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Running a small business is no cake walk, even if you own a bakery. Even though you have fewer employees to manage, you will still experience large human resource issues that could put your operations at risk. One HR issue can damage your reputation, cause you to hire inexperienced workers, or hamper business productivity. Knowing the main HR issues that you may encounter will allow you to take the appropriate actions to re-mediate the problems.


Discrimination and harassment claims can be devastating. Workers may be discriminated against based on gender, race, age, nation of origin, disability or religion. When such a claim is made, it can be easy for you to simply brush it off and simply assume that someone is overreacting to a comment or action. However, by not addressing the discrimination or harassment, the impacted employees can feel discouraged and unmotivated with their work. They may leave and even file a lawsuit against your business due to your inaction.

Solution: To avoid HR issues, hire an independent firm to provide an unbiased investigation regarding the discrimination or harassment complaint. You can also avoid this HR issue by providing diversity programs that will promote an inclusive workplace environment.

Employee Conflict

Employee conflicts usually begin small. Then the animosity grows until both parties are feuding with each other. The issue can involve one employee having an idea stolen by another person, or an employee feeling that he should have been promoted first over other managers. The problem could even be that two employees have different views on how a work project should proceed as neither person is willing to compromise.

Solution: Employee conflicts are usually breakdowns in communication between the two squabbling parties as nobody wants to listen to what the other person has to say. In these HR instances, you have to become the mediator. Sit down with each person separately to find out what the problem is from their perspectives. Then speak with other employees to gain additional, outside insights regarding the conflict. Then you can bring both employees together in a meeting to deal with the conflict and to provide the right decision.

Hiring Mistakes

Hiring mistakes can happen to businesses of any size. When a job position opens, it will take time and valuable resources away from other operations of your small business. This circumstance leads you to rush through the hiring process as you may skip verifying the work history of the candidate. Other times, you may hire someone who just doesn’t fit into the work culture as they become a hindrance to operations.

Solution: Always take your time with the hiring process. Clearly state in the job posting about qualifications, education, experience and salaries to weed out candidates. Then perform a full background check and interview. If your small business simply can’t juggle the hiring process along with regular daily processes, consider outsourcing the process to an independent firm.

Insufficient Training

You’ve hired a great employee who will fit well in your workplace. Due to her qualifications and previous experience, you skim through the training and place her right into the work project. However, you soon find out that the employee is struggling to meet deadlines. She may be spending more time asking other employees for help and not meeting the sales productivity rate that you desire. In time, the new employee may leave the business.

Solution: Never rush through or skip the training programs for new employees no matter how good their CV looks. Always provide comprehensive training programs for them. There are also free and low-cost training resources available if your small business is working on a limited budget.

Improper Safety Procedures

Improper safety procedures can also fall into the insufficient training category. Since the employee was not properly trained, or because workplace safety programs weren’t fully developed, this situation creates an unsafe work environment. This problem can lead to accidents, as you will be held liable for damages and injuries to both employees and the public.

Solution: Safety procedures should always be included in all training programs and company policies to help minimize accidents. You should also perform risk assessment on processes to determine the types of hazards that may occur so you can develop accident-reporting protocols for employees to follow.

HR issues can happen at any time. You can protect your small business by recognizing these issues and developing the right solutions to keep processes running efficiently. If you don’t have the right HR resources in-house, consider outsourcing to a PEO. Contact us if we can help you in any way.


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