Organizational Accountability Boosters

Accountability is an important metric used to measure and assess the performance of both individual employees and a team as a whole. Low accountability across an organization can hold the company’s potential back.

Creating a culture of accountability in the workplace is crucial for employee engagement and for the company to keep up with its operational strategies and growth plans. The thing is that accountability is not something that exists by default. It needs to be established and consistently maintained.

The good news is, though, that with the right approach, it’s not that much of a challenge. Below, you’ll find useful tips on how to boost accountability in your team to hit your business goals and make your employees feel more satisfied.

What Is Employee Accountability?

It’s the ability of employees to take responsibility for their actions, decisions, and work results. Most often than not, an accountability problem occurs when something goes wrong or in case of failure. Many people tend to find somebody to blame instead of taking ownership of their mistakes.

Meanwhile, accountable employees will

  • Be aware of their roles and functions;
  • Put the best effort to perform the work tasks and achieve the expected results;
  • Easily communicate both with other team members and with their managers;
  • Willingly accept feedback and eagerly make changes and improvements if necessary;
  • Acknowledge their mistakes and shortcomings and seek ways to correct them.

Accountability is an express characteristic of productive and high-performing employees and teams. It’s highly important for companies focused on outcomes and striving to leverage their performance or increase revenue.

Signs of Low Accountability in the Workplace

Poor accountability is the growth-limiting factor that hinders goal achievement and slows down operational success. When the accountability culture is weak across the organization and employees ignore or disregard their responsibility for decision-making and the outcomes of the work, you will most likely observe the following:

  • Missed or delayed deadlines;
  • Regular work failures and unfinished tasks;
  • Low engagement inside the team;
  • Poor level of trust between fellow workers;
  • Poor performance results;
  • High workforce turnover;
  • Low level of employee satisfaction with their job.

All of the above aspects will total into bad behaviors, poor morale inside a group or team, and lack of commitment.

How Does Accountability Look Like?

A lot has been said about employee accountability and why it’s so important for organizations. The theory aside, how does it look in practice, though? Normally, you can estimate the level of accountability by your employees’ behavior. The following features speak for themselves:

  • Punctuality: Employees timely show up at meetings and match the deadlines;
  • Honesty: Workers never try to hide their failures or errors and readily discuss any ongoing work issues or problems;
  • Proactive position: Employees don’t seek to avoid responsibility and eagerly search for solutions and decisions;
  • Delivering on promises: Accountable individuals live up to their promises and do their best to achieve their goals;
  • Emotional maturity: With no blame games in place, people accept their feelings and don’t try to shift their responsibility to others;
  • Free communication: Employees are confident enough to talk about anything, even when they know it might be hard talk, they don’t steer away from their duties and responsibilities.

7 Tips on Boosting Employee Accountability

Building and fostering an accountability culture across the organization is the leadership responsibility. Leaders can’t expect their employees to be accountable unless they provide proper guidance.

Here are a few strategies you can introduce when managing your team to boost employee accountability.

1. Be an Example

Employees are guided by leaders and managers at all levels. So, accountability starts from the top and goes downward. Hence, each leader should demonstrate accountability by their personal example.

In practice, it’s about recognizing your own mistakes and taking responsibility for the team’s results rather than blaming the team for poor outcomes. Promoting accountability by your own example, you will gain more trust from your employees and build an open and credible atmosphere in the team.

2. Let Employees Participate in Goal Setting

Don’t expect commitment to something people don’t quite understand or should take for granted. While employees should be aware of the objective they have to achieve and bigger company goals, informing the goals as a prescribed fact is the wrong route to follow.

People will feel more responsible for the process of gaining results and the outcomes when they’ve been involved in the goal-setting process. Let your team members participate in strategy development and goal establishment to improve their engagement and ensure the context they need to efficiently move toward their objectives.

3. Be Clear About Your Expectations

It’s not enough to set goals, you should also explain to your workers what results and outcomes you expect to get. The key here is that you should be accurate and clear and not simply articulate your general expectations for the team but rather convey your expectations for each member.

So, the whole process is broader than it seems and embraces:

  • Assigning the roles and functions inside the team;
  • Outlining requirements for each role and function;
  • Sharing an action plan with clear deadlines and responsibility distribution.

Knowing the standards and their scope of duty, people are much easier to take responsibility for the actions and deliverables within their authority.

4. Provide Resources

Employees could only be held accountable for their part of the job, given that all other requirements are met and the necessary supportive resources are provided.

In other words, you can call for personal accountability only when employees have all the necessary tools, materials, software, data, information, and any other resources necessary for accomplishing the tasks.

Besides, it’s important that the tasks and goals you set are realistic, feasible, and attainable. Unless workers feel they can succeed, they won’t do their best to achieve what you expect from them.

5. Set Timeframes

Deadlines are important for structuring the project and splitting it into stages. Yet, to be achievable, deadlines should be clear. Putting something like “till the end of the month” or “the sooner, the better” is unacceptable. This blurs the timeframes since every team member can understand that their way.

Exact due dates agreed upon with the team will ensure clarity and help employees schedule their work accordingly.

6. Trace the Progress

Don’t wait for the due dates to assess deliverables. It’s one of the biggest mistakes made by managers, though an obvious one. Intermediate check-ins are a must before a final appraisal. This way, you’ll be able not only to evaluate how employees get through but also to detect pitfalls and mistakes.

In the meantime, while doing the check before the due date, employees will have time to correct errors or find another solution, thus, making the whole process move forward without stalls.

7. Give Feedback

Provide feedback, no matter if your employees do right or wrong. They just need to know you care for them and keep an eye on the whole process. This is yet another reason why check-ins along the way are important.

You should be honest both about your team’s wins and about their challenges and mistakes. Through timely and informative feedback, you will guide your team and help them overcome difficulties and eliminate the roadblocks on the way.

As a result, they will feel your support and feel more involved in the process, thus allowing for trust-based relationships and improved personal accountability of each team member.

Bottom Line

Employee accountability is one of the major performance drivers essential for overall business success. And efficient accountability management is a competence good leaders should acquire and enhance to become effective managers of high-performing teams.