Retirement Awards Ideas: Gifts & Ideas to Recognize Retiring Employees | Edco Awards
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Retirement Awards Ideas: Gifts & Ideas to Recognize Retiring Employees

Retirement award ideas

Retirement is a truly once-in-a-lifetime occasion, and when you give it the recognition it deserves with personalized trophies or other awards, you make it even more special.

It’s become a common saying that employees just don’t stay at their jobs for a long time anymore and that the days of pensions, tenure, and a lifetime at the same company are long past. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average employee has worked at their current job for just 4.6 years.

Although that does rise as employees get older and settle into their careers: workers at age 65 or more have been at their current job for about 10.3 years – that’s a very long time by today’s standards!

In fact, it’s estimated that around 10,000 baby boomers reach retirement age every day. When these workers retire, they deserve to be recognized with personalized trophies to thank them for their service.

The Importance of Recognizing Retirees

Thirty-four percent of companies have a retirement awards program, according to studies. Retirement awards go hand-in-hand with years of service programs – and 85% of companies have those! The retiree who is being honored is often a long-time employee who has dedicated many years of hard work to the company.

Here are a few reasons why it’s important to do recognition awards for retirees:

  • End on a high note: By honoring retiring employees with recognition awards, you provide them with a memorable and positive end to their careers. This not only solidifies their positive experience at your company but also promotes a sense of dedication and loyalty. Recognizing their hard work and commitment demonstrates that their contributions were valued and appreciated.
  • Promote employee referrals: When retirees feel appreciated and celebrated, they are more likely to speak positively about their experience at your company. This, in turn, can lead to valuable employee referrals. Happy retirees may recommend your organization to potential job candidates, contributing to a positive employer brand and attracting top talent.
  • Foster a positive company culture: Recognizing retiring employees with awards contributes to a positive company culture. It sends a clear message to the entire workforce that you value and appreciate the long years of dedication and service put forth by employees. This recognition not only boosts the morale of retirees but also motivates existing employees to strive for similar recognition in the future.
  • Inspire loyalty and commitment:When retiring employees witness their colleagues being recognized and celebrated, it instills a sense of loyalty and commitment within them. This positive reinforcement can help establish a strong bond between the company and its employees, even after retirement. Retirees may continue to be brand ambassadors and maintain a positive connection with your organization, leading to potential networking opportunities and business collaborations.
  • Enhance employer branding:By highlighting your commitment to recognizing retiring employees, you enhance your employer branding efforts. Prospective employees who see that your organization values and appreciates long-term dedication are more likely to view your company as an attractive and supportive workplace. This can positively impact your recruitment and retention efforts.

What To Consider When Choosing an Employee Recognition Award for a Retiree

For most companies, there will come a time when a dedicated employee will decide to retire. Most will never ask for it, but nothing makes a retiree feel more valued than a proper send-off. It may hurt initially to lose such a great worker, but showing respect and appreciation during their transition goes a long way. If you aren’t sure about how to properly thank them for all of their hard work, EDCO offers many different trophies, awards, and plaques to help recognize employee dedication and commitment before retirement.

  1. Give them something to remember.

A great way to make a retiree feel important is to give them some sort of physical reminder of your appreciation. A recognition award, trophy, or plaque is a great way to show your appreciation. If you feel it is appropriate, you can even add a custom engraving to make it more personal. Include wording that indicates an appreciation for the value they brought to the company. When you present the award, take a few quality photos. This can also be gifted later to remember their special moments. You never know what will end up on their mantle.

  1. Find out their numbers.

Most employees that are planning to retire have spent a number of years working for the company. It would be a great idea to find out the exact number of years they've been there (brownie points for knowing their start date). Recount any major milestones they contributed to or achieved on their own. Find out how many new employees they trained, how many sales they made, their production numbers, or that huge merger they were so crucial during. This information could be put on an award or mentioned in a speech to show them they matter.

