Common HR Issues And How To Solve Them

There are some common HR issues that most businesses with staff will face. Many businesses trust these issues to an HR professional, either in-house or outsourced. And that is often the right approach.

Unless you have some HR training or experience yourself, it is not advisable to conduct every aspect of your HR yourself. It is a minefield that can quickly become complicated.

HR is a complex subject with legal and ethical guidelines and consequences. Not following the correct practice can land you in some very hot water indeed. But HR is so much more than avoiding trouble-good HR management an actually help your business to grow, as this article points out.

However, there are some very common HR issues that we see crop up regularly. For these there are some simple solutions that you can implement in house, providing the groundwork is properly laid.

Let’s have a look at three common HR issues and a future one that is looming large that you should be thinking about now. For each issue, we will look at how you can handle them in house, and when you might want to outsource to an HR professional.


image of two people in a job interview for blog by Metis HR on common HR issues

Recruitment can be a very rewarding and exciting undertaking for business owners. It is a sure sign of growth!

It can also be a black hole for time and resources, not to mention stressful if you are replacing someone you valued highly.

The recruitment process begins as soon as you decide you are going to advertise. Where are you going to advertise? What will your advert say? What will your process be? Your recruitment process covers even the first few days for your new team member as you get them settled in their role.

HR professionals are often drafted in to ensure the recruitment process is legal and fair.

Some common recruitment issues include:

  • Defining and finding someone who meets the skills, knowledge and abilities required in the job
  • Ensuring impartiality and fairness
  • Avoiding direct and indirect discrimination of candidates you progress, and those you don’t
  • Protecting the future interests of the company and employees through contracts and policies


You can manage your own recruitment by:

  • Making sure your recruitment process is written down and followed
  • Being sure your advert, job description, and interview questions don’t discriminate against anyone.
  • Finding and using an objective method of assessing the competencies of candidates against the job requirements.
  • Speaking to your payroll provider to enrol your new colleague into a workplace pension and informing HMRC. 
  • Using a staff handbook, contract, and policies that have already been written or checked by a professional.

Seek professional HR support if: 

  • You haven’t got a contract or staff handbook already
  • You don’t have the time to dedicate to properly carrying out a fair and thorough recruitment process or you aren’t confident
  • You feel uneasy or nervous about recruitment legalities and processes

Disciplinaries And Grievances

A disciplinary is a manager reprimanding an employee for something they did or didn’t do. This can be very low level, such as persistent lateness or something major such as gross misconduct. It is a boss or manager taking action against an employee.

A grievance is an employee raising a problem with the employer. It is often another employee or a manager.

Both these instances are serious and can have legal and financial ramifications for the employer if they are not handled correctly.

HR professionals often handle these situations to prevent any legal fallout and ensure the process and outcome is fair for both parties.

Some common issues include:

  • Nerves, awkwardness, or embarrassment from the employer
  • An emotional involvement that makes it hard to be impartial
  • Inadequate policies and procedures
  • Not understanding obligations, laws, and rights
  • Needing to discipline employees without being vulnerable to an accusation of constructive dismissal


You can manage your own disciplinaries and grievances by:

  • Ensuring you have clear policies that have been written or checked by an HR professional and;
  • Following the policies to the letter
  • Using other directors and managers in the business to ensure impartiality
  • Using a website such as ACAS for guidance

Seek professional HR support if: 

  • Your policies need writing or reviewing
  • The case is especially complex and potentially involves a protected characteristic
  • You are nervous or unsure about what to do
  • You haven’t followed your policies up to now or documentation is lacking
image of a man anxiously at a desk for blog by Metis HR on common HR issues

Performance Management

Your employees need to be productive, meeting targets, and efficient. How else can your business flourish?

As well as being great for business, effective performance management is great for your employees, too. Understanding their strengths, receiving praise, and being able to develop their skills in areas where they are lacking helps your staff feel valued, satisfied, and fulfilled at work. And, of course, that means less staff turnover and more productivity.

Managing the performance of your team requires planning, structure, and often tact. There may be times when you need to manage an underperforming colleague, which can require HR knowledge and skill. 

Some common issues include:

  • Not having the time to properly manage performance
  • Being unsure of how to constructively encourage better performance
  • Needing to challenge poor performance Identifying, organising, and recording effective training

Self Help:

  • Have a standardised process and criteria for reviewing the performance of each role within the business.
  • Make the employee part of the process-invite their feedback and thoughts on their performance and training requests
  • Book the performance reviews in early and keep them regular. Most businesses choose a month and conduct reviews in that month every year.
  • Keep evidence of ad hoc performance management and training throughout the year
  • Set SMART targets and review performance against them.

 Seek professional HR support if: 

  • You have an employee who consistently or critically underperforms
  • You don’t have time to conduct proper performance reviews
  • The policies and processes need writing or reviewing
  • You are unsure of what to do or don’t feel confident in challenging poor performance

Covid-A Future Issue?

It is becoming clear that Covid-19 is going to be around for a while longer and is going to be something business owners need to manage.

Time off for isolation, social distancing rules, and working from home are all throwing up challenges already.

The Prime Minister has often talked about rapid testing kits for Covid-19 being utilised by businesses and individuals. It is foreseeable that we will each take a Covid test before work each day and wait 80 minutes for the results before knowing if it is safe to go to work. This could be an HR minefield. What if the test isn’t taken in time and the employee is late? What if you don’t trust they really do need to isolate? What if they refuse to take the test? Who will be responsible for buying them if they aren’t provided on the NHS?

It is reasonable to assume that this will bring legal challenges and regulations to employment law in the future. Business owners should be aware of this and ready to adapt their handbook and contracts when the time comes. Outsourcing to a professional, such as Metis HR, will help you be prepared for future HR issues and ensure you are always compliant with the most recent employment law and regulations.

Is It Time To Outsource Your HR?

If you know you don’t have the skill, knowledge, or time to effectively manage your own HR in house or are facing some HR issues that you would like help solving, give us a call.

We have been providing outsourced HR support to businesses around the country for over a decade and have many happy customers.

Why not give us a call on 01706 565 332 or email Your first consultation is complimentary.

Question to ask?

If you want to learn more about the content covered in this post, please get in touch.

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