Sometimes the simplest of employee problems can end up making big waves down the line – here are five common employee problems and suggestions on how to diffuse them before they end up causing you more trouble than you would like.

1. Absenteeism and Tardiness. When an employee misses work, it not only costs money but can inconvenience customers and co-workers. When it comes to issues with tardiness and absenteeism, strict policy enforcement from the get go is key. If a person can get away with something, even if they do not realize it expressly, they tend to do that thing more often. A way to ensure that this is taken seriously is by immediately talking to the employee the minute a problem is spotted, circulating company policy via e-mail and making it a part of performance reviews.

2. Lack of Communication. It can cause problems if employees from different departments are not keeping one another in the loop, whether it be intentionally or because of a lack of a proper platform to keep everyone in on what is going on with certain projects and the like. A good way to remedy this is to instill a checks and balances system – peer reviews, a necessary filing of a checklist from one co-worker to another department before continuance is allowed on a project can keep office dynamics fluid.

3. Misuse of Technology. The technology influx of this age – whether it be smart phones, web access, iPads, what-have-you – make it hard for anyone to stay focused. This is true in the workplace just as it is true in all other aspects of life. To keep this from being a problem in your office, electronic monitoring of internet access (flags on certain types of website, for instance) canbe a deterrent as well as a 3 strike system. If you’re caught texting so many times, penalties can be afforded.

4. Attitude. Some people find a lot of ways to bring attitude to their work, and sometimes it isn’t even intentional. This can be claiming that certain tasks aren’t a part of their “job description” as a way of getting out of work that they find menial or uninteresting to being unwilling to interact with their co-workers in a cordial manner. The best way to address attitude is to immediately talk to the employee directly – if someone is showing negativity in their work life, there is usually an underlying cause that they are trying to hide. Communication is key and it is likely easy to resolve such situations just by speaking to an employee about problems before taking further action.

5. Poor time management. The internet, cell phones, co-workers, phone calls, break times: the list of reasons an employee can lose focus is immense. Make sure they know that their work is being monitored – if their job is to call forty people a day about your product, keep call logs. You can let them know they are being monitored directly or in more subtle ways, such as praising them when they get over that set number of calls so that they realize you know their numbers.

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