  1. Consider your company's culture.

When thinking of how to send off a retiree, especially if you are considering a party, think of the culture within your company. A smaller company would probably enjoy a potluck during lunch. A bigger, more corporate company may do a small catered lunch. Maybe a more formal after-hours office event would be better. Would it be more fitting to take a moment from a bigger company event, like a picnic or holiday party, to commemorate them? Think about what would be appropriate within your office without seeming too over the top or like you did not care at all. This is also a great time to be able to present them with their engraved award in front of the whole company.

Showing appreciation for long-time employees is a wonderful practice. Not only does it show that you are a caring employer, but it boosts morale for other workers. It shows the retiring employee and current employees that their company cares for all their hard work.


Ideas and Types of Retirement Awards


Art Glass

It wasn’t until the enactment of the Social Security Act in 1935 that retirement became a real possibility for millions of Americans. This is when retirement awards came into being. Now, companies award retirees with:

Artistically inspired, art glass awards are made from glass and accented with crystal, marble, stainless metal, and ebony wood to create beautiful timeless gifts for your retiring employees. These awards come in a variety of different shapes including:

Crystal Awards

EDCO crystal awards are built with K9 optical crystal and feature multi-faceted designs that bend like to create the most beautiful, colorful prisms for a jaw-dropping presentation. Gifting a crystal award to a retiring employee will solidify a perfect ending to their career.

These crystal retirement awards come in a variety of different shapes including:


Gifting a plaque award is a perfect way to say thank you and recognize a retiring employee. They are easily displayed and can fit a list of milestones and career achievements.

Glass Awards

A custom engraved glass award is a fantastic way to say thank you to your retiring employee. They will be able to display this beautiful piece at home and surely attract the attention of their family and friends.


Nothing signifies time dedicated to a company like a clock award. These sophisticated awards are not only beautiful but also useful and can be engraved with names and messages to your retiring employee:


Hand-blown from the finest European and Oriental crystal, vases are a great parting gift for your retiring employee. They can be engraved and made in a combination of eye-catching, beautiful colors:


Trophies come in all shapes, sizes and are made out of a variety of materials. These types of gifts are a fantastic choice for a retiring employee as they can be engraved and signal the end of a successful career.

Years of service and retirement recognition programs encourage company loyalty and create a positive company culture. In fact, more than half of managers view their programs as an investment rather than an expense! And when you give memorable, personalized awards that the retiree will treasure forever, everyone wins. Here are the best ideas to make your retirement recognition program one of a kind – just like your retiree.

Review the rest of our retirement awards here.

How to Create Meaningful Recognition Awards

Your employees don’t just want on-the-spot verbal recognition – they want to feel valued and appreciated. The way to do that is through meaningful recognition awards, which should be:

retirement awards
  • Connected to your brand: Recognition awards should always have your company name and logo on them, but connecting them to your brand goes even further. Choose to reward accomplishments and traits that match your company values and your business goals.
  • Equal among all employees: Give awards to all departments and all levels of employees. Always reward the same achievement with a similar recognition award. For example, even something as simple as giving a plaque to employees who reach five years of service can create a meaningful program in which having a plaque in your office becomes a symbol of pride.
  • Personalized: You can’t give out “bragging rights” with the company logo printed on a coffee mug or a generic free T-shirt. Effective recognition awards have the employee’s name, accomplishment, and a short message about why they are so valued. The recipient can put them on the wall or a shelf and make them a conversation piece – one that they love to talk about.
  • Presented publicly: The most effective awards are given in front of others. You don’t have to have an elaborate ceremony – although that can boost morale even more. Something as simple as giving out custom awards for years of service or recent achievements at a company-wide meeting is ideal.

Once you have your strategy down, the last step is to pick your awards! Here are a few ideas for memorable custom awards your team will love.

Examples of Types of Retirement Awards


Years Of Service Awards

retirement awards

Recognizing service, loyalty and hard work with a stunning Years of Service Award is a great way to praise the retiring employee and demonstrate their dedication to the company.

