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An employee who has been with me for over 4 years is leaving. It's not unexpected as this employee has simply outgrown our company.

What is an appropriate level of a parting gift for someone like this?

I'm the owner, smallish company, no policy exists. Consider this as trying to lay the ground work for one.

closed as primarily opinion-based by IDrinkandIKnowThings, DJClayworth, alroc, gnat, mcknz Oct 28 '15 at 19:44

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    I think this is really a personal opinion based on the particular relation you have with said employee. – DA. Oct 28 '15 at 14:39
  • I've never seen a "parting gift" given to a departing employee. – alroc Oct 28 '15 at 17:42
  • One of my teammembers recently left, and I got him a Raspberry Pi 2. He was a Linux hacker and already had a first-gen RPi, so that was welcomed. If anybody else would leave, I'm pretty sure I'd come up with a different present. One of the advantages of having a small company is that you don't need a policy for this. You can still treat your employees as individuals. – MSalters Oct 28 '15 at 18:49
  • I would only give a parting gift if I have some sort of closer relationship with the colleague. We gave our last parting employee something personal. He had a longtime project including a voice playback system. To test that he had a small mp3-File with a short poem which he played a lot. We gave him a tea cup (he drank lots) with the poem on it. – jwsc Oct 28 '15 at 18:55
  • @alroc - it's very common in some regions/industries. I've had a leaving present from every company I've ever left: whether that was from my boss, my peers, or a joint present from the whole company/team (depending on the scale of the company). All were either something personal (usually from in-jokes within the team or useful for my own life, for example my last was a voucher for a garden centre as I'd just bought a new house), or just something they knew I would enjoy. Value wasn't the point, but would have been in the range of around £50 by my estimate. – Jon Story Oct 29 '15 at 16:31
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We typically organize a farewell lunch for the employee (whose meal management pays for) and whomever they want to invite (typically the department and a few other friends, payng their own tab). Manglement will give a short "you've done all this great stuff and we hate to lose you but good luck" speech, anyone else who wats to speak will do so, and typically someone will have organized a card and collected donations toward a suitable memento. Formally informal.

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Find a local store that produces plaques and trophies, and give your employee a reward in the vein of "Outstanding Achievement". It's a great gesture and lasts longer than a lousy, hastily purchased gift-card.

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    This may be genuinely appreciated in the right environment but in most I think this would come across as shallow, clichéd and hackneyed. – Lilienthal Oct 28 '15 at 14:44
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Is a gift even necessary? If you worked closely with this person then letting them know that you're happy for them and you wish them the best, if said with sincerity, would go much further than nearly any gift.

If you're not close with this person then I think a gift of any sort would be weird.

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    A personal gift from a peer would be unusual unless fairly close, but a gift from a boss of ~4 years wouldn't be strange in many cultures. Usually just a small token (say £20 in value), depending on service length - for example one guy who really contributed to both the profitability and culture of my old company got a fairly expensive dish. More common in most areas is a group gift, where everyone puts in £2-5 or so to pay for a card and smallish present. – Jon Story Oct 29 '15 at 16:34
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I would suggest, since you indicate you are attempting to set a 'policy' or 'procedure' for future soon-to-be-ex-employees, make it both a corporate and a personal going away.

Decide on a standard going away corporate award. Perhaps as suggested, visit an award shop, and choose a simple wall plaque. Make it as expensive as you can easily budget in, figuring that this is not an everyday, or every month, occurrence. If your business is photo-genic, such as in a building or something, or if you have a sign or anything, you might consider making a photo the normal gift. I work for a government agency, and our building, which houses the agency (and only the one) has an official photo and that is used.

That takes care of the "official" part. Now comes the personal. For this, you either need know the individual (or have a contact who does, supervisor, coworker, etc) or make it generic. We would all like personal/personalized over generic any day. If your worker was an avid gamer, buy him a gift card expressly for his system (XBox, etc). Goes to the movies alot? A movie pack. Etc. If she is in to hiking, perhaps a card to a local outdoor shop.

A previous answerer commented on how bad gift cards are. I disagree. Buying a thing, ties the person into that thing. Buying a gift card, as long as it is personalized, enables the person to realize they were cared for, yet choose the thing themselves.

This personal gift doesn't have to be large, even a $20 card is useful. In our organization, all monies left over after the lunch we all contribute to is turned in to a card.

Being that the worker was with you for so long (unusual, under normal turnover circumstances) and appears to have been close to you, doing this personal part shouldn't be an obstacle. Doing the 'corporate' part as well, enables you to re-use this as a 'process' for the future.

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Farewell team lunch. In addition, consider a small framed photo of the town or a pretty landmark close to the office (or photo of the downtown or some other city landscape) as a tangible gift, inexpensive and neutrally memorable yet relatively unique/custom 'little something' ((since framed photos by local photographers tend to be issued in limited batches).

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