If you want to set clear goals and expectations, having accountability in the workplace is vital. Approximately 36% of employees say they're engaged at work, according to a 2021 Gallup poll.
Holding your employees accountable is one of the best ways to ensure that your business is a success.
What is accountability in the workplace?
Accountability in the workplace can be broadly divided into the following two categories: day-to-day work and communication & conflict. Everyday work accountability stands for holding yourself accountable for daily work, the progress of the projects, your role within the set tasks, the results of projects, and finding ways to improve them.
Communication and conflict are slightly more nuanced for the organisation's performance. It involved accepting your wins and shortcomings, keeping an open communication channel, and working through your relationships at work. In total, accountability in the workplace is the idea that all employees should be responsible for the work they have been allocated. It is critical to an organisation's efficiency as each person will take responsibility for their actions and contribute to its growth.
Importance of Accountability in the workplace
The basic idea of accountability in the workplace is to motivate each employee to work towards the organisation's growth. Here are some reasons why it is important to have accountability in the workplace:
Workplace accountability helps improve performance as each employee is concerned about the respective processes and projects. It also allows employees to give attention to detail and improve the results. Employees are focused on solving the problem in front of them and targeting the best outcome. As a result, accountability plays a vital role in improving the team's performance.
With accountability, you can have a clear roadmap for success. It presents a clear barometer of what your success will mean and what is the distance between your current state and the set goals. You can work towards achieving the set targets and take the necessary actions required for success. Accountability in the workplace helps increase clarity in the team on what it will take to be successful at work.
Holding people accountable for their actions helps you stay consistent and focused with sight on the end goal. Without accountability, individuals will likely lose sight of primary goals with the distractions that come their way. It is better to have clear responsibility for the set goals as it helps people to avoid these distractions and stay focused.
With clear milestones set for success, achieving the set target improves the overall satisfaction among employees. As employees accomplish the set targets, the feeling of achievement and success improves their satisfaction level. Even when employees fall short of the set target, constructive feedback can help get them back on track. In total, accountability in the workplace plays an instrumental role in driving rich and happy experiences for the people at work.
How to Improve & Encourage Accountability?
Having the proper mechanism to improve and encourage accountability among employees is crucial.
Here are some ways that you can improve or increase accountability in the workplace for a successful experience that benefits everyone.
1. Accountability in the workplace starts with you
As a business leader, your aim is to be a role model for your employees. You can't expect others to be accountable for their actions if you're not holding yourself to the same high standards.
Remember that employees always follow the lead of their managers and other leaders. Make sure that you're doing the same things you expect your employees to do, or even better.
One way to improve accountability in the workplace is to simply show up. Be prepared, on time, and make a concerted effort to support your employees when they need it. Practicing what you preach is a good way to ensure that your employees are held to the same standard.
2. Devise a clear plan
If you want to know how to increase accountability, it starts by setting clear and realistic expectations. Your employees can't reach their goals if they don't know what they are.
Come up with a clear, actionable game plan in terms of goals for both your business and your workforce. By setting these goals in advance, everyone knows what they need to do to be successful.
When people are confused about what's expected of them, they'll have trouble succeeding. By devising a clear game plan and setting realistic goals, everyone knows what to strive for. This also helps you hold people accountable when they fail to reach those goals.
3. Provide tools for success
As you think about how to hold employees accountable, remember to help them by providing the right tools and support. Without these tools, your employees could feel neglected or confused about what their goals should be.
Whether it's training manuals and meetings or new software, these tools should be designed to help employees accomplish any task. The right tools will help your staff improve their skillet, increase confidence, and encourage them to take ownership of the things they do.
Managers have a responsibility to provide adequate resources to their teams. If you don't, then you could be setting your business up to fail. Giving people the resources and tools they need will help them feel confident and ready to tackle almost any task they face.
4. Boost employee morale
Why is accountability important? It's vital because it helps you ensure that every individual (and every team) is responsible for their actions as well as their shortcomings.