  • Crystal 5 Years of Service Award: Acknowledge the dedication and commitment of your employee who has reached the 5-year service milestone with our remarkable Crystal 5 Years of Service Award. Meticulously crafted from optical crystal, this award showcases the number 5 elegantly elevated on a beautifully designed base, featuring your company logo and a heartfelt congratulatory message. Celebrate their achievements and express your appreciation for their valuable contributions over the past five years with this exquisite award.
  • Crystal 10 Years of Service Award Honor your retiring and loyal employee with our stunning custom-etched Service Awards. Constructed from pure optical crystal, this award features the number 10 elevated on top a deeply beveled base showcasing your company logo and congratulatory message.
  • Crystal 15 Years of Service AwardHonor your retiring employees with our custom etched 15 Years of Service Award. Constructed from optical crystal, this award features the number 15 of years elevated on top a deeply beveled base showcasing your company logo and congratulatory message. Deliver a message of excellence and add a touch of the WOW factor by recognizing 15-Years of Service with class and style.
  • Crystal 20 Years of Service Award: Honor your retiring employees with our stunning Crystal Service Awards. Produced from optical crystal, this award features the number 20 elevated on top a deeply beveled base showcasing your company logo and congratulatory message.
  • Crystal 25 Years of Service Award: Honor a quarter-century of loyalty and exceptional service with our prestigious Crystal 25 Years of Service Award. Crafted from optical crystal, this awe-inspiring award presents the number 25 atop an intricately designed base, providing a prominent display for your company logo and a personalized congratulatory message. Recognize the retiree's remarkable milestone and extend your gratitude for their unwavering dedication throughout the past 25 years with this remarkable keepsake.
  • Crystal 30 Years of Service Award: Celebrate the remarkable achievement of 30 years of service with our distinguished Crystal 30 Years of Service Award. Constructed from optical crystal, this award prominently features the number 30 atop an intricately detailed base, allowing you to showcase your company logo and a heartfelt congratulatory message. As you bid farewell to the retiring employee, let this exquisite award stand as a testament to their three decades of unwavering commitment and invaluable contributions to the organization.
  • Crystal 35 Years of Service Award: Mark an extraordinary milestone of 35 years of service with our exceptional Crystal 35 Years of Service Award. Crafted from optical crystal, this awe-inspiring award showcases the number 35 atop a beautifully designed base, providing a prominent platform for your company logo and a personalized congratulatory message. Recognize the retiree's immense dedication and outstanding achievements over the past 35 years with this remarkable keepsake, a testament to their lasting impact on the organization.

Custom Award Plaques

Award plaques are a classic form of recognition for good reason: they’re versatile, quickly customized and easy to transport and display. While they might make you think of traditional styles like wood frames with inlaid engraving, there are actually many different varieties available, and some are ideal for executives and for occasions like promotions.

Plaques are a great choice if you have a lot of custom awards to give out. They typically have more space for you to write your message, so you’re able to create a more personalized experience for each recipient, while still getting the cost savings of placing a bulk order. They’re cost-effective yet professional and will occupy a place of honor on any office wall.

Distinctive Recognition Awards

Give a custom award that’s personalized to match the recipient’s style – and that’s premium quality. Your honoree will only receive these singular awards once in a lifetime, making them the most valuable of all.

  • Leadership Trophy: If your retiring employee occupied a leadership position and continuously demonstrated their skills as a leader in the company, then recognize them with a special leadership award for their retirement.
  • Sales Award: Is your retiring employee a sales guru? Did they constantly outperform and set a new benchmark for the company? Gift them a unique sales award for their retirement to display at home!
  • Teamwork Award: Reward your retiring employee with a teamwork award and signal your appreciation for their dedication to team building and development.
  • Optical Crystal Awards: Optical crystal is made from several different elements that lend it a clarity that is even greater than glass. Precision-cut and polished, then engraved with abrasive etching techniques, these are the highest-quality recognition awards you can get.
  • Barware: Lifestyle gifts are not only useful, they show that you know what your recipient likes. A personalized decanter, scotch set, wine glass set or pitcher is a memorable custom award that is much more than a gift.
  • Art Glass Awards: Art glass awards are hand-blown, which creates a pattern of bubbles and molten glass unique to each piece. These vibrant recognition awards can be created in a variety of shapes, from flames to wings to abstract works of art.
  • Excellence Award: Choose our stunning Chairman's Excellence Award to honor your top performers. This refined obelisk design is truly a masterpiece constructed entirely from the highest quality optical crystal. Your company logo and message will be deep etched into the award's two imprint locations as pictured. Choose this award to bring the wow factor while recognizing someone. A perfect choice for service, leadership and retirement accolades.
  • Woman of Achievement Award: Original and beautiful, the Woman of Achievement Award is sure to win the hearts of all recipients. Combining crystal and chrome, this magnificent recognition piece is one of our finest designs celebrating successful women in business.

