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Acknowledge employees by holding “fake” retirement parties

In 2018, I did an entire series of  video blogs (33 in fact!) that focused on specific ideas to motivate employees.  But the fortunate reality is that the possibilities are endless.  Which is why I was so excited to learn about yet another tip just last week.  I was working with a group of leaders in a client organization, and one of them told me about this absolutely fantastic idea to acknowledge employees: “Hold “fake” retirement parties,” he said.  I was so intrigued, I had to ask him to explain further.

Hold “fake” retirement parties

Once a month or so, perhaps at your regular department meeting, set aside 15 or more minutes for a “fake” retirement party.  To understand what a fake retirement party is, you have to first ask yourself what usually happens at a retirement party.  Well, there are speeches about the departing person honouring and highlighting his or her strengths, accomplishments, and legacy to the organization.  Well, the fake retirement party is exactly the same thing, but it’s “fake” because the person isn’t actually leaving.  Instead, it’s an opportunity to acknowledge employees – their worth, their value, and their lasting legacy to your department or your company.

So for each fake retirement party, select one person who will be fake-retiring, and the rest of the team (including you) now have to put together 1-3 speeches that say exactly what you might have said if this person was actually retiring.  To really make this fun, go all the way and include food.  It doesn’t have to be anything fancy – it could be donuts, baked goods, or any kind of finger foods – just something to add to the “party” theme.  In many ways, this is similar to giving a eulogy when someone passes away, but much more upbeat.

The benefits are multi-fold

When you think about it, the benefits of fake retirement parties are multi-fold.  One, it’s certainly an opportunity to acknowledge employees for their contribution to your department or organization.  But it goes beyond that.  It allows employees to also tangibly see that they are appreciated by the co-workers.  And it creates an atmosphere of fun in the department.  All of which bode well towards creating highly-motivated team members.

So … what do you think?  Have you ever tried this?  Will you?  Do you see any pitfalls?  I’d love to hear your perspectives so please add your comments below.

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