Improving Employee Accountability to Enhance Business Outcomes

Employee accountability is important across all industries and positions. It can literally drive business success or be the reason why a business fails. Nobody is perfect and we all make mistakes, which is why everyone needs to be held accountable for their actions. Not only is it a good way to drive business success, it can also help each employee with personal and professional growth. Some employers are proficient at leveraging a solid compensation system as a way to motivate employees and inspire optimal performance. It works because you are linking accountability to pay. This is usually in the form of a rewards system. There are many other ways to improve accountability in the workplace.

When a new employee is hired, one of the best things you can do is establish expectations. This should be done as soon as possible, which is often during the initial training phase. Not only should you start when they’re first hired, you should communicate expectations often. A healthy employee training program will include an acknowledgement of performance standards that are part of the job responsibilities. An example is requiring each team member to take ownership for the outcome of a project. That means it’s unacceptable to place blame elsewhere when there are multiple people on a project. In addition to fostering accountability, it cultivates collaboration because resolving issues on a project often requires a coordinated effort.

It’s difficult to hold someone accountable for something they don’t know about. If there is an issue with an employee, it’s important to communicate with clarity so that they understand what needs to be addressed. This should take place during performance evaluations where feedback is provided. It’s important to ensure the feedback provided is actionable so that you aren’t wasting your times simply telling the employee what’s wrong without discussing how it should be resolved. Keep in mind that feedback shouldn’t be negative, it should be constructive. When you provide constructive feedback, there’s a greater chance that the employee will receive what’s being presented. The reality is that everyone across all levels of an organization has room for improvement and should be held accountable for resolving whatever issues exist.

There are some work environments that are more conducive to holding employees accountable in a way that’s effective. If you have a work culture that’s toxic and everyone is in fear of losing their job, it can be difficult to provide feedback freely without creating a disruption. It’s one of the reasons why supervisors do themselves a disservice when they are disrespectful and create a hostile work environment. It ends up having the opposite effect. While fear can sometimes be a motivator, it can also destroy morale, which can reduce productivity. Instead of cultivating fear, it’s important to foster a culture where everyone feels empowered to make decisions. When a person feels empowered, they will usually surprise you by outperforming expectations, which is beneficial for many reasons.