Secret to Improving Employee Accountability

People readily accept their contributions to successful results and outstanding achievements yet, are often reluctant to accept responsibility for failures. This is true both for everyday life and for professional environments.

An interesting fact is that the majority of employees would say that they are held accountable for their results. However, multiple independent surveys show that most often than not, employees lack responsibility for their actions and performance. More than that, some managers put work with low performers on the back burner.

The workforce is a business driver, and employee performance is a key element for achieving strategic business goals. With that, a lack of employee accountability puts the overall success of the organization at risk. So, keep on reading to find out how to enhance people’s accountability at all levels of your company.

How to Know You Have Accountability Issues Among Employees?

At some point, all companies encounter workforce employee accountability issues. However, before blowing the whistle, take a breath and make sure you really have a problem. This will help you come up with an efficient plan for how to tackle it.

Accountability is related to performance. Hence, there are a few performance indicators or aspects that evidence a lack of responsibility:

  • Performance problems: Once you notice your team members systematically miss deadlines, regularly make mistakes, show low interest in their work or neglect how it impacts the company goals, you certainly have an accountability problem;
  • Lower output: Metrics are hard to argue. Measurable results clearly reflect the situation and always help get an objective picture of what is going on. Lower revenues or results below expectations signalize that there is some sort of dysfunction or lack of engagement in teamwork;
  • Decreased morale inside a team: To make people move in the same direction and contribute to a bigger goal, it’s vital to keep them on the same page in terms of work and development. Punctuality problems, lack of cooperation among team members, low enthusiasm, and consistent failure are all signs of poor morale that result in accountability issues.

Any of the above issues should make you look back at your performance management standards and search the ways to update them as well as fine-tune the leadership and management skills across the company.

Steps to Improve Employee Accountability in the Workplace

When you recognize that you have an accountability issue inside a team, rather than ignore this fact, you’ve already taken the right path. The next thing to do is to create and realize a plan that will change the situation for the better and boost employee performance.

We understand that it’s easier said than done, so let us describe the steps you should take to bring the performance culture in a separate team or throughout your organization to yet another level.

Articulate Clear Goals and Expectations

People can’t deliver good results and show high performance unless they know where to move and what you expect of them. So, accountability starts with projected results being clear to employees and their confidence about being able to achieve those results.

Steer away from setting too ambitious goals and pronounce realistic and achievable objectives instead. Feasible deliverables will inspire your team members and encourage them to move forward, taking responsibility for their actions.

Welcome Feedback

Sometimes, people are too busy or overloaded with tasks and might miss something unintentionally. Besides, no one can work efficiently without follow-up communications. This is where feedback is of great use.

It’s vital to give your employees an opportunity to share their concerns, voice their difficulties, and ask for support if necessary. At the same time, feel free to encourage them with your rewarding words or constructive remarks, or criticism.

By demonstrating accessibility and eagerness to help, you’ll get more trust among your team members as well as show them that accountability works both ways.

Be an Example

You can’t expect others to be responsible unless you hold yourself accountable as a leader. Your own actions and diligence will motivate others to do the same and serve as a standard they should stick to. Being self-rigorous, you will lead your employees by your own example and show them that you are demanding not only toward their performance results.


Communication is the key to success in multiple areas. Your employees should be able to talk to you whenever they need your assistance or advice. Consider doing the following:

  • Hold regular meetings and conversations with your team members to share the goals, measure the progress, and look into weak points and deterrents that hold the teamwork back;
  • Don’t avoid tough talks. Yet, it doesn’t have to be a negative interaction, rather make it an open dialogue to discuss the issues and problems without getting into personality. This will help build trust and reveal some reasons for poor performance and low accountability that you have not noticed before.

Allocate the Roles and Assign Tasks

Strange though it might seem, personal and professional accountability doesn’t always appear naturally. Along with clarifying the goals and outlining specific expectations, it won’t go amiss to set roles and assign tasks to team members.

By clearly explaining who is responsible for what, you will not only split responsibility areas but also promote each member’s accountability for their individual results and their ability to relate those results to a common goal.

Set up a Culture of Trust

Only work relations built around trust and mutual understanding can survive business struggles and ongoing problems and lead the progress. Be consistent in your management methods, live up to your promises, and be fair when providing rewards or correcting mistakes.

Avoid prioritizing some employees over others and creating favorites. And refrain from randomly changing your work approaches. This will erode trust in you as a leader and kill accountability.


To sum it all up, employee accountability is not something that should be taken for granted. Instead, it should be fostered and maintained via efficient team management, performance assessment, and encouraging employee involvement.

Improving accountability in the workplace is not an easy task, yet, the time and effort it will take you are direct investments in your organization’s success and growth.