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How can small business owners navigate the people puzzle?

How can small business owners navigate the people puzzle?

5 Minute Read

People issues can be difficult for small business owners to solve — no matter whether you are navigating compliance concerns or resolving conflicts within your team. These three steps can help you address people challenges within your small business:

  • Create a supportive work environment
  • Promote open communication
  • Invest in external support

These steps can help you solve people issues successfully and give you more time to focus on growing your business.

Running a small business is a labour of love — fueled by your passion and dreams of growth. However, the significant amount of time and energy that small business owners spend on people issues is a major challenge that often hampers progress.

These people issues can be difficult to solve, whether you are navigating compliance concerns, addressing employee wellness, or resolving conflicts within your team. You may spend a significant amount of time trying to address these challenges, which can become a major distraction from the core functions of running and expanding your business.

Let’s discuss several of the main people challenges that small business owners face today — and discuss the steps you can take to navigate the people puzzle successfully.

What HR challenges are facing small business owners?

People issues encompass a wide variety of challenges, including employee engagement, conflict resolution, work-life balance, and performance management.

These are the top three HR challenges facing small business owners today:

Navigating compliance regulations

Interpreting and applying a complex web of compliance regulations is one of the primary challenges faced by small business owners. Several regulations that require constant attention include employment laws, health and safety legislation, and accessibility standards.

Small business owners frequently grapple with the intricate details of compliance — which takes away valuable time that you could invest in strategic planning and business development. Staying compliant can become a constant source of stress and distraction if your small business does not have the resources to hire experience personnel or access legal advice.

Managing employee wellness

Another critical aspect that weighs heavily on small business owners is employee wellness. Larger corporations have dedicated human resources teams to manage wellness programs and address individual concerns. However, in smaller businesses, owners must often be personally involved in handling the well-being of employees.

The responsibility of managing health insurance benefits, addressing mental health concerns, and other areas of employee wellness can become overwhelming for small business owners. This can be more challenging for those without a background in human resources or employee assistance programs.

Resolving conflicts

Conflict resolution adds another layer of complexity to the people issues that small business owners face. Personal conflicts can escalate quickly in tight-knit teams — disrupting the harmony necessary for productivity.

Small business owners may not have an HR department or mediator on hand and may find themselves caught in the crossfire during personal conflicts. This diverts precious time and energy from strategic decision-making and business growth.

How to address HR challenges

It is crucial to solve the people issues in your business to increase productivity and give you more time to focus on growing your business. These three steps can help you get started:

Create a supportive workplace culture

Developing a supportive workplace culture within your business can significantly reduce the amount of time you spend solving people issues. A supportive work environment makes employees feel valued, respected, and empowered in their roles — increasing productivity and improving employee satisfaction and engagement.

Leadership plays a vital role in both creating and sustaining a supportive work environment — and it is vital to equip your managers with the skills they need to support your employees. This involves ensuring they understand their responsibility to employees, and that they are knowledgeable about your policies and procedures as well as how they apply to the workplace. It is also important for your managers to recognize and address potential issues quickly to prevent escalation.

Investing in training can help your managers become more comfortable in their role. Leading with empathy, listening to employee feedback, and addressing concerns transparently can help you foster a supportive workplace.

Promote open communication

Open communication is a powerful tool to help business owners solve people-related challenges — and it is a necessary element of a supportive work environment. Consider how you can create an environment in your business where employees feel they can talk about issues and be supported.

It is important to act as a role model and promote open communication as a leader. Providing regular updates and information can help you communicate frequently and openly with your employees. It is important to encourage two-way communication between employees and leaders to ensure that everyone feels like their voice is heard and valued — and this can also help you identify and address potential issues early on.

Invest in external support

External support can help you spend less time on addressing people issues and more time on growing your business. Outsourcing your HR functions can help you save time on resolving conflicts, navigating compliance, or managing employee wellness programs.

Additionally, legal and compliance support can help your small business navigate complex issues, including employment contracts or compliance with labour laws. Health and safety advisors can provide training and ensure your business complies with health, safety, and labour regulations — giving you more time to focus on your day-to-day operations.

While external support comes with a cost, this option can be a worthwhile investment in the success of your business by giving you more time to focus on your strategic initiatives.


Your organization needs to embrace transformation to thrive in today’s dynamic business landscape. MNP’s Consulting Services team can help you address challenges, seize new opportunities, and redefine your business to ensure its long-term success.

Take the next steps

Small business owners must recognize the need for effective solutions to overcome people issues. Investing in professional services or seeking external advice on compliance matters can help reduce the burden. Additionally, creating a supportive workplace culture and promoting open communication can contribute to employee wellness and mitigate potential conflicts. Acknowledging the importance of addressing people issues strategically can help you reclaim your time and focus on what your do best — steering your business towards success.

Contact us

For more information, contact a member of MNP’s Consulting Services team. We have the experience to help you address challenges and ensure the long-term success of your business. 


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