Common HR Issues at Work

And how should you tackle them?

First published on Thursday, Jun 04, 2020

Last updated on Thursday, Oct 21, 2021

Whether you run a local business with one employee, or a global corporation with thousands, you have a duty to your staff.

From recruitment, processing payroll and maintaining employee records. You’ll likely have to deal with HR issues at work every day.

They can be easy to manage with the correct processes in place. But if you’re not prepared and something slips, there can be significant legal repercussions.

In this guide, we’ll explain what HR covers, common HR management issues, and how to set up your business to solve them.

Human Resources (HR) Issues

The human resources (HR) department is responsible for all aspects of employee management.

You don’t need to have a HR department, but you’ll need someone to manage the process.

Most HR duties fit into one of these categories:

These categories cover several more specific responsibilities and common HR issues that need to be managed.

Common HR Issues

Many of the problems of human resource planning can be made worse by managers not knowing the correct way to respond to the issues.

Below we’ve outlined common human resource management issues and challenges, as well as ways you can take the stress out of these issues.


Your staff love payday. In most cases, they rely on it to happen in a timely manner.

Whether you pay them weekly, monthly, or on a different schedule all together, it’s vital that they receive their correct wages at the agreed time.

Failure to pay on time is a breach of their employment contract, and employees could bring forward a tribunal claim for unauthorised deduction from wages.

The accounts team should be responsible for the processing of payroll, but it’s up to HR to keep records and instruct them on how much to pay.

Use payroll software to keep track of all wages, and make sure everyone receives payment on time.

In addition, make sure your staff can view your company policies regarding salaries, bonuses, etc. Always keep policies in the company handbook, and email staff the handbook when they join the business.

Disciplinary Action

Sometimes people break the rules. It just happens. Other times the misconduct might be unintentional, but you’ll still need to deal with it.

You should have clear policies in place to prevent misconduct and inform staff of the process if their behaviour falls below what’s expected.

There is a specific disciplinary procedure that you must follow when investigating claims.

Employee Retention Issues

You don’t hire an employee thinking they’ll work for you forever. Staff leave, but that can cause significant issues for your HR, and wider business.

Low employee retention means you have to regularly hire for roles, which creates a lot of paperwork and can be expensive. You’ll also have to handle notice periods and constantly update shift rotas.

If you struggle to hire new staff, it can also leave you short staffed or need other employees to pick up new shifts.

There’s no one correct answer to improve employee retention. It relies on keeping staff engaged, motivated and well rewarded.

Some methods can include; offering development opportunities, allowing flexible working, and ensuring wages are in line with market expectations.

Health & Safety Compliance

HR is responsible for making sure policies are in place to keep your staff safe in the workplace. That includes completing risk assessments and making sure everyone is aware of the safety requirements.

You could face serious consequences if you don’t have the correct safety measures in place. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) can issue large fines or order you to close your business.

You need to keep all of your health & safety guidelines together in one place, so that everyone can access them and you can update policies when needed.

Another good way to keep everyone safe at work is to provide regular health & safety training for staff.

Current HR Issues

As with most things, the cultural zeitgeist has an impact on employment law.

The law is constantly being revised and new legislation introduced that reflects current issues.

In 2021, many of the contemporary issues in hr relate to the changes to how people work caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Now that many businesses have been working remotely for over a year, employers are having to think about how to meet their legal obligations to keep company policies updated when everyone’s working from home.

But not all contemporary issues in human resource management relate to remote working. Equality and diversity are also on the agenda.

Although they declined to make it mandatory, the UK’s Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities recently recommended that employers should report on pay gaps among ethnic groups and try to rectify any disparities.

Get help with HR management today with BrightHR

HR issues can crop up at any time, and you’d need an encyclopaedic knowledge of employment law to be prepared for all of them.

But failing to manage employee issues can have significant consequences for your staff, and your business. From losing good workers, to tribunal claims and compensation.

Get BrightHR’s HR management software to help you manage any workplace issue. With tools to help you manage attendance, shifts, and payroll. Book in a free demo today to see just how easy it is to manage HR with our app. Give us a call on 0800 470 2432.

Frequently Asked Questions about HR

Our clients ask loads of questions about HR, so we’ve answered some of the most common ones below.

Not found an answer to your question? Bright Lightning gives you the answer to thousands of employment questions in seconds.

What do human resources do?

Human resources, or HR, is responsible for all aspects of employee management, including; recruitment, payroll, and disciplinary action.

The job of HR is often to act as a go-between an employer and their staff. They outline employee rights, and make sure that the correct processes are followed.

What are the seven functions of HR?

HR managers are required to oversee lots of different activities.

The seven main functions of HR are:

  • Hiring and talent sourcing.
  • Onboarding and processing new employees.
  • Managing training and staff development.
  • Conducting employee appraisals.
  • Ensuring staff are engaged and happy in their roles.
  • Managing payroll and calculating employee wages.
  • Ensuring staff understand and comply with company policies.

What are some HR best practices?

While there are certain rules that you must follow, every HR department is different. Which can leave people unsure of the best approach.

The HR best practices listed below:

  • Be open about processes and decision making.
  • Ensure information is accessible to people that need it.
  • Define the hiring process, based on ability, trainability, and commitment.
  • Organise complementary personalities into highly efficient teams.
  • Offer performance-based pay to improve employee engagement.
  • Provide training to upskill staff and improve workflows.

What is HR planning and why is it important?

Human resource (HR) planning is the process of managing the people you need in certain roles.

It enables you to see how busy different teams are and forecast future demand. This allows you to begin recruiting for new talent just in time to meet increased demand.

This is important as without that forward planning, you risk overworking your existing team before you’re able to onboard new recruits.

What is HR strategy and why is it important?

A human resources strategy is the overall plan for how you manage people.

It determines how your HR processes work, and how they help you to achieve company goals.

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