Congratulate and inspire your staff. Employees will love to proudly display these beautiful awards for many years to come. Service awards do wonders in minimizing turnover and increasing productivity and EDCO Awards deliver on excellence, style and durability. Shop now and receive free engraving, rush service and free shipping anywhere in the USA!

It takes time and thought to find and design the perfect custom award. But in the end, the effort you put into creating recognition awards that are more than gifts is worth it. Your employees will be thrilled to receive a keepsake that values them as an individual, and you’ll get the benefits of a better company culture and increased retention.

How to Personalize Retirement Awards

When it comes to retirement awards, personalization is key to creating a memorable and impactful recognition experience. Here are some important factors to consider when personalizing retirement awards:

  • Personalized Messages: To make a lasting impression, it's essential to include a heartfelt and personalized message on the retirement award. Taking the time to write a thoughtful message that acknowledges the retiree's specific accomplishments, contributions, and personal qualities will demonstrate your genuine appreciation. Avoid generic phrases and instead focus on highlighting their unique journey and the impact they've made during their tenure.
  • High-Quality Materials: Retirement is a significant life event, and the award should reflect the importance of the occasion. Opt for high-quality materials like optical crystal, art glass, fine clocks, or barware. These premium materials not only enhance the aesthetic appeal of the award but also convey a sense of prestige and value, underscoring the retiree's exceptional achievements.
  • Unique: Each retiring employee is unique, and their retirement awards should reflect their individual personalities and preferences. To achieve this, take the time to get to know your employees on a personal level. Consider their hobbies, interests, and passions when selecting or customizing the retirement award. This personalized touch will show that you value them as individuals and have taken their personal preferences into account.

Additionally, don't forget to make the retirement celebration a memorable event:

  • Organize a Retirement Party: Throwing a retirement party is an excellent way to honor the retiree and create a shared experience for the entire organization. A retirement party boosts morale and provides an opportunity for colleagues to express their well-wishes and create lasting memories. Celebrating the retiree's accomplishments and contributions in a festive atmosphere reinforces a positive company culture and highlights the significance of their retirement.
  • Leave on a High Note: A retirement party allows the retiree to leave the company on a high note, surrounded by colleagues and friends who appreciate their achievements. By celebrating their departure, you not only show gratitude for their service but also create a positive final impression that can contribute to their overall job satisfaction and potential referrals to your business.

Remember, personalizing retirement awards and organizing a retirement party are essential elements in creating a meaningful and memorable experience for retiring employees. By demonstrating your genuine appreciation and celebrating their achievements, you foster a positive company culture and strengthen employee engagement both during and after their tenure.

Personalized Award Ideas for Retirement

The wheels are in motion for your retirement party, and now it’s time to pick out your personalized trophies and awards. Will you choose a bright color for the “colorful” personality, or perhaps a work of art for the creative type? Here are our favorite ideas, complete with engraving.

retirement awards

Add Some Color

Color makes personalized trophies “pop” even more – especially when you use your company colors and logo. Check out the Exemplary Red Crystal Award for a handsome pyramid shape Or, go for the Crystal Legacy Full Color Award: If you want your logo or any other image, you can choose the image you want, and we’ll digitally print it and insert it right into the trophy!

