkward? Turns out there really isn't!

The rules around how you handle quitting a job can vary depending on where you live, but generally, if you want to be respectful to all parties involved (including yourself), you'll need to compose at least two different types of emails: One to inform your boss about why you're resigning from the role, and another to notify others who will continue working under you.

In almost every case, writing a good goodbye makes sense. It shows professionalism and respect while also giving your former employer enough information to find someone else to fill your spot. And even though these messages might seem pretty standard, they still come down to personal preference. Some people may prefer handwritten notes or long conversations rather than short emails, whereas other people may not mind using text as their medium of choice. You don't have to use both methods unless you'd like to share more details with your superiors about what happened during your departure. In most cases, however, sticking to formal language is ideal, especially because you never know which party will read your final missive.

So here are three common scenarios where sending a goodbye email comes into play. We've included general guidelines for each scenario below as well as sample letters to get you started. If you follow our suggestions, you won't leave any doubt in your reader's mind whether you intended to treat them kindly throughout your tenure together.

What is the best farewell message?

If you're going through a termination or retirement, you probably already have a firm grasp on what exactly needs to happen next. But if you're moving onto pastures new, you may need help figuring out the right words. That's why we recommend starting off strong with an effective exit letter. Here are several key points worth considering:

Tell them why you're doing it: Before you start drafting whatever sentence pops into your head, take a moment to think about what led to your decision. Explain why you decided to move on so your boss knows exactly why he/she shouldn't expect changes in future plans once you're gone. This gives him the opportunity to look elsewhere for answers and avoid feeling blindsided.

Don't try to convince them otherwise: When explaining to your manager why you're stepping away from your current post, resist the urge to tell her everything will turn out fine. Even if you believe your replacement has all the skills necessary to succeed, she doesn't necessarily agree. Tell your supervisor simply that you no longer see eye to eye on certain decisions, and let him decide whether those issues are deal breakers. He can either choose to accept your explanation and consider changing his opinion about your successor, or refuse to budge on his stance toward said person. Either way, you'll likely end up having a productive conversation regardless of the outcome.

Be honest: People often fear being judged negatively after announcing their intentions to switch jobs. The truth is, bosses aren't psychic; they usually assume you made the right decision because they didn't hear anything bad back. So keep things positive by emphasizing what you learned during your time working alongside them. Focus on your accomplishments and give credit where appropriate. Don't worry about mentioning mistakes you made — nobody expects perfection anyway. Just remember to remain truthful and objective, lest you risk coming across as petty or vindictive.

Tailor it for your audience: Since you're crafting this letter specifically for your previous boss, you'll obviously tailor it better for his preferences. However, you can expand upon the examples above to create an overall coherent idea. For example, telling your boss that you hope she finds happiness wherever she goes doesn't mean much until you explain what kind of relationship you had with her previously. Or maybe you worked closely with a department leader who handles payroll, and you value her input on financial matters. By including these specifics, you show your boss that you took care in selecting your successor. Plus, you open the door to further discussion between your old superior and her potential replacements.

Sample Exit Letter 1:

Dear [Your Boss' Name],

It’s difficult to express just how sorry I am to be departing your organization. Over the past year, I’ve valued our partnership immensely, and I regret letting you down in any way. My goal has been to provide guidance and support whenever possible, and I truly wish you nothing but success.

While I enjoyed developing relationships with individuals within various departments, I must admit that I did not fully commit to helping improve processes and procedures across the board. As a result, I’m afraid I wasn’t able to effectively communicate my ideas and recommendations to management. Though my goals were admirable, my actions disappointed you and ultimately hindered progress.

You deserve a lot better, and I apologize profusely for allowing myself to become distracted. With great pride, I assure you that I would gladly return to leading the finance group if given the chance.

Sincerely,

[YOUR NAME]

Sample Exit Letter 2:

To Whom It May Concern,

After careful consideration, I’ve decided it’s now time for me to pursue other opportunities. While I’d love to stay connected with the rest of the team, I realize it’s unlikely due to recent events. Therefore, the following is notification of my intent to retire from [Company].

My sincere apologies go out to all concerned. Please pass along my deepest gratitude for the opportunity to contribute to such a wonderful environment. Thank you again for welcoming me aboard, and please extend my warmest regards to [your name].

