8 Most Common Employee Problems


Human resources are extremely important in the work place. It’s the driving force that determines a company’s success—but only if it’s productive.


Problems among employees that aren’t dealt with will result in low staff morale. This will consequently decrease the company’s productivity. That means you continuously need to monitor and address issues.


However, before you can address these issues you first need to identify the problems you’re dealing with. So let’s help your identify them. Most businesses face the same types of challenges.


Below we’ll discuss the most common employee issues that may arise in any work environment.


Communication Issues

Communication problems—or lack of—is among the most common employee problems. Because of poor communication, deadlines are missed and work is done ineffectively—or not done at all. That’s why it’s important to have clear channels of communication.


How do you get this right?


Employees must know where to go if they have any questions or want clarity. This can be done by making sure of the following:

  • A clear chain of command: There must be clear reporting structures. People should know who they’re supposed to report to. This will go a long way in avoiding confusion and ensuring accountability.
  • A clear line of authority: Like a clear chain of command, a clear line of authority must be in place. This refers to the number of employees who report to a specific person. If there are too many employees reporting to one supervisor this will just cause confusion & inefficiency.
  • Open door policy: Managers should always be approachable. As a result employees will be able to air out their grievances when necessary.


Implement this and see how it changes your work environment.


Low morale

Lack of clarity regarding what task you must be performing is enough to de-motivate anyone. This leads to the huge problem of low morale which ultimately equates to decreased performance. That makes this a high priority to remedy.


Your first step: Understand the problem.


There are a couple of reasons that may cause employees to feel de-motivated and these include:

  • Lack of recognition: There’s nothing more frustrating than not having your efforts recognized no matter how hard you perform. Whether it’s in the form of a verbal acknowledgment or performance bonus it’s highly necessary from management’s side to focus on this.
  • Poor performance appraisal: Employees are often appraised at the end of the month or bi-annually depending on the company’s policies. Unfortunately getting a poor score can negatively affect an employee’s morale. Don’t simply give appraisal, but help employees fare better the next time around. That’s real leadership.



A de-motivated workforce is undoubtedly an ineffective one. However that’s not the only reason for inefficiency at the workplace. It may also be because of the following:

  • Employees are unclear of the duties they must perform
  • Lack of training
  • Confusion as to who is supposed to do what—and when


The above can be resolved by the following:

  • Setting out clear job descriptions that clearly outline what they must do.
  • Arranging occasional in house training workshops is also essential to ensure everyone knows what’s supposed to be done.
  • Systems can also be introduced that continuously train employees such as an intranet that makes it easy to share relevant, new information.
  • Clear duty rosters are also important to avoid confusion. Serfy is one app where modern technology helps you get this right, whether you’re working with employees on or off site.


This brings us to the next point.


Interpersonal Conflict

A workplace is typically an environment where people with different backgrounds and personalities come together. As a result they have unique communication styles and view matters differently. Because of this tensions and conflicts are bound to arise.


This may unfortunately result in interpersonal conflict among colleagues creating an unhealthy working environment. This can definitely negatively impact productivity levels and it’s leadership’s responsibility to manage it:

  • Host workshops
  • Mediate between colleagues
  • Use anonymous questionnaires to gauge tension and challenges


Discrimination and Harassment

Still on the subject of an unhealthy working environment, some employees may experience discrimination. It’s unfortunate that some employees may be treated unfairly either by their co- workers or even their employer based on the below mentioned factors:

  • Ethnicity
  • Religion
  • Race
  • Genders
  • Medical issue


This could even lead to harassment. If it’s done by a superior it may often be difficult to speak out as they fear negative repercussions.


If you don’t want this hampering your employees’ productivity—or even affect their self image—you should work on:

  • A reporting process for these situations
  • Clear company policies
  • Serious repercussions for those who discriminate



Let’s be clear: Not all problems are caused by the surrounding work environment. Sometimes it’s entirely based on the employee’s choices for instance coming to work late.


Punctuality issues are prevalent in most workplaces. Of course, being late for work can happen to anyone. It only becomes an issue if it relates to one person in particular—all the time. Having clear ways of dealing with latecomers will contribute to a healthier working environment.


Also employees may call in sick frequently citing every excuse you can think of. More often than not they’ll be taking advantage of the numerous sick days they’re entitled to. Sure, illnesses can’t be avoided but some employees may call in sick on a Monday after a weekend of partying.


The best way to curb this is to always request a doctor’s note to confirm the reasons.




Ask any business owner and they’ll tell you to never underestimate the power of the grape vine.


Most organizations prefer issues to be discussed or handled via the formal communication channels. However this may not always be the case as unofficial communication channels are present.


As a result there’ll be an increase in the following:

  • Incorrect information being spread: Spreading incorrect information can result in tension among staff members, as inaccurate facts are often motivated by personal gain. This negatively impacts on the morale of the employees.
  • Reducing productivity: Time spent on gossiping is actually time that could have been used for completing work tasks.


Is there a solution? Making employees feel safe to report gossip and talking publicly even about sensitive issues can go a long way in improving the situation.


Do your employees trust you and respect you? Then they’ll probably not gossip about you.




Unfortunately statistics show that employee theft happens to 30% of all businesses. That’s quite an alarming percentage which can affect a company’s bottom line. This can either be theft of company resources or money.


To avoid this you must conduct criminal background checks before hiring staff. Also, this can be significantly reduced by setting up surveillance cameras.



Hopefully now that you know the problems your employees are facing, you’ll take the necessary precautions to curb them.


The goal is to benefit your business, but in many cases you’ll also help your employees towards more job satisfaction. In the long run that will be to your benefit too.