By improving employee morale, your workers will be more prone to do the absolute best job they can for you and themselves. Look for ways you can boost morale at work so that everyone feels good about their jobs.
Whether you hold contests with prizes, host parties, or just develop a positive company culture, morale is one of the most effective ways to keep people accountable. When people are happy at work, they'll be much more likely to do the absolute best job they can.
Perform regular performance reviews so employees know where they stand. This is another great way to keep morale at a high level in the workplace.
5. Provide regular feedback
Being open and honest with your employees is another great way to maintain accountability in the workplace. You may need to have some difficult conversations at work, but it's important to be as honest as possible.
When employees get honest feedback about their work, they're more likely to try to improve. If they don't know where they stand, they'll continue to be mediocre or assume that everything is fine.
Don't be afraid to be honest when you're giving employees feedback, but do it with compassion. Always point out a few positives whenever you provide people with constructive criticism.
6. Use mistakes as a springboard
Everyone is human which means that making a few mistakes at work is inevitable. However, you can use mistakes as a way to improve and set everyone up for success.
Instead of looking at mistakes as a setback, view them as an opportunity. Take the mistakes your employees make and turn them into a way to provide actionable steps to make improvements later on.
When people know that occasional mistakes are acceptable, it will improve accountability. Rather than being afraid, they'll be honest about their mistake so they can learn how to avoid them in the future.
7. Keep standards high
Improving employee morale and staying positive doesn't mean that you have to lower your standards. In fact, keeping workplace standards consistently high is one of the best ways to improve workplace accountability.
The higher your standards or loftier your goals, the more employees have to strive for. When you lower expectations, accountability will naturally follow.
Always maintain high standards regarding productivity, sales numbers, and other things that pertain to your business. Doing this will ensure that each individual employee remains accountable throughout their time with your company. Never settle when it comes to keeping high standards, or your business could suffer long-term.
8. Build a culture of trust
It is better to create a culture of trust in the workforce than create a carrot-and-stick policy. With the right level of freedom and confidence, you are better equipped to increase accountability and efficiency at the workplace. Millennials feel more confident when they have the independence to control and set their schedule. Also, for accountability in the workplace to bring the desired results, it is vital to give employee freedom to develop their plans as it will increase their responsibility towards the set targets.
9. Strong management
Each organisation that can achieve sustainable growth needs strong management at the helm. The administration is not expected to drive performance with fear and punitive measure but with trust and confidence in the workforce. In addition, there is an increase in accountability when strong management is in place.
10. Revise KPIs to include accountability
KPI or key performance indicators are the quantifiable measures that a company uses to track the performance of each employee. As employees know that accountability is a crucial indicator of their performance, there would be an increased focus on ensuring the organisation's growth results.
Improve accountability, improve your business
Without accountability, an organisation would be like a bullet train without any confirmed end destination. Unclear priorities across the team and unmet team and individual goals can lead to low team morale, decreased employee engagement, and low levels of trust, resulting in high turnover and poor efficiency. Even if some actions like missed deadlines, subpar work quality, and lack of punctuality are tolerated by some members, it will likely become a norm for the organisation affecting overall quality and efficiency. For instance, if people realise that being 10 minutes late to a work meeting is okay and the actual deadline is seven days after the published deadline, it becomes a benchmark in the organisation that is considered 'okay'. It is a dangerous situation in which the team suffers first, but ultimately it impacts the culture.
Accountability in the workplace is designed to motivate employees to achieve the set targets that help achieve sustained business growth. It is critical to understand successfully accountable at the workplace is a marathon, not a sprint. It is a system built on trust, where employees feel empowered to hold themselves and their peers accountable for their actions and set goals. With the proper accountability framework, the business can achieve sustained growth in the long run.
When you maintain or increase accountability in the workplace, you're setting your business up for success. Use these tips to help you keep every single employee on track toward reaching their goals.
If you're ready to improve engagement and accountability, request a free demo from Mesh or contact us today.