Why is Accountability Important in the Workplace?
“Absolutely, it’ll be with you tomorrow!” Proclaims your colleague with a smile, only for the next day to roll around and absolutely nothing lands in your inbox.
How many times have you encountered situations like this in your workplace? How often do they occur?
Whether it’s a simple piece of paperwork you desperately need someone to sign before it gets submitted or an entire project that’s days overdue… it’s inconvenient and frustrating.
While some of the main causes of delays can’t be avoided entirely (like an employee taking sick leave), we have good news. There is one tool at your disposal that can be used in the fight against hold-ups… employee accountability in the workplace.
What is Accountability in the Workplace?
Accountability in the workplace is present when you assign ownership of a task to someone and then hold them responsible for completing it on time. If their target or goal isn’t met, you might:
- Communicate with your staff member.
- Assign more time to the deadline.
- Provide additional resources, such as employee training.
- Extend an offer of help and support.
Then, if the situation isn’t resolved, you might be forced to issue a warning or even take disciplinary action – though this should be seen as a last resort.
Accountability in the workplace can be implemented at all levels of your organization, but is most often enforced by team leaders. It doesn’t intend to shame someone, rather to build trust between team members and fuel additional guidance when it’s needed.
Why is Accountability Important in the Workplace?
Above all else, accountability and ownership in the workplace encourage your employees to deliver on their promises; stimulating proactivity and autonomy. Why?
Because it can be extremely motivating for your staff members to know that they might be called out for not completing to the deadline at a suitable standard.
As a result, your staff members will pay more attention-to-detail and be less susceptible to distractions (or procrastinations), increasing their overall output, engagement levels, and job satisfaction.
Examples of accountability in the workplace have proven that it’s particularly useful for driving employees to do the best job possible. This means they are more likely to seize learning and development opportunities that come their way, significantly growing their career potential.
That’s not all.
When targets are continuously met and goals accomplished, teams are able to better manage their workload, reducing average stress levels, and making individuals much more likely to support each other. When one person thrives, everyone does.
This is especially true in remote working environments.
4 Examples of Accountability in the Workplace
Accountability in the workplace builds a strong foundation for honest communication and allows you to set clear expectations across your organization. What’s not to like?
There’s just one small problem.
It’s a tool incredibly underutilized by leaders across the world, for fear of putting too much pressure on their staff. Seriously. Although considering employee wellbeing and mental health is vitally important, giving your team the responsibility they need to effectively complete their job is critical, too.
As such, accountability in the workplace might just be the key you are looking for.
1. Exceeding Normal Work Responsibilities
When employees are being held responsible for the work they do (receiving acknowledgement and rewards according to their output), individuals are more likely to “go the extra mile”. They’ll want to demonstrate that they are an asset to your company.
2. Volunteering for New Learning Experiences
If a staff member recognizes they are not working up to standard and have been offered additional support by a leader, they’ll be more likely to undergo additional training to get to the level they need to be. Rather than rejecting opportunities that come their way, they won’t want to let their colleagues down.
3