Regards,

[YOUR NAME]

Sample Exit Letter 3:

Dear [Boss]:

This letter is to officially inform you that I intend to retire from [company]. After meeting with HR, I realized that the timing couldn’t be worse. Unfortunately, I felt obligated to let you know personally since you played a huge part in my career growth thus far. Your dedication to fostering a friendly work environment helped shape me into the successful employee I became today.

Although I’ll miss seeing you frequently, I plan to relocate outside the area soon. Although I wouldn’t normally include specific reasons behind my sudden change of heart, I wanted to offer you a heads up regarding my successor. Because of her exceptional skill set and experience, I’m confident in recommending her for the same position. She’s currently looking forward to joining the team.

Best Wishes & Regards,

[YOUR NAME]

How do you speak in the last day of a company?

As mentioned earlier, your tone depends largely on your situation. A casual farewell works perfectly fine for coworkers who only occasionally interact, but you’ll want something stronger if you regularly talk to one another face-to-face. Regardless of whether you spoke daily or weekly, you should aim to maintain consistency. Whether via phone call, video chat, or in person meetings, stick to a regular schedule. Keep your tone upbeat and relaxed, and deliver your news with confidence. Of course, you can adjust the tone based on the circumstances surrounding your departure, but remaining consistent helps ensure you don't accidentally convey negative emotions.

Sample Goodbye Email 1:

Good morning [Name],

First, thank you very much for taking the initiative to reach out concerning your upcoming transition. I appreciate hearing from you directly and relaying important news to me.

With regard to my own pending departure, it’s unfortunate that we haven’t spoken recently. To be quite frank, I’ve found myself preoccupied lately with completing project milestones ahead of schedule. Now that I’m wrapping up this particular assignment, I’m hoping to spend more quality time with friends and family.

However, I understand that you may have additional questions beyond mine. Should you ever need assistance finding suitable candidates to replace my role, please feel free to contact Human Resources directly. They’re available Monday - Friday 9am - 5pm EST.

Again, thank you for reaching out. Looking forward to speaking soon.

Kind Regards,

[YOUR NAME]

Sample Goodbye Email 2:

Hi [Name],

Just wanted to touch base and check in with you regarding your upcoming change of employment. Hope you’re enjoying life away from corporate America.

Now that you’re settled in, perhaps you could spare a few minutes to answer a couple quick questions about transitioning into your new role. First, I’d love to learn more about your background and responsibilities. Second, I’d love to gain insight into typical challenges faced by employees in similar positions. Are there any recurring problems that you’ve experienced firsthand? If so, I’m sure we could address them sooner rather than later.

Please drop by my office tomorrow between 10am - 12 noon to discuss. Let me know if this date works for you. Otherwise, feel free to shoot me an email anytime.

Thanks again,

[YOUR NAME]

Sample Goodbye Email 3:

Hey [Name],

When we leave our jobs, there are always those few people who want or need an update from us about what's going next in our lives — good luck explaining that you're moving across the country without being asked questions like "where will you be working?"

And while most of us have been trained by bosses and managers throughout our careers not to go out of our way to seek updates from coworkers once they've moved on, many companies still expect employees to send farewells after quitting their positions. While this seems pretty standard practice, writing a nice note can feel awkward if you don't know how to approach it. Here are some tips to help you craft the perfect exit letter for any office colleague.



How do you thank a team for leaving the company?

If someone has worked hard over the years to get where he or she is at, chances are they'll appreciate a well-written email thanking them for everything they did during their time together. But keep in mind that this isn't just a one-way street: Thanking your boss (or whoever else) doesn't mean you should ignore other members of your workplace as well. A thoughtful message saying thanks to everyone can help ease tensions between two parties and show respect for both sides.

"It’s important that you acknowledge all of the different relationships you had within the organization," says Dr. Deborah Gilboa, founder of The Workplace Institute. "You might write something along the lines of 'I enjoyed getting to know so many great individuals here.' Or ‘I hope I was able to contribute positively to the overall success of the department.'"

A similar sentiment applies to sending a group email to inform your former teammates that you're gone. It may seem easier than addressing each person individually, but it's also more respectful of everyone involved. And although you probably won't hear back from every single person you used to interact with regularly, you'd be surprised at how grateful others may become for receiving an unexpected line from yours truly.

How do you say goodbye to office colleagues?

