Creating a Culture of Accountability in the Workplace

Workplace accountability means that every employee is responsible for the work they perform, how they behave, and what decisions they make. Companies that instill and demand accountability from their team members have high performing workers and better retention rates, which assists in achieving operational effectiveness.

Unfortunately, many companies have numerous accountability issues because their leadership teams are using ineffective tactics. To build a culture of accountability, leaders must alter their behavior and take ownership of problems with the company culture. Read ahead for the best practices to promote accountability and set clear expectations.

Building a Culture of Accountability in the Workplace

Many companies produce and sell fantastic products but still suffer from low-profit margins and high turnover rates. Though external relationships with customers begin on the right foot, problems occur within the few weeks a contract is signed. Customer service teams are unresponsive, employees are rude, and the entire business appears to be in chaos.

While a company may have a wonderful product to sell, it is meaningless when internal accountability and employee engagement are falling apart. Accountability issues begin when the leadership team fails to take responsibility for its actions.

Every aspect of an organization is impacted, including productivity, morale, and the quality of work performed. To mitigate accountability issues, management must make sure to instill best practices, which include -

1. Take Ownership and Lead by Example

A leader is a role model for work performance, company culture, and integrity in a work team. Supervisors who are frequently late, always on vacation and missing deadlines are bound to have teams that follow suit.

Completing tasks by due dates, supporting team members, and respecting others' time are effective ways to instill good habits in the workforce. If those at the top act responsibly, subordinates will understand what is expected of them.

2. Provide Feedback

It can be difficult to give proper feedback, particularly when a manager is friends with a team member. However, employees prefer an environment that encourages feedback so they can learn how to meet expectations.

Regular feedback also makes it less surprising for a negative end of year direct report evaluation from management, which can further decrease morale. Good feedback stems from wanting an employee to grow and improve so he/she can assist in meeting company objectives.

It's also important to remember that feedback should be given as quickly as possible or else a problem only intensifies.

3. Conduct Regular Meetings and Check-Ins

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Regular check-ins and team meetings ensure feedback is a regular occurrence. Questions during these habitual meetings should include

  • Are there any new ventures or workflows to incorporate as a team?
  • How much direction is needed to complete high-quality work in the long term?
  • Is everyone receiving enough feedback to perform their jobs? How would team members prefer to receive additional feedback?
  • Are there any parts of the job that team members need special assistance with?
  • How could the team improve collaboration efforts to maximize productivity?

4. Hold Everyone Accountable

If management commits to including more feedback, they should incorporate it as a regular metric to enforce self-accountability. Similarly, management should hold workers accountable by using SMART goals to ensure important tasks are completed on time.

Assigning action items during check-ins and regular meetings can help to hold each team member responsible for his/her requirements. Utilizing deadlines to optimize project management will also further instill accountability in the workforce.

5. Use Charts and Frameworks

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Frameworks or charts are effective tools to manage tasks and ensure projects are completed on time. It also informs workers of their exact requirements and expectations so they know exactly what work quality is expected.

Each employee should be assigned a different role within individual teams, broken into accountability levels. These include-

  • Responsible- The employees responsible for finishing a project
  • Accountable- The manager or team leader responsible for delegating tasks and overseeing the entirety of the project
  • Consult- The individuals who have expertise on a related subject matter and are required for a specific stage of the task
  • Inform- Those employees are kept informed on the progress of the task through one-way communication

Key Takeaways

In conclusion, here are the top ways to improve accountability in the workplace -

  • The leadership team must take ownership and lead by example so workers follow suit. Providing regular feedback as quickly as possible is also an effective way to mitigate accountability problems.
  • It's imperative to conduct regular meetings and follow-ups with individual teams to receive and deliver feedback that can help everyone make improvements.
  • Everyone should be held accountable with a set of metrics, including the owner and team leaders. Projects should be completed on time without sacrificing quality.
  • Charts and frameworks are good tools to manage a project from beginning to end. Using the four accountability levels can ensure each task is streamlined. It also informs involved workers of their requirements throughout the project.

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