An inevitable reality of management is that sometimes interactions with employees aren’t always positive. Despite your best recruiting efforts, corporate decisions, layoffs or a host of other personal or professional factors can all lead to workers having to be let go.

Nobody likes being dismissed from a job, and it’s understandable that in such situations tensions and emotions can run high. But just because the situation is less than ideal, that doesn’t mean that the process itself has to be unpleasant, or that the company’s relationship with the employee in question needs to be damaged. Here are some tips to help management navigate the tumultuous waters of employee termination.

Severance is key
In almost any instance when a staff member is let go from a position, the topic of a severance package will be brought up. While the benefits of a severance package are obvious for the employee, many companies may view it as a necessary evil or an unwanted expense. But as the Society for Human Resource Management pointed out, a well-crafted severance agreement can be a huge asset in helping a company negotiate a stress-free termination.

For starters, it’s a great way to help smooth down ruffled feathers as much as possible, and can be instrumental in avoiding costly lawsuits or discrimination charges. According to the SHRM, employees who are offered severance packages are less likely to sue their employers for discrimination or wrongful dismissal. Even small legal cases can add up in terms of both expenses and the time and productivity lost to deal with the issue. Similarly, employees who have been offered compensation are typically more receptive to their own obligations outlined in the separation agreement, such as confidentiality responsibilities.

Mind the details
Drafting an effective severance agreement can be something of an art. Considering that there are a variety of legal regulations guiding the process involved with employee termination and severance negotiation, the prospect of trying to approach the task alone can be daunting to small-business owners.

Forbes noted that severance negotiation can be difficult for both parties, not least because those involved may not even know the ins and outs of the legalities involved. For example, employees over age 40 must be granted a 21-day window to review any severance documents.

If you’re concerned about the legal ramifications of drafting a severance agreement for an employee, PEO companies can be a valuable resource that can offer top-notch HR services advice for far less than it would cost to hire in-house HR.