Organizational Wellness

How to Choose Retirement Gifts that Show Employee Appreciation

Jun 25, 2024
Last Updated Jun 25, 2024

You often read about the importance of recruitmentonboarding, and retention in the quest for organizational success, but what about retirement? 

When someone retires, it's a chance for companies to show their appreciation and recognize that person's contributions. That's why picking the right retirement gift can have such an impact.

A meaningful present brings fulfillment and helps create a positive company culture. It's also a way to boost employee morale, improve brand reputation, and make everyone feel valued.

If you want to delight outgoing staff while demonstrating your commitment to wellness, keep this list of gift ideas in mind for your next retirement.

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Personalized Gift Ideas

You can make anything more special by customizing it. Personalizations represent the extra time, thought, and commitment that went into a gift.

Commission Original Art

Commissioning an artist to create an original piece—whether it represents a person, achievement, interest, or personality—is a terrific retirement gift idea. Some variations could include:

  • Self-portraits and caricatures
  • Video reels and short movies
  • Memory quilts 
  • Digital art collages 
  • Dedicated websites
  • Landscape or situational paintings

Singular Gifts

You can customize any item with a name, message, meaningful quote, or inside joke incorporated into it. It could be an engraving, embossing, etching, or simple monogram—the personal touch makes a gift meaningful. Here are some ideas of what to personalize:  

  • Robes
  • Knives
  • Jewelry
  • Journals
  • Briefcases
  • Fountain pens
  • Cutting boards 
  • Leather wallets
  • Bags and luggage

Create Custom Experiences

You can even choose experiential gifts to match your employees' quirks and preferences. Some unique activities could be:

  • Special hobby workshops
  • Personalized online cooking or exercise classes 
  • Exclusive backstage access to a game, concert, or event
  • Private, guided tour of a particular location
  • A pet-sitting service to allow for more travel time

Experiential Gift Ideas

Some people value doing things more than having physical objects.

Engaging in different pursuits also helps retirees explore new interests and stay active. Gifts that provide experiences that focus on leisure can even support adaptation and wellbeing in retirement

Here are a few ideas to consider:

  • Travel vouchers: If a retiring employee has been talking about travel, vouchers from agencies or airlines will give them a reason to get excited and start planning a trip. 
  • Classes: Whether it's a new language, cooking, pottery, yoga, painting, or photography, enroll employees in classes they've always wanted to try to encourage continued learning.
  • Relaxation retreats: Prepare employees for the next chapter of their lives by sending them on a wellness retreat or spa weekend to relax and rejuvenate.
  • Concert or event tickets: Send them to a concert, show, or to watch a sports team they love to create a special memory they'll always associate with retiring. 
  • Wine and whiskey tasting tour: If your retiree is an oenophile (wine lover), arrange a guided wine tasting at a local vineyard. If they're a whisky connoisseur, choose a distillery instead.
  • Adventure experiences: Activities such as hot air balloon rides, skydiving, or scuba diving are perfect for those looking for adventure.
  • Subscription to cultural institutions: Gift a membership to museums, theaters, or botanical gardens for anyone looking to expand their cultural exposure.

Practical Gift Ideas

Depending on who's retiring, you can also consider functional and useful gifts. 

  • Financial planning services: Help your staff budget for their retirements by hiring a financial planner.
  • Fitness gear: Equipment such as a stationary bike, treadmill, dumbbells, or all-in-one exercise machines will allow them to stay fit in retirement.
  • Hobby kits: If they're into gardening, painting, knitting, scrapbooking, or woodworking, consider high-quality tools and accessories to encourage their hobbies.
  • Subscription services: Memberships to services like Netflix, Audible, National Geographic, or meal-kit delivery are handy for retirees who live alone. 
  • National parks and recreational lands pass: If they love the outdoors, grant recently retired employees lifetime access to over 100 parks and federal recreational sites, giving them plenty to explore in their twilight years.