Whether you were an intern or a manager, there comes a point in your career when you start seeing names pop up everywhere you look. So it follows that even though you haven't seen certain people in a long time, they could very much appear again in your life one day.

That said, there's no rulebook for these situations and you shouldn't let etiquette dictate whether or not you reach out to old friends and colleagues after leaving a position. If you genuinely miss having someone around the office, however, you may find yourself reaching out to them simply because they helped shape your path to becoming who you are today. In addition to letting them know why exactly you left, this gesture shows appreciation for anything they contributed to your experience.

But if you've decided to move onto bigger things and aren't looking forward to hearing back from these folks anymore, you can try using a template email to explain the situation. One example would be a simple sentence such as: "Unfortunately, due to changes in my current role, I'm unable to continue contributing to the goals outlined above." This way, you can focus less on trying to come off strong and instead concentrate on expressing gratitude towards whatever roles these people played in your journey.

How do you say goodbye to the Office team?

Similar to the previous section, there are bound to be times when you're transitioning into new employment opportunities when dealing with a former employer. Whether you're starting a brand new gig or switching industries entirely, it's best to avoid making waves with your new bosses by keeping the past relationship cordial. That means showing appreciation for the support you received from your prior employers and stressing that you plan to stay focused on doing your best work wherever you end up.

This type of language works equally well for internal teams as well as external ones. For instance, if you previously managed several interns, you can use your first emails with incoming students to remind them how lucky they are to learn under someone as talented as you before encouraging them to stick around through graduation. You can then follow up with another email to reiterate your excitement about helping them achieve their full potential.

Alternatively, if you manage a small business, consider drafting a series of messages ahead of time to ensure you cover topics ranging from feedback to future collaborations. Then put together a list of recipients whom you think would benefit from reading them and schedule reminders to send out regular updates. Even if you decide to stop following up with people, staying connected via email lets clients know that you remain invested in the industry. Plus, it gives you peace of mind knowing you didn't forget to pay attention to them after you left.

What do you say to your team on your last day?

While you should never underestimate the importance of taking care of loose ends immediately upon finishing your shift, sometimes it takes longer than expected to wrap up projects and tasks. As a result, you may receive complaints about unfinished reports and projects that weren't completed during your tenure. Don't worry! Instead of ignoring these requests, take time to address issues with your outgoing staff right away.

To begin, draft a short eulogy highlighting your accomplishments during your time with the company. Next, pull out a pen and paper to jot down notes detailing what needs to happen now that you've exited the building. Keep track of deadlines, deliverables, and expectations until they're completely fulfilled. Afterward, ask your superiors to hold you accountable, especially since you likely won't see them again unless you decide to rejoin the company later on. Lastly, share these items with HR to expedite the process.

However you choose to handle it, remember that departing from a job requires plenty of planning and preparation. By giving proper notice and treating your colleagues respectfully, you'll set a positive tone for your next chapter while eliminating unnecessary drama.

Have something to add to this story? Share it in the comments.

If you're thinking about quitting your current gig, writing an effective "goodbye" note can be difficult — especially if you don't want to burn any bridges behind you. Thankfully, there's plenty of advice out there on how to craft the perfect farewell letter or message.

But what happens after that? How do you go from giving notice at one company to meeting new people at another organization without forgetting a soul along the way? According to LinkedIn data, many workers change jobs every year. And while some companies have policies in place designed to help employees transition smoothly into a new role, most others aren’t so kind. There may not even be someone around who can step up to fill your shoes at your old employer.

So here are our best tips for saying goodbye to coworkers when leaving a job. This guide will walk you through all aspects of this potentially awkward scenario: From sending a formal resignation letter to letting everyone know via email where they can find you once you leave. You'll also learn how to follow-up to let them know that you've found your next opportunity.

How do you say goodbye to your team when leaving a job?

There are three ways to send a departure memo to your entire staff before you move onto greener pastures: The first two involve using standard HR procedures or official communications tools like Outlook, Google Calendar, etc., but we recommend doing something handwritten because it adds more personal flair. If you need inspiration, check out these great examples below.

The easiest option is to use a template provided by an external source. For example, Human Resources (HR) departments often provide resignation letters as part of their onboarding process. In addition, popular sites such as eREITs, Career Builder, Monster, Glassdoor, Indeed, ZipRecruiter, Simply Hired, Vault offer sample emails that include information about severance packages, benefits, forwarding contact info, and other items. You just copy and paste those messages into a Word document or text editor, customize them to fit your situation, then hit Send!