Company Logo

Presented to [Name]

Congratulations on a

Well-Deserved Retirement

retirement crystal award

Give a Work of Art

Art glass awards are hand-blown, so each one is truly one-of-a-kind. From spirals to flames, the shapes are unique and created in bright colors that will stand out in any display case or on any shelf. At 17 inches high, the Expression Art Glass Award is one of our tallest personalized trophies, making for an impressive exchange at your awards ceremony. The Vulko Flame Art Crystal is another visually striking option – the deeply colored flame changes from purple to blue, depending on the light!

 In Recognition of a

Lifetime of Service

Congratulations, [Name]

Month XX, Year

eagle awards

Give a Symbolic Eagle Award

If there was ever a time to present an award shaped like the bird representing freedom, courage, and integrity, retirement is that time. You won’t find a personalized award more magnificent than the Soaring Crystal Eagle Award, which shines atop a large crystal base that leaves plenty of room for engraving. Want a timeless design? Go for the bronze-finished Ferocity Eagle Award. We hope your retiree has room on their shelves – it has a 15-inch wingspan!

Soaring Into Retirement

[Employee Name]

XX Years of Service

Or Go a Different Route: Other Engraved Gift Ideas for Retiring Employees

Retirement is a great time to get creative and give a unique gift that really shows how much you’ve gotten to know your coworker over the years. These are some of our most popular awards, along with the best engraving ideas for each one.


monogrammed decanter retirement

Monogrammed Scotch Decanter Set

A monogrammed decanter set makes a classy addition to any bar – and is sure to get some use in retirement!

Decanter engraving:

Name of their favorite scotch!

Glasses engraving:

Company logo


monogrammed decanter retirement

Essence Domaine Red Wine Set

Not everyone likes scotch – we have the perfect gift for the wine drinker at your company, too!

Decanter engraving:

Retirement Bound

Glasses engraving:

Last Day of Work, Month XX, Year

Captains clock award for retirement gift

Captain’s Clock

For the retiree who plans on doing some world traveling, this clock is portable and gorgeous. Open it up to read the time – and the thoughtful inscription.

Inside engraving:

Company Logo

XX Years of Service

Bulova Vantage Clock award for retirement gift

Bulova Vantage Clock

Bulova has been making quality clocks since 1875, and this elegant timepiece is sure to be displayed with pride.

Plate engraving:

For a Lifetime of Service

Name of Retiree

Month X, Year – Month X, Year

Crystal Rocket Trophy award for retirement gift

Crystal Rocket Trophy

Celebrate a special accomplishment with our stunning Crystal Rocket Trophy. This unique accolade can be used to recognize employees for special achievements, leadership and much more.

Plate engraving:

Name of Retiree

XX Years of Service

Olympic Torch Crystal award for retirement gift

Olympic Torch Crystal Award

Award the stunning Olympic Torch Crystal to celebrate a truly special accomplishment. This accolade is frequently used in the corporate world to celebrate success, leadership, employee service and retirement.


Company Logo

XX Years of Service

Cobalt Crystal Trophy Cup award for retirement gift

Cobalt Crystal Trophy Cup

Choose our beautiful Cobalt Cup to celebrate someone special. Your congratulatory message will be deeply etched into the crystal and filled with silver paint for a stunning presentation.


Company Logo

Name of Retiree

In recognition of X years of commitment and dedication

Bud Vase award for retirement gift

Bud Vase

Choose our exquisitely crafted Crystal Bud Vase to honor your retirees, graduates and top performers. This is the perfect item to give congratulations with on the day of their retirement, graduation or another special occasion.


In Appreciation for all your outstanding dedication & service

Retiree name

Company Logo

Faceted Sailboat Crystal  award for retirement gift

Faceted Sailboat Crystal Award

Choose the stunning Faceted Crystal Sailboat to recognize achievement and leadership. This versatile award is commonly used to recognize sales achievement recognition, leadership as well as service.



Company Logo

Retiree Name

Thank you for converting our mistakes into lessons, pressure into productivity, and skills into strengths

When it’s time to recognize the milestone of retirement, don’t miss your chance to make the most of it. Retirement is the perfect time to choose personalized trophies that will make an impression and show how much you appreciate your employees.

Find more Retirement Award Ideas here!

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