Workplace issues have existed ever since the workplaces themselves. Whether it’s missed deadlines or disengagement – employees are human, and their work performance may fluctuate.

What’s all the fuss, then?

Consider this startling statistic: absenteeism is one of the most common workplace issues and is approximated to generate an average cost of $3,500 per employee annually in Australia.

However, financial losses aren’t the sole risk. Excessive workplace challenges, including absenteeism, lateness, or underperformance, can tarnish your organization’s productivity and reputation. Additionally, improper handling may lead to legal disputes, such as unfair dismissal, exposing your organization to even higher financial and reputational risks.

In this article, we dive into three of the most common workplace issues and provide you with practical strategies to address and manage them adequately.

3 common workplace issues

Being present, on time, and aligned with performance expectations are fundamental requirements for every employee. However, these very elements often become focal points for workplace challenges.


At some point, each of us arrived late to work. While reasons for lateness can vary, most of us usually make it on time. However, a substantial 19% of employees consistently don’t achieve that. This persistent lateness can adversely affect your business’s reputation and finances.


Absenteeism, where employees take leave under questionable circumstances, poses financial and productivity challenges – as it disrupts workflow and causes understaffing costs. Additionally, failing to address it adequately may result in unfair dismissal claims under the Fair Work Act 2009.

The Act emphasizes certain procedural and communication principles when dismissing employees, and not adhering to them can have legal consequences for your company.


According to the Fair Work Ombudsman, underperformance is when an employee falls short in performing their job or behaves unacceptably at work. This includes not meeting required standards, violating workplace policies, and engaging in behaviours like telling inappropriate jokes or consistently speaking negatively about the company. All of these can impact productivity, morale, and the company’s reputation with clients, customers and potential employees.

Managing workplace challenges: Strategies for employers

Here are actionable, HR-approved strategies you can start implementing today to address and manage workplace issues properly.

Foster open communication

Creating a workplace where your team feels at ease sharing concerns, even about things like lateness or absenteeism, is crucial. Through regular feedback sessions or surveys, you can quickly spot these issues and tackle them efficiently, preventing potential threats before they become serious.

If underperformance leads to termination, ensure prior communication about the issue, informing the employee of the reasons and providing an opportunity for their response. Open communication and regular transparent interactions with teams are crucial in solidifying these steps and minimizing the risk of potential unfair dismissal claims.

Read more about unfair dismissal in our detailed guide for Australian employers.

Enable collaboration

Where there’s open communication, collaboration naturally follows. It’s a powerful force that encourages problem-solving, and when workplace challenges emerge, collaboration allows everyone affected to find the best solutions collectively.

Some of the ways to improve collaboration within your team include:

  • Schedule regular team meetings and brainstorming sessions to address common workplace issues. Discuss ways to minimize challenges, ensuring you support your employees while keeping performance and productivity top-notch for the company.
  • Create a collaborative workspace, physical or virtual, where your team can seamlessly collaborate on tasks, address workplace issues, and support initiatives for a positive workplace culture.

Bonus tip: When addressing employee issues, understand their perspective while effectively communicating your concerns and emphasizing the importance of the matter.

Provide proactive training

Provide employees, particularly those struggling with lateness, absenteeism, or underperformance, with regular training. Use assessments to identify specific skill gaps, such as time management or effective communication, and tailor programs to meet individual needs.

Establish reporting team

Form a dedicated team or designate an individual (for smaller companies) as the go-to contact for managing and resolving workplace issues. Additionally, ensure the team adopts a structured documentation and reporting system. This ensures that every decision and solution is thoroughly documented, creating a transparent process for issue resolution.

In the event of a potential dispute, it’s crucial to have proof of actions and steps taken. Maintaining good records is the best way to ensure this.

Monitor workplace improvements

We only make progress in areas we measure. Therefore, consistently monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of the solutions or steps you’ve implemented.

Suggested methods for evaluation:

  • Define and track Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) like employee satisfaction, productivity levels, and punctuality.
  • Seek and analyze employee feedback through surveys and regular communication channels.

Where to from here?

Suppose you recognize any or all three of the workplace issues mentioned in this article. In that case, we recommend prioritizing the organization of feedback sessions and surveys to gain a broader understanding of the extent of the problem. Also, be sure to follow all other strategies listed above, as each is designed to help you maximize your workforce’s potential, ensuring their satisfaction, optimal performance and legal compliance for your business.

At Fresh HR Insights, we specialize in assisting leaders like yourself in managing employee issues such as lateness for work, absence without leave, underperformance, and others.

We are dedicated to bringing and maintaining harmony and compliance in your human resources.

 MARIE – ICON SOFTWARE: “She really understood our business. She took time to understand what our concerns were, and she understood legislation requirements so we didn’t have to. I highly recommend Paulette and find her very easy to deal with and very understanding.”

Schedule a free discovery call with Paulette and receive top-notch advice tailored to your workforce needs.


Paulette - Fresh HR Insights Pty Ltd