Another approach is to draft your own resignation letter, which gives you more control over the tone and content. But keep in mind that you should still stick to industry standards regarding things like salutations and signatures. Remember, too, that although some states protect employee privacy rights, others require employers to disclose certain types of confidential documents. So depending on where you live, you might feel pressured to share sensitive internal information with your former boss.

Finally, consider creating a digital handover package that includes everything from performance reviews to training materials. Then, upload that file to a cloud service like Dropbox or Google Drive, and give each colleague access to view it. While this solution doesn’t allow for much flexibility, it makes sure that no crucial details end up lost forever.

How do you say goodbye to your team when you are leaving?

Once you’ve decided to take a break from working full time, it’s important to tell your co-workers that you won’t be available during specific hours. Although you may wish to maintain availability for emergencies, you probably shouldn’t expect regular updates from your replacement until he/she has had enough time to get acclimated.

When you inform your colleagues that you plan on taking a bit of downtime, try to avoid making sweeping statements like “I’m going back to school.” Instead, ask if they would prefer to speak with you directly about your plans instead of reading about them in the news. It’s always better to keep conversations open ended than to put unnecessary pressure on people. Plus, it's easier to update your status later if necessary.

Also, remember that your last day at work isn’t necessarily the same as your actual date of separation. Sometimes leaders extend offers to stay longer due to unforeseen circumstances, or managers decide to transfer positions within the company. Keep tabs on your calendar to see if anything changes down the line.

It never hurts to double-check whether your final day actually occurs on schedule. To confirm, reach out to HR and request the exact dates of your termination, including the reason why you were fired. Once you receive confirmation, notify your peers in advance by scheduling meetings with key players throughout the week leading up to your departure. That way, there’s less chance that key projects will fall through the cracks.


How do you say you are leaving a team?

After you’re done telling your superiors and subordinates that you’ll be moving on, it’s time to address the rest of your career network. Don’t forget to mention that you’re looking for opportunities outside of your current position. Your goal is to remain relevant after you resign or accept a new job. Mention the name of your previous company, but don't call attention specifically to yourself. Rather, focus on building relationships and highlighting the value you added to your new employer rather than focusing solely on your exit strategy.

For example, you could create a list of accomplishments based on feedback received from both your current and future bosses. Or simply state that you hope to continue serving your community in whatever capacity possible. Finally, don’t hesitate to thank your teammates for allowing you to contribute to their success.

Remember to keep your language professional and refrain from mentioning salary figures—that’s considered discriminatory behavior. However, you can certainly talk about monetary compensation if desired. And if you think there’s a possibility for negotiation, set expectations early with your potential successor. After all, a good reference can only benefit you in the long run.

Keep in mind that you can’t force people to hire you again. Therefore, if they decline your invitation, don’t fret. Just make sure you treat your parting words with respect and dignity. Even though you may not meet face-to-face anymore, keeping lines of communication open may prove beneficial in the near future.

And finally...how do I write a goodbye email to my team?

Since you now understand how to properly bid adieu to colleagues, it’s time to start drafting your goodbye notes. Here are several useful suggestions:

Start off by addressing your recipient(s). Consider starting your greeting with something simple like, “Dear Team Members,” followed by your name.

Next, briefly explain why you’re ending your tenure prematurely. Tell them exactly why you’re stepping away. Avoid vague explanations like, “My heart was pounding,” since it leaves room for interpretation. Also, make sure to stress that you didn’t intend to hurt anybody’s feelings.

Then, quickly summarize the highlights of your employment history. Share anecdotes about milestones achieved together, and reiterate what made you choose to join the company in the first place. Be mindful of sharing any negative experiences related to your job search. Focus on the positive parts of your relationship with your manager and colleagues, and highlight the lessons learned.

Lastly, remind people of your goals post-resignation. Ask them to hold you accountable for helping them achieve similar objectives. Remind them of skills gained under your leadership, and emphasize the value you contributed to the department overall. Lastly, wrap up your note by reiterating your gratitude towards your colleagues.


Author

Mathieu Picard

CEO, Anyleads, San Francisco

We are the leading marketing automation platform serving more than 100,000 businesses daily. We operate in 3 countries, based in San Francisco, New York, Paris & London.

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