Are you asking yourself – should I get my boss a retirement gift? Office politics and customs can be hard to navigate, and boss retirements don’t come along that often.
You may have worked with your boss for decades or less than a year. This event may be your first experience of workplace retirement.
Without previous experience, how do you decide what to do about a gift when the boss retires?
1. What is Everyone Else Doing?
Retirements of a long-serving manager or boss are a big deal in the workplace. Someone may be organizing a collection and a leaving party.
If you are relatively new to the organization or don’t work closely with the retiring boss, your obligations are now straightforward – contribute to the collection and write warm wishes on the enormous card that circulates before the big day.
2. Who is the Boss to You?
Your relationship with your boss is a crucial question when it comes to deciding on buying a retirement gift.
If you have worked closely with someone for decades, then you have a bond. You want to give a personal gift as a mark of your work and possible personal friendship.
If you’ve been buying your boss a birthday and Christmas gift, then a retirement gift is a natural extension of your normal gift buying relationship.
You may have only worked with your boss for a short period, but your boss has been your mentor. Now that they are retiring, it is an excellent opportunity to give a dual-purpose gift expressing your thanks for their support and assistance and your warm wishes for a long and healthy retirement.
Alternatively, you may not have a close relationship with your boss, perhaps an exchange of greetings in passing and the occasional operational meeting.
You will contribute to a joint gift but not need to give a personal token because you don’t have that sort of relationship with your boss.
3. How Much Should You Spend?
The main problem with any form of gift-giving is the financial cost. How much you can afford is undoubtedly a consideration, but the appropriate amount to spend on a gift needs attention.
In the workplace, spending an excessive amount on a personal gift will raise eyebrows. You need to pitch it within acceptable levels.
A token gift with thought and practicality is worth more to the recipient than a soulless expensive item!
If you give your boss a birthday and Christmas gift, then your budget is the same or up to twice as much for a retirement gift.
Otherwise, budget for the equivalent of a bottle of decent champagne as a maximum spend. A bottle of champagne is a generic retirement gift, but you can pay half that amount and still give an acceptable retirement gift.
The lowest amount for a token retirement gift is $10, and the maximum amount is $50 as a rough guide to reasonable retirement gift budgets for the boss.
Nothing stops you from combining with one or two co-workers for a personal gift outside of the mass company-wide collection.
4. When Do You Hand Over the Gift?
Typically, the last working day is when you hand over retirement gifts. How you achieve this varies – from leaving the present on the desk to a formal handover with speeches.
Your boss may have a retirement event for work on an earlier date than the leaving day or later.
Generally, the retirement event is not the place to deliver the gift unless you are invited to a mixed friends, family, and work colleagues’ event. In this case, you can hand over your present and good wishes at the retirement event.
In practice, no one is going to be offended over when you present a gift, but socially you may feel more comfortable with the last day at work tradition.
5. Does it Make a Difference if my Boss is a Man or Woman?
The straightforward answer is that the gender of your boss makes no difference in answering the question – should I buy my boss a retirement gift?
It does make a difference in the type of gift you end up buying the individual.
The gift market produces thousands of token gifts for women, attractively gift wrapped and suitable for all occasions. Finding a gift for a male boss provides more of a challenge.
6. What Makes a Good Retirement Gift?
The generic retirement gifts include flowers, chocolates, gift baskets (tea, coffee, bathing products), and bottles of wine, spirits, or champagne.
The next level of gifts includes personalized items like tea mugs, tea towels, clocks, and photo collections in a frame. Digital printing and small craft sellers give you plenty of choices to create a unique memento of working life.
Then there are token gag gifts that look at working life (escape from) or retirement (escape to) in a gently humorous way.
The next theme is mementos of working experience, and these will vary according to the profession. You can get cufflinks and pendants with many appropriate designs for any career.
Finally, welcome to the wonderful world of retirement – a gift of teas and a tea set for lazy afternoon tea in the garden or something to help them take up a new hobby like golf, fishing, or writing their memoirs.
Buying your boss, a retirement gift is a personal choice. If it feels right, then go ahead and buy a gift that will remind them of the time they spent with their work family and you.