How to say goodbye to a colleague? Like in different aspects of life, today we are here, tomorrow we might not be. Saying goodbye to a colleague who ends up becoming a friend is not easy. Sometimes, colleagues can leave us because they are going to start a new journey elsewhere, retire, get fired, or in the worst-case scenario, pass away unexpectedly or due to an illness.
Personal relationships at work are built upon an explosive mix of tension, shared goals, anecdotes, arguments, alliances, complicity… To carry out a company’s mission statement together is hard, and if lucky, it can also be very satisfactory. During that professional project, a certain type of affection is born, which unfortunately can be interrupted all of a sudden.
Sometimes, closing a chapter can happen from one day to another. This can happen if the person leaves all of a sudden or passes away unexpectedly.
How to say goodbye to a colleague who leaves the company?
1. Organize any pending tasks
If possible, take the time you need to finish any tasks you are working on together. It ‘s one thing to finish tasks in a hurry and another to do it at the last minute, leaving it in a mess.
Although your manager will make sure you do it, it’s good to take your own initiative to tie any loose ends and get any final help from your colleague who is leaving. Moreover, it is important to ensure the team’s productivity will not suffer due to their departure.
2. Remember the good times
The moment a colleague announces he or she is leaving, our mechanism for anecdotes, memories, and shared history as a team is instinctively activated.
Take some time to remember everything you have lived together. Enjoy those moments together, as they will be needed to celebrate your shared history and build a story together as a team.
3. Organize a farewell event
Don’t complicate it, it can be something simple. Make a tribute to the colleague who is leaving, leaving space for balance, gratitude, and best wishes for the future. Celebrate together for their future, for those who stay, and for everything you have shared. You can organize something in your office or even a farewell event where you can be in a casual environment.
4. Utilize their exit interview to improve
If everything goes well and you have enough time, your manager will set up an exit interview so they can evaluate the colleagues’ journey and any proposals for the future. This is probably a good opportunity to suggest any constructive comments to the colleague who is leaving so they can put them forward in their exit interview, remembering to comment on things that can help towards improving the work environment.
5. Create a space to remember the colleague
Use something or somewhere to create a space for your colleague’s legacy, or at least for some time. You could name a room, activity, or object after them. Place photographs of your team buildings in which the whole team is present, make a video call so you can catch up, even if it’s just for a couple of minutes.
Learn how to take care of a work environment with ifeel
These are just a few suggestions you can adapt to your company’s circumstance if you have a team, and of course more specifically if a colleague will be leaving at some point.
All of the above are actions that are born out of team cohesion, and at the same time, make it stronger, they contribute to a beneficial environment that creates a sense of belonging for employees. Take it on board or change the ones you don’t identify with. Remember the last thing you want is to regret not saying goodbye to your colleague the way they deserve it just because you weren’t sure of how you had to do it.
Ifeel has created an emotional wellbeing program for companies, designed by their team of expert psychologists to help companies put the care of their employees’ psychological wellbeing at the heart of their workplace culture and strategy to boost their productivity sustainably.
Thanks to this collaboration, human resources managers can receive personalized advice based on data about the main risk factors for the workplace environment for the employees. For example, how to deal with the departure of a colleague so the rest of the team can move forward without losing stability. This way, employees’ mental health is supported whilst preserving good conditions for optimal productivity.
In addition, the emotional wellbeing program for companies by ifeel offers a mental health care service that is structured at different levels according to their needs at any given time. Thus, employees can access different mental health care tools with ifeel’s app. They can also receive emotional support through a chat with one of the expert psychologists on our platform. If additional help is needed, they can also access level three support: online psychological therapy with a specialized psychologist for their specific case.
Get in touch today and request more information about the emotional wellbeing program for companies by ifeel.