top of page

13 Common Human Resources Complaints (And How Companies Can Deal With Them)

"Create a culture where your employees can feel totally self-expressed and aligned to the company's mission." When it comes to your workplace, we know things aren't always rainbows and butterflies HR departments see their share of problems and complaints but the key here is that they're addressed accordingly. Our Founder, Jamie Hoobanoff shares her insight on the most common HR issues and the best way to resolve them as a leader in the latest Forbes Human Resources Council feature.

By Forbes Human Resources Council, September 23, 2019

Human resources departments see their share of problems come into their report stack. Some of them are unique in how they present themselves, but the great majority of these complaints likely falls into an easily-defined category.

With the prevalence of these common complaints, many professionals have worked out their own ways to deal with them and help the company move past underlying issues. Here, 13 members of Forbes Human Resources Council take a look at their own methodology in dealing with these common human resource issues, and explain how businesses can resolve them before they become a thorn in their side.

1. Ambiguously-Defined Employee Roles

Working with startups, I hear a lot of dissatisfaction with the lack of clear, precise roles and responsibilities. Despite efforts to draw clearer boundaries and delineations, startup jobs tend to wear a lot of hats and evolve over time. Hiring managers must honestly communicate this reality to candidates and find ones who embrace ambiguity, are calm during storms, and are creative and adaptable. - Angela Nguyen, Ad Exchange Group

2. Bosses Playing Favorites

It’s surprisingly common for an employee to feel their boss is playing favorites. They see someone frequently chatting with the boss, getting choice projects or leaving early, and understandably make assumptions. Stronger communication skills can help alleviate this. If a worker is comfortable speaking up or if a boss makes a point of talking with employees daily, these incidents decrease. - Michele Markey, SkillPath

3. Lack Of Transparency With Applicants

Learn to be transparent with your applicants! Applicants are only pushing you for answers when they haven't heard anything for an extended period of time. The more transparent you are on your practices, the fewer questions you'll receive. Don't be stingy. Your recruiting process is not a trade secret -- we all hire people the same way for the most part. Set your company apart by being open! - Adam Mellor, ONE Gas, Inc.

4. Disconnect Between Employees And Managers

Disconnects in an employee-manager relationship are a common complaint. Transparency and a people-first methodology are key to ensuring this disconnect is prevented. Create a culture where your employees can feel totally self-expressed and aligned to the company's mission. Ensure measurements of success (i.e. key performance indicators, targets, goals) are clearly established between employees and respective leaders. - Jamie Hoobanoff, The Leadership Agency

5. Unclear Promotion Process

When a promotion cycle has been finalized, it's inevitable that some employees are left behind and left feeling upset. One consistent complaint is that there is not a clear enough "checklist" around what it takes to get promoted. Companies should mitigate checklist mentality by depersonalizing the process and sharing other variables considered, such as time in role, business need and general requirements. - Bianca McCann, Trifacta Inc.

6. Communication Silos

The most common complaint I received regularly over the years has been about communication silos. Avoid this by adopting an inclusive mindset and the perspective that when it comes to sharing information, exceptions always exist; however, more is generally always more. Transparency starts at the top and is reinforced by key communication channels that allow it to flow freely throughout the company. - Dr. Timothy J. Giardino, Cantata Health & Meta Healthcare IT Solutions

7. Bullying And Hostile Work Environments

One common complaint is, "Jane Doe is a bully and this is a hostile work environment." Most times, employees do not understand the term "bully" and "hostile" work environment. Conduct team meetings detailing what these terms really mean. Many "bullies" claim they are being "bullied." Sadly, the "bullied" employee is usually too scared to discuss. - Patricia Sharkey, Sharkey HR Advisors

8. Escalating Resource Needs

"I have too much work, not enough time to complete it and my boss doesn’t hear my cry for help." I suggest a one-page executive summary, presenting a clear issue statement with supporting data, actionable options and a recommendation. If it’s a project, consider adjusting scope, schedule or budget. If daily work, consider a task inventory method: start, stop, continue with a risk filter overlay. - MJ Vigil, PEMCO Insurance

9. Not Enough PTO

Unfortunately, some employers still don’t realize that work-life balance is necessary for keeping employees engaged. As a result, workers may complain about only getting one or two weeks of personal time off a year, which is insufficient for working parents or those caring for elderly relatives, but who still need an occasional break. Employers should take this into account when determining PTO plans. - John Feldmann, Insperity

10. Termination Without Explanation

All too often, when a manager disciplines or terminates an employee for poor performance, it's a total surprise to the employee, resulting in a variety of complaints for HR to handle. Fostering a culture that includes management courage and open feedback will help managers talk to employees honestly about their performance, thus improving productivity and morale while reducing complaints! - Tracy Cote, Genesys

11. Difficult Managers

People often come to HR with issues with the person they report to directly: their managers. Complaints can range from personality clashes to different working styles. A great way for managers to improve their emotional intelligence as leaders is to get 360-degree feedback reviews from colleagues and work with a trusted mentor to practice scenarios where honing soft skills and EQ is required. - Jim Link, Randstad North America

12. Constantly-Changing Priorities

Sometimes company goals are firmly set, but how they are attained can shift. Employees can have trouble in such a dynamic environment and wind up complaining about priorities changing. It's best to communicate, communicate, communicate. Being forthright about reasons for changes is essential. If the rapid pace is the norm and someone is too rigid, they may continue to struggle. - Stacey Browning, Paycor

13. Manager Selection And Training Programs

Companies must do a better job creating selection criteria and an accurate selection process for management advancement. It cannot be the only progressive career track. Consider adding a strategic and technical career track for outstanding employees who will not be outstanding managers but still add value. Provide training and development for the managers who make it. - Christine Wzorek, White Label Advisors

48 views0 comments


bottom of page