Holding employees accountable has been shown to improve the overall performance of an organization. But organizational accountability is not easy to achieve. It involves giving employees freedom to work the way they want to while holding them responsible for their actions. This blog gives a few tips on how to achieve organizational accountability.
The workplace is a diverse environment where people of not only different cultures and backgrounds come together but it is also a place where people who have different working styles, talents and abilities meet to achieve a common goal. This kind of workforce needs some degree of empowerment to carry out its work and yet it also needs to be held accountable.
Thus, a fine balance is required – one of giving employees enough freedom to be creative while also holding them responsible to the task at hand. This might be a little difficult to achieve but it is not impossible.
What Is Organizational Accountability?
Organizational accountability means having everyone in the organization work towards the organization’s mission and vision by defining everyone’s role in it. It means each employee is held responsible for his assigned task and its completion.
What it is not is a set of rules that have to be adhered to at all times failing which disciplinary action will be taken. This kind of a punitive environment will only make employees resist or fear accountability.
Therefore, to achieve accountability, it is necessary to make employees aware of the bigger picture – to clearly define their role in the organization and how this role contributes towards the organization’s mission. When employees understand this, they are less resistant to accountability.
Breaking down what is expected of employees can help understand accountability better. In practical terms, accountability means the following:
- Being punctual for work and working for the agreed hours
- Fulfilling all the responsibilities of the job description
- Fulfilling any other tasks that have been agreed upon and assigned
- Delivering quality work consistently
- Cooperating with colleagues to achieve results
- Approaching the management with difficulties or challenges
One of the main considerations while hiring people is their ability to be original and creative and when this is so, they also need to be given the space to handle things their way. In other words, some amount of freedom is a must at the workplace. That being said, accountability is also a must.
What is needed is a balance between allowing employees their creative freedom while holding them responsible for the results and ensuring the organization’s standards stay high. This is a fine line indeed but one that can definitely be achieved.
Given below are a few ways that can help build accountability:
- Employees should first be made to understand their roles and what is expected of them.
- For this, communication is of prime importance.
- Transparency within the organization too is a must.
- It is also essential to have core policies which everyone should adhere to – things which the organization considers non-negotiable.
- Thus, in simple terms, it is about setting boundaries for employees but allowing them their freedom within it.
Giving Regular Feedback
- Positive feedback will motivate employees further while negative feedback will let them know where they are going wrong and will help them take corrective action.
- Either way, both kinds of feedback are important and essential.
- The management too can invite feedback from the employees – this will help them see their employees’ viewpoints as well.
- For the comfort of the employees this feedback can also be made anonymous in the form of a suggestion box.
- Achieving organizational goals more than individual goals gives employees a feeling of satisfaction.
- Being part of a team and achieving something that makes a difference to the society definitely makes everyone feel good.
- This is easier if leaders are approachable and hence, they too must make an effort to stay in touch with their employees.
- One-on-one meetings between employees and leaders can motivate employees immensely.
- When employees feel proud of having contributed to their organization’s mission, they find more purpose; this indirectly serves to promote accountability.
- Leaders need to be role models when it comes to showing accountability.
- By making processes transparent, by sharing both achievements and challenges, and by owning up to and rectifying mistakes, leaders can show their employees the way.
- When a leader approaches an employee to talk about his/her performance, it promotes a sense of teamwork and reliability; when leaders help employees through tough times, it builds loyalty and all these indirectly work to increase accountability.
Keeping Track of Work
- Sometimes, when people have some way to measure the work they do, it helps increase their accountability.
- This can be done in a variety of ways.
- For some, it might be a software that keeps track of the hours spent on work while for others it might be as simple as a checklist or a weekly job completion report.
Providing a Safe and Supportive Work Space
- Promoting a culture of accountability and providing a safe work space, both go hand-in-hand.
- When accountability is expected from employees, it is important to provide a work culture that will promote an atmosphere of learning.
- That way the employees will feel safe admitting their mistakes and will take responsibility for their actions.
- This will in turn also encourage innovativeness as employees know that the company supports them.
Benefits of Accountability
Accountability should be stressed on in an organization as it will hold individuals answerable for their actions and will stimulate them into performing to the best of their abilities.
Employees are more committed; they help each other through difficulties and the workplace becomes a happier space. When individuals feel responsible for their actions, it also promotes a feeling of autonomy which is always appreciated by employees.
Other than this, there are a number of things that accountability promotes:
- It boosts morale
- It makes clear communication necessary
- Projects get executed on time
- Increases trust
- Increases job satisfaction
- Boosts performance of the organization as a whole