Accountability is an integral part of any organization. One must understand that accountability in the workplace is directly related to high performance and increased productivity. Some other benefits noted with accountability are – heightened capacity, increased dedication to the role, boosted morale, and a higher level of workplace satisfaction. It also fosters innovation and creativity as your team and employees feel answerable and become more invested in the growth of the organization. There are various corporate training available for accountability.
Even though there are so many benefits that accountability has, various studies have shown that there is still a huge deficiency of accountability in most workplaces. A recent study revealed that 21% of people who were interviewed saw their workforce consist almost half of ‘unaccountable employees’. So what actually is workplace accountability, how to effectively build it, and why is it important? Find answers to all these questions as you read along.
What is accountability in the workplace?
Accountability encompasses a lot of aspects, but mainly it is about ownership and taking the initiative. This means employees are stepping up their game and doing what’s best suited for the organization in terms of growth and success. An accountable employee will take responsibility for both results and outcomes, and they won’t believe it is just the management’s task to do things.
Accountability in the workplace is a crucial element, and it includes the following –
- If you acknowledge that a task or duty is crucial to results, then make sure that the task comes to the notice of the staff so that it can be completed as per deadlines.
- If an important task is designated for you and your team, ensure that it gets completed well within the deadline and in the best possible way.
- If you think your work might directly or indirectly affect the work of others, keep them updated about the progress. Their work schedule and results will depend on work, so it’s better if you work in tandem.
- If an issue comes up regarding a particular project that you completed on your own, be honest and open with the management about how you undertook the project and what can you do in future to rectify the mistakes.
Why is accountability so important?
Accountability is related to the efficiency and accuracy of employees, and that’s why it is so important. If employees aren’t held accountable for not following deadlines, not being punctual, and not completing projects, you should take action and make them understand the importance of accountability in the workplace. It also helps them know that each employee is responsible for their own; they need to pull up their socks themselves and cannot depend on anyone for slacking. In a lot of international corporate trainings, it is said that it is unfair on employees if the management does not keep the entire staff accountable. This practice creates an environment where laidback attitude breeds and a handful of hardworking employees will have to work a lot harder and carry the responsibility for the entire team.
How to foster accountability in the workplace?
There are various ways that you can take to encourage and foster accountability at your workplace.
- Make it a value: It is important that accountability is made a part of your organization’s culture and everyday operations. Talk about it in meetings, implement corporate training, encourage employees to share their ideas and what it means to them. It should not just remain as a definition. Your aim should be to blend accountability into the organization’s basic thread. It should become an overall goal and should have consequences when it is not met. The morale of all the employees goes down when a few non-performing employees don’t face action and repercussions.
- Define goals: One of the easiest ways in which accountability can rise exponentially in your company is to have clear goals for each department and each member of the team. Tangible goals with set deadlines and process work best. Have a clear outline of what is expected from the employees. Also, make sure that you set personalized goals. These are an important part of teamwork as they highlight how important an individual is as a team member.
It is the responsibility of the entire team to be accountable and answerable. If one team member slacks, the other’s work will automatically be affected in a negative way. Also, it is essential that while setting goals, you emphasize what’s not important and what’s not a priority. Employees handling too many roles and many responsibilities may reduce the overall productivity and accountability. Therefore, always make sure that the goals set are achievable and realistic.
- Highlight key metrics: Show your employees the metrics of their performance. This way, you can enhance the overall accountability in the workplace. Highlighting these metrics means that each employee will have to engage with the outcome of their work. Sharing the outcome of each goal is an effective way to validate commitment and dedication in employees. This way, you are communicating clearly what is expected from them.
Also, another advantage of highlighting metrics is that it encourages healthy competition. When an employee accomplishes a goal and gets appreciation and recognition for it, it is a boost to their morale and motivation. And acknowledging that they didn’t reach their goal this time will inspire them to work a lot harder the next time.
- Include everyone in accountability: Including everyone in accountability goes hand-in-hand with setting individual goals. Many times employees assume that accomplishing team goals is the responsibility of only the team leader or manager. But this is not true. It is important that each employee knows about their individual contribution to the project and that they are an integral part of the team. This way, the employee will feel valued and worthy. Also, make sure you encourage employees to speak up if they notice some other employee is slacking in their goals.
- Create a supporting environment: In many workplaces, employees focus on finding who is at fault when a problem arises. This is particularly seen in workplaces where trust amongst employees is low. In a low trusting environment, employees dread accountability because they worry about the consequences of their mistakes. On the other hand, in a high trust environment, employees go the extra distance, stay accountable and responsible, and are confident that they can rectify their mistakes. A high trust environment can be created and will flourish when managers praise their employees and build their teams’ confidence.
- Implement tools: There are many tools available in the market that helps you assess accountability in the workplace. You can always take the help of targeted corporate training for accountability. Using these tools, you can keep a better track of the progress of specific projects and deadlines. And employees are more likely to buckle up and work hard to meet their goals when they know how easy it is for you to check on their work.
Workplaces thrive on accountability. It benefits in so many ways – employee turnover is lowered, efficient functioning of teams, innovation and creativity flow. Follow these steps coupled with corporate training, and you’ll be able to foster accountability in the workplace.
Credits – This blog is an adaptation of an international blog - https://roubler.com/au/resources/blog/accountability-in-the-workplace/