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6 Most Common Small Business HR Issues to Avoid

When starting your small business, you should be aware of the impact Human Resources can have on everything your company does. HR is responsible for supporting the business by handling hiring, firing, and classifying employees, as well as investigations.

Some of the most common HR problems for all businesses but especially new businesses, include:

  • Recruitment
  • Training and Safety
  • Discrimination and Rights
  • Resolving Conflict
  • Benefits
  • Overtime and Breaks


Good HR is essential in the process of hiring new employees. Are you hiring full-time or part-time employees?  The first step in hiring the type of employee you want to work for you is a well-written and exact job description. A vague job description is one of the most common mistakes new businesses can make when hiring, and an HR representative who knows their job will be able to provide a description that includes the following:

  • Job title
  • The supervisor or manager
  • A comprehensive list of responsibilities and tasks required
  • Required education or equivalent experience
  • Required skill sets
  • A description of job conditions

A job description that clearly spells out the job’s requirements will not only help you interview people who will be an asset to your company but can also be something to fall back on if the employee doesn’t work out.

Training and Safety

Once you’ve hired your new employees, HR can become invaluable in helping with their training so that problems and injuries don’t occur. Without proper training by a professional HR person or team, your new business risks employees being unable to do their work, leaving, or even suing the business.

Discrimination and Rights

Perhaps the most important part of the HR department is understanding and enforcing the laws governing worker rights. While diversity is an important part of a growing business, it can also lead to problems within the workplace. Having competent HR employees who have acquired their human resources degree will ensure your recruitment and hiring practice complies with current law.  You may think you already know it, but it is complex and not always common sense.

Conflict Resolution

With a growing business often comes conflict. Whether between coworkers or between managers and the employees they’re in charge of, conflicts — big and small– are bound to happen. The most common issues that HR will have to handle in this area are reports of physical or verbal harassment, broken promises or unclear communication, and theft of property. By handling and resolving issues as soon as possible, your HR department will help you to avoid losing employees, property, and money.


Are you providing any benefits?  To stay competitive, businesses of all sizes may offer benefits to their employees, ranging from higher salaries to product discounts to health and life insurance. Your HR department will need to handle all the aspects of employee benefits, including letting the employees know exactly what their benefits are;  keeping track of what benefits apply to which employees, and terminating benefits when an employee leaves the company. Confusion in this area will often lead to unhappy employees, which, as you know, will affect your business.

Overtime and Breaks

Depending on where your business is located, you’ll have a specific set of laws that apply to breaks, overtime, and vacation or paid leave for your employees. You and your business can run into trouble if your HR department isn’t aware of and actively monitoring employees to ensure they take their breaks and are being paid properly for their overtime. Some businesses solve this problem by requiring that employees leave the property during breaks or providing a specific break room where working isn’t allowed.

Starting a new business can be exciting and scary.  But a good HR department that’s aware of the common HR pitfalls for new businesses will help you to continue to grow. By knowing and complying with the local and federal laws and by hiring the best employees possible, you will avoid falling prey to these common HR issues.


Blake completed his undergraduate degree in Justice Studies from Arizona State University.  Blake has also recently worked in higher education and is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Business.

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