There is no doubt about it, ending an employee relationship is an emotionally difficult process, regardless of the reason why. Just remember to stay respectful the entire time – and keep in mind a few other tips and tricks – in order to make it as pain-free as possible. Doing so will help all parties involved best start a new chapter.

There are many reasons why a company may ultimately decide that the best course of action is to let an employee go. This is undoubtedly a difficult decision, and can be a particularly difficult process for the manager who has to deliver the news.

With any tough and upsetting conversation, it can be hard to find the “right” time. Chances are, everything will feel wrong. Maybe it is too close to a holiday or company trip. Even choosing the best day of the week can be heavily debated.

The fact of the matter is, there is no right or wrong answer. At the end of the day, it will come down to a judgment call. The best thing that you can do is pick a date and time, and stick with it no matter what else happens. Just make sure that you check with your legal team to ensure that you are sticking to a proper procedure and protocol.

For example, this meeting should always take place with the team member and an HR representative. It is best to schedule this conversation ahead of time. And while this will probably result in some anxiety, this means that the employee will likely be able to anticipate what is about to happen and mentally prepare. Springing a surprise meeting on them could feel like it is coming out of nowhere and result in the employee acting defensively or erratically. You want to ensure that everyone is walking into the conference room with a clear head on his or her shoulders.

Throughout the tenure of all of your employees – and even at this difficult stage – it is important that you continue to treat each and every one with respect. People’s paths often cross more frequently that you may expect, and helping a terminated employee maintain their dignity is important for the reputation of your management team and the organization as a whole.

After the meeting, allow the employee to gather their personal items and say some goodbyes. Try not to hover during this time, as it will make things uncomfortable and difficult for everyone. If you are worried about proprietary information, plan to have their computer removed while they are in the meeting.

Keep in mind that this process is not over once the terminated employee leaves the building. You need to address this departure with the existing team. Someone getting fired is inevitably going to result in tension and anxiety. You want to minimize the interoffice gossip if you want to keep morale and productivity high. Even though this will inevitably be a difficult process, it is something that you can plan for and handle professionally.