Retirement Gifts for Women

Here's a list of gifts likely to resonate more with female employees:

  • Spa gift basket: High-quality skincare, relaxation, and beauty products are excellent for at-home pampering.
  • Personalized jewelry: Customize bracelets or necklaces with meaningful engravings to make them more memorable.
  • Book club membership: An activity historically popular with women, a subscription to a book club is great for those who love to read.
  • Session with a personal stylist: Help create a fresh look for retirement by offering a session with a stylist.
  • Sherpa slippers: Cozy and comfortable slippers are ideal for relaxing at home.
  • Sterling silver retirement compass necklace: A classic choice, this stylish piece has traditionally symbolized new journeys.

Retirement Gifts for Men

If you're specifically looking for something suitable for men, here are some ideas:

  • Tech gadgets: Between smart home devices, tablets, fitness trackers, e-readers, noise-canceling headphones, drones, Bluetooth speakers, and VR headsets, there's no shortage of tech gadgets attractive to many men. 
  • Golf accessories: If they're into golf, high-quality clubs or a course membership will hit the mark.
  • Fishing gear: A new fishing rod, tackle box, lure set, pair of gloves, or waterproof gear will thrill the angler in your soon-to-be ex-employee.
  • Camping gear: Nothing makes an outdoorsman want to get into the wild like new camping gear such as a fancy tent, sleeping bag, air mattress, portable stove, or rocking chair.
  • DIY kits: Some men prefer to be more active. DIY tools and materials will keep them busy with projects like home improvements after retirement.
  • Sports memorabilia: If you know a sports fanatic, an autographed jersey or other memorabilia from their team can be added to their decor as a special retirement gift. 

Tips for Selecting a Meaningful Retirement Gift

Now that you've got the ideas, here are some tips on choosing the perfect gift: 

Know Your Employees 

Take the time to get to know who's working for you! From personality and preferences to hobbies and beliefs, the better you understand your staff, the easier it will be to choose a retirement gift that resonates with them when the time comes. 

Here are a few ways to get to know your employees:

Get Input from Colleagues

Even if you have a great relationship with your staff, remember you're still their boss! 

That means there could be things they might not always share with you—for example, a passion for chess, woodworking, bird watching, manga, or Pokemon! That's why it's also a good idea to talk to other colleagues and gain insight before committing to a gift.

Focus on Practicality and Quality

The best gifts are the ones people actually use. They are more likely to have an impact since they will be more than just a trinket on a shelf. Before making a purchase, ask yourself: Is the person you're giving this to likely to use it? 

Also, don't skimp on quality if you're gifting a tool, gadget, or service. High-quality products last longer and represent the genuine care that went into the process. 

Make It a Surprise 

Not everyone likes surprises, but in the form of meaningful retirement gifts, they're a safe bet.

Taking the time to plan a surprise present reflects your appreciation for the person retiring. It also makes the moment more special and shows a genuine commitment to employee recognition.

Build a Stronger Team by Appreciating Outgoing Employees

Retirement is a big deal. It marks the end of a career and the start of a new chapter. While retirement parties are common in many organizations, the gift often represents an employee's value to a company. 

The perfect retirement present shows appreciation to the person leaving while signaling to others that you're paying attention. It's a gesture of genuine gratitude, a sign of respect, and a demonstration of your company's commitment to everyone's wellbeing.

Wellhub helps you take care of your employees from day one through retirement. Speak with a Wellbeing Specialists to see how comprehensive wellness support can help your company thrive! 

Company healthcare costs drop by up to 35% with Wellhub! (* Based on proprietary research comparing healthcare costs of active Wellhub users to non-users.) Talk to a Wellbeing Specialist to see how we can help reduce your healthcare spending!

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Wellhub Editorial Team

The Wellhub Editorial Team empowers HR leaders to support worker wellbeing. Our original research, trend analyses, and helpful how-tos provide the tools they need to improve workforce wellness in today's fast-shifting professional landscape.


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