Accountability means that every employee, no matter what position they hold within the business, is responsible for their own behaviours, performance and decisions. If you’re after a more productive team, the importance of accountability in the workplace really shines through.
Allowing your team the responsibility for their own work and the decisions that come with that can boost morale and make people more productive. If they feel trusted to get on and complete projects, they’re going to push harder for a high standard. No one likes being micro-managed so having the space to do it themselves and work to their own initiative will give them more freedom and confidence.
How do you promote the importance of accountability in the workplace?
Talk about it
Have discussions about what responsibilities you’re placing on people and what you expect from them in return. This way no one will be unsure of how to carry out their work and you’ll see a boost in the confidence of your employees. Also, let them voice their ideas and concerns. Let them tailor the way you implement it into your daily routines for the best outcome.
Creativity will shine through when you get people together to talk things over too. There may be people that are confident in undertaking projects you wouldn’t have thought about. Or you might get new ideas for ways you can ensure people understand the importance of accountability at work.
Any opportunity you have to talk to your team will help eliminate surprises on both parts and build those all-important work relationships that are key for a productive and trusting workplace. If you’re routinely missing deadlines or targets – talk to those involved. It might be a more simple fix than you think.
Make it a valued topic
Add it to your list of company values. If you value accountability, so will your employees. They’re going to align with your goals and will want their priorities to match those of the business. If they didn’t, they wouldn’t be working for you!
If it’s something you are reminding people to strive for, they’ll implement it more readily in their work lives. As adults, we know we have responsibilities in our personal lives because they’ve been drilled into us. But many people forget they have to be accountable at work too because we have delegators!
Your company values should come up in most meetings, so implementing accountability will make it a regular topic of conversation. If people are constantly being reminded, it will become a habit in no time. You’ll see a rise in productivity and your team will be reaching out to take responsibility rather than you having to tell them. You’ll get the highest quality work from the conscientious, responsible employees.
Give regular updates
Let your team know how they’re getting on. This is a better way to instil communication than by micro-managing their workload. Instead, make sure they’re getting regular updates on progress so they have a reason to keep working hard. They’re getting results for their effort and are being motivated by you to keep up the good work!
This also helps encourage ownership of larger projects in the long run because they’re confident you’re happy with their progress and so the confidence they have over their own work is boosted. A lot of us struggle with self-confidence so find any way you can to boost it in your employees. It will be highly appreciated.
Regular feedback – whether one to one or as a team – also allows you the chance to keep up to date with projects and milestones within the business. Let the employees give you feedback too on how they think it’s going. Any hiccups or challenges can be resolved before things get too complicated or it gets too far down the line to make changes.
Lead by example
Whether you’re a manager, head of department or business owner, you are setting the tone for everybody else around you. If you want a certain culture within your workplace, you have to take the lead and show others what’s expected.
If you find that being late to meetings and missing deadlines has become part of your company culture – you must be lacking accountability in the workplace. It’s ok when there are legitimate reasons. But if you’re working for clients and missing their deadlines regularly, you might start to find that you’re losing customers. It’s crucial you set clear expectations.
Be responsible for your side of the business. You might have hired people because of their expertise and capability, but don’t forget what promises you’ve made too. If you’re constantly pushing things to one side or not meeting deadlines, your team will follow suit. So lead by example and hold yourself accountable.
Keep track of everyone’s responsibilities
Having a place where the whole business can see what’s expected of each faculty or each person could be beneficial for maintaining the importance of accountability. Instead of being forceful and brash when something hasn’t been done – it gives people a chance to be reminded and re-take control over the situation.
If you’re aware of everyone’s workload, you can be available if needs be but you won’t need to step in unless they’re asking for help. The whole point of accountability is that you and your team are taking responsibility – it doesn’t mean you can sit back and watch each other struggle. It’s there to strengthen relationships and boost confidence.
Also, make it clear that this is expected of everybody. So no one feels at an unfair disadvantage and they are all on the same page. This way, the day to day running of your business will be far smoother and less hostile when there are deadlines to be met.
Provide learning opportunities
If you’re working on accountability, you have to remember that people don’t know everything. Too much pressure on their side may make them feel like they can’t ask for help. Ensuring your employees know who they can come to will reinforce the ability to take responsibility. It will also remind them that you’re a team. Everyone is on the same page and everyone needs help at some point!
If you find that they could benefit from some extra development, why not offer some courses? This way they’re actively taking control of their work by growing within the business. Anything they aren’t sure about now could be figured out and they’ll leave feeling refreshed and ready to approach new challenges.
Internal or external development opportunities work great for boosting creativity. If you’re noticing common challenges between people working on a project – use employees that might have a better idea to teach everyone how to approach it. This way, they’re still taking responsibility and you’re letting them overcome it between themselves. Your team will feel more comfortable asking each other for help which will make the workday more efficient.
Benefits of workplace accountability
It’s all well and good knowing the best ways to establish it, but you have plenty on your plate as it is. So why should you bother worrying about your team being proactive?
Well, productivity and responsibility mean results. You’d be surprised how positive the outcome is when you take time to develop the environment and work on your employees as well as the business itself. It’s truly worth the difficult conversations you may have if it sees a boost in reaching your business goals.
Builds a strong culture
A lack of accountability can snowball throughout your entire team. It’s easy to get caught up when you can see other people getting away with it in the first place.
When you make it a priority and hold everyone responsible – you’re giving them a reason to strive for excellence. People will work together better to ensure the whole team is living up to expectations and achieving the goals they all agreed on. If they’re aware it’s everyone’s job – you’re pursuing a workplace environment with equal opportunity and teamwork already in place.
Holding people accountable for their actions proves that people can count on each other to pull their weight and work together to meet deadlines and fulfil duties. With this trust comes positive relationships and a work environment that sees productivity and engagement.
It can be hard for employees to ask for help – especially when you’re pushing the importance of accountability. But if you’re leading with complete transparency of what’s expected and allowing them to communicate freely – it will open up opportunities for the business to grow. You’ll be developing trust at all levels in the company.
As we’ve said before – if your employees know what they’re responsible for and who else is accounting for the other duties, it eliminates confusion and boosts productivity. Pairing this with a defined method of evaluating their performance will keep them on track and give them a reason to strive for those targets.
It is important to educate people on business expectations, as they may well change between projects. But by doing this – no one will be let down or surprised when things get going. They’ll know how to improve and what needs prioritising.
In the same way, it’s just as important to remember to reward those who are exceeding your expectations or consistently working with the company values in mind. Show them how appreciated they are and they’ll continue to work just as hard. With no reward or positive outcome – what’s the point of doing it?
The importance of accountability at work is clear. It will benefit your business in more ways than one. By allowing your employees to take charge of their own responsibilities and know where to come for help – you’re going to see a peak in productivity and overall engagement. Employee advocacy is vital for any business, so focus on your values and you will be rewarded with a strengthened culture and positive results.
If you’re looking for some more guidance or just aren’t sure where you should be taking your business next, I’m happy to help! With over 30 years in the industry, I’ve successfully worked with a range of businesses to develop effective business plans, incorporating innovative sales and marketing features that provide the right results. Together, we can transform your small business, and unlock its true potential. Contact me today at email@example.com or complete the contact form here and I’ll get back to your shortly to discuss your individual requirements.