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Small-businesses owners must be able to communicate with staff

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The last thing small-business owners want is a fragmented relationship with an employee because they were unaware of what was expected of them. These situations can linger and turn into lawsuits that firm owners will need to rely on small business insurance to bail them out of. Recent research conducted by Wayne Hochwarter, the Jim Moran Professor of Business Administration at Florida State University's College of Business, and research associate Allison Batterton found many employees simply don't know what their bosses want out of them.

"When employees aren't sure what's expected of them, the results simply just cannot be positive, especially when the complexity of work and the pace of change is taken into consideration," Batterton said.

Employees must be aware of expectations
According to the survey, when staff members are unsure of what their employers are asking them to do, it can lead to several other negative affects in the workplace. Professionals who feel this way experienced 60 percent higher levels of mistrust with their superiors, 50 percent higher levels of frustration while in the office and 45 percent less control on how they are supposed to complete their jobs.

"It seems the more that communication is needed, the less likely it is provided - no wonder so many employees feel completely lost at work these days," Hochwarter said.

Open the lines of communication
Better employee performance will always stem from strong relationships between small-business owners and their staff, and this can be made possible by fostering an environment in which face-to-face communication with staff is an everyday occurrence. A survey released by technology provider TrackVia revealed members of the workforce favor in-person conversations over virtual communication.

"When it comes to increasing workplace productivity, it's clear that tools like email and instant messaging help, but don't replace personal collaboration," said Charles Var, vice president of marketing for TrackVia. "Context also matters, as people's preference for communication appears to change based on what they're doing."

Sixty-nine percent of employees said that they have received positive feedback from their boss in a face-to-face conversation. When small-business owners share interpersonal interactions with their employees, it can often be much more meaningful and memorable than receiving correspondence through text messages, live chat or over email. Delivering negative news in face-to-face conversation can help firm owners keep their staff accountable.

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