How To Increase Accountability In The Workplace | 4 mins read

How to Increase Workplace Accountability

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By Mary Kate Morrow

There are many common misconceptions regarding how to increase accountability in the workplace.

Introduction

Business professionals should actively consider how to increase accountability in the workplace. A company culture of employee accountability will result in better customer service experiences and high performing employee engagement levels.

How to Develop a Culture of Accountability

A high accountability workplace is one that creates and maintains a company culture based on trust, respect, and communication. Contrary to popular practice, employee accountability is not improved through negative reinforcements ranging from micromanagement to unnecessary disciplinary consequences. Rather, employee accountability is developed through positive reinforcements ranging from providing additional support to actionable feedback.

A company culture of workplace accountability must include genuine trust not only in one's own personal accountability capabilities but also in the ability to hold other people accountable for their responsibilities. Some warning signs of a low accountability workplace include-

  • Late or unfinished deadlines
  • Inconsistent work quality and employee performance
  • Customer service issues
  • Frequent social medium miscommunications
  • A decrease in high performing team members
  • Heightened workplace anxiety and stress levels
  • Frequent mistakes
  • Negative company culture
Unfortunately, workplace accountability is a problem area for many companies. Countless business owners are unsure of how to increase accountability in the workplace or what best practice techniques are available to help address workplaces that lack accountability.

Too often, businesses attempt to use employe accountability best practice techniques on overly competitive, stressed, and individualistic employees. It is much more effective to work collaboratively towards workplace accountability improvements than individually.

Build a company culture that is communal and collaborative rather than individualistic. Too often, accountability is associated with blaming someone else or immediate defensiveness because most people have been taught that workplace accountability is necessarily a stressful and negative experience.

To improve accountability we must practice not only taking responsibility for mistakes but also holding people accountable for their successes. A company culture that focuses on positive feedback, support, and communication will much more effectively increase accountability in the workplace.

Tips to Increase Workplace Accountability

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There are a variety of best practice techniques that business professionals can use to increase both personal accountability and successfully holding people accountable in the workplace. These tips include-

1. Providing accountability workplace training- Every team member should be provided with accountability workplace training. Accountability workplace training is especially important for leadership and manager employee roles.

If not given proper accountability training, top management leaders will struggle when holding people accountable and may even lack personal accountability themselves. Managers should not only demonstrate personal accountability through their own actions but also help each employee feel motivated to hold themselves and others accountable.

2. Give a clear expectation to employees- 85% of employees report that they were unsure of what objectives their organizations were trying to achieve. A clear expectation of roles, responsibilities, and desired outcomes are crucial for increasing workplace accountability.

Before you hold people accountable always make sure employees were provided a clear expectation of their responsibilities. No team member can understand who should be held accountable without understanding who is responsible for what.

Regular check-ins and progress reports can keep an entire team accountable as well as each team member individually. Consistent communication is essential between every team member involved in a project. Not only will a clear expectation raise employee engagement levels but it will improve customer service and production capabilities.

3. Grant appropriate resources- Every team member should have access to the resources needed to perform their job responsibilities. Employees should never be held accountable for outcomes in which they were not provided the materials or resources necessary to complete the task.

If employees need to obtain resources from someone else make sure that you provide them with contact information and consistent guidance. If management lacks accountability for providing resources employee engagement levels will decrease.

4. Communicate and connect- Employee accountability increases when every team member feels connected to their work. Whenever possible make sure to connect personal accountability to the objectives of your business as well as individual employee goals.

High performing employees thrive in a positive company culture where there is frequent communication. Employees are much more likely to practice personal accountability and feel comfortable holding people accountable if they have healthy relationships with one another.

5. Encourage constructive feedback- Constructive and actionable feedback will increase accountability in the workplace. When holding people accountable you must provide them with a clear expectation for both what was done well and what could be improved.

When providing feedback be as specific as possible. For instance, if someone is struggling with customer service protocol, provide them with distinct examples of conversations.

Make sure to always provide employees with the resources needed to make actionable improvements. For a customer service protocol issue, you could offer them the opportunity to shadow a high performing employee during their customer service interactions or additional training courses.

Remember, people react better to positive feedback than negative feedback. You do not want to create a company culture that is fear based and discourages people from taking responsibility because they do not feel their job is secure. You will increase accountability and high performing employee engagement when you make every employee feel valued, respected, and secure.