How To Encourage Accountability In The Workplace

Accountability is a concept that is vital to the success of your business. This is because it draws your employees out of their shell and enables them to put in performances at a high level. Adequate or high productivity is, therefore, tied to the ability of your employees to be accountable and responsible.

Despite the benefits of company-wide accountability in a high-functioning workplace, many organisations don’t put this concept into practice. This can be due to various reasons. For example, calling for responsibility can come off as being confrontation and overly demanding.

Some employees can also perceive asking for accountability as an extreme form of micromanagement.

Read on to find out how you can encourage accountability in the workplace without coming off as an overly imposing boss.

How to foster accountability in the workplace

Not all employees are the same. They each have their personalities, driving forces as well as discipline and ability to adhere to the principles of the workplace. It can, therefore, become quite difficult to bring all these personalities under the same umbrella and have them accountable and responsible for their actions.

Despite the seemingly sisyphean task of getting everyone to be accountable, there are a few ways in which you can pull it off. And when you do, you’ll not only foster cooperation but also improve productivity.

Here is how you can foster accountability in the workplace.

Start from the very beginning

When you’re bringing on a new employee, you need to inform them of your expectations of their role in the company.

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By instilling this in the employee during the on-boarding process, you ensure that they know their responsibilities and that you’ll be looking out for the quality of the work they put in.

This results in an employee that is accountable for the results they get throughout the tenure of their post.

Define goals

Related to the previous point, you need to clearly lay out what you expect from each employee or team. Inform the employees of the goals they need to hit so that they are aware of what it is you expect from.

The most effective way of ensuring accountability in the workplace through this method is by setting goals with comprehensive and solid goals. This ensures that the team or individual knows exactly what they are working towards.

When everyone is working towards the same goal, they do so with chemistry that’s a product of pulling in the same direction.

Make accountability in the workplace part of the company culture

Define what accountability is in your company. In the majority of your meetings with the different teams, ensure that you let everyone know that they are accountable and responsible for the outcomes of the particular task.

Emphasise the importance of accountability as a way to make everyone’s role easier and a way to propel the business to greater heights. Everyone wants to be part of a successful business entity.

Don’t shy away from the difficult conversations

If a certain employee consistently delivers results that are below par, the other employees might take it as favouritism. You, therefore, need to pull the underperforming individual aside and find out why they’re delivering less than what is acceptable.

Now, although this might be a difficult conversation to have because it might come off as confrontational, you must go through with it. And it doesn’t have to be in a manner that embarrasses or makes the individual feel unappreciated.

When conducting this conversation, hone in on the performance and not the individual. Ask them why they couldn’t fulfil the set goals, how they went about their work and how you can fix any issues they experienced in their role.

This is because sometimes the underperformance is the result of the employee not understanding what is expected of them or they don’t have the necessary tools to perform their tasks.

Accountability in the workplace

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Provide feedback on performance as early and regularly as possible

For employees to know that they are on the right track to achieve the set goals, they need constant feedback on their performance. This enables them to adjust accordingly depending on how they are performing in their bid to complete the assigned tasks.

Performance can be judged from employee surveys or from feedback gleaned from the company’s customers and clients. However, you can get a clearer picture of performance from having regular one-on-ones with your staff.

This allows you to assess the problem as soon as possible. Not only does it do this but it also enables your employees to feel valued. They feel they are an important member of the organisation by getting face time with someone higher up in the hierarchy.

Don’t be afraid to make the workplace a bit laidback

We don’t mean you should let loose and let standards go down the drain, but it wouldn’t hurt to be a little bit more casual around the workplace. In other words, you shouldn’t treat your employees as merely a means to put the business in the black.

Give the workplace a pleasant vibe that enables employees to be more enthusiastic about coming in to work. In such an environment, they can be more open about what they don’t understand about the goals that you’ve set.

This environment also makes them more open to approach you and talk about any obstacles that they might face in achieving their goals. You can further make them open up more if you approach them humanely and casually rather than behind closed doors in an office or conference room.

A casual environment, therefore, fosters accountability in the workplace by allowing the employees to be more open and fess up to their shortcomings in their efforts to achieve the set goals.

In Summary

Accountability in the workplace can be a difficult concept to create in the workplace because everyone is different as an individual. The inability to be responsible for one’s actions might stem from their natural demeanour or from the culture of the company.

To turn this around, set clear and define goals with observable metrics that the employees can follow. Additionally, provide frequent feedback regarding performance so that individuals and teams know where they fell short.

To encourage employees to be self-accountable, tweak the company culture to ensure that individuals can freely approach you or their immediate supervisor to work out how to improve their productivity.

Gerald Ainomugisha

Gerald Ainomugisha

Gerald is a freelance writer with a pen that is keen for entrepreneurship, business and technology. When he isn't writing insightful articles on employee engagement and corporate culture, Gerald can be found writing for a number of media outlets.