WORKPLACE accountability is vital to success. Accountability is where a person is expected to take ownership of their actions or decisions. It is particularly important for corporate leaders to have a high degree of accountability as they manage human and other resources. Creating such a culture gives management opportunities to model and enforce workplace behaviour, while keeping everyone working towards shared goals.
Louisiana State University's research reveals that workforce accountability is easily achievable if companies commit to the following:
- Clearly define job descriptions and responsibilities. When each worker fully understands their position, it creates a clear direction for both the employee and team. Each job description should include competencies and expected outcomes, which lets employees know exactly what management expects of them as well as the consequences for unsatisfactory performance.
Creating this understanding for each employee can help improve personal accountability and workplace behaviour.
Ensure everyone has the tools and resources he or she needs to succeed. This could mean equipment and staff, as well as training. When people have the tools they need to succeed, they are better prepared to work towards shared goals. Following up periodically to determine if employees are receiving the support and tools they need creates an atmosphere of value, which can motivate them to contribute above and beyond what the company requires, as well as supporting accountability in the workplace.
Provide support for flexible and independent teams. The freedom to work as one sees fit is essential to maximising employee contributions. Employees must explore their own ideas to invest in shared goals rather than watching management step in to enforce changes in direction, which can devalue their sense of belonging and importance. When employees have ownership over projects, planning and problem solving, they are more inclined to be personally accountable for their workplace behaviour.
Evaluation is a key component of accountability in the workplace. At both the team and individual levels, it is important to periodically evaluate needs, roles and mistakes. This can lead to higher personal and team accountability. Conducting SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) regularly often proves beneficial to keeping a finger on the pulse of team effectiveness.
Leaders must lead by example. Open dialogue ensures that not only individual contributors but also managers are accountable to their co-workers and the company at large. Employees benefit from an open-door policy that encourages timely and effective discussion to prevent mistakes from going unaddressed.
Accountability in the workplace is essential to an efficient office. From employee to manager, and from the public to the private sector, everyone should understand his or her responsibilities within a department or team so that everyone can work together towards a common goal.
When mistakes occur, employees in an accountable environment may be more apt to draw on the resources they have available to address issues and move on, improving the workplace culture for everyone.
• NB: Ian R. Ferguson is a talent management and organisational development consultant, having completed graduate studies with regional and international universities.
He has served organsations, both locally and globally, providing relevant solutions to their business growth and development issues. He may be contacted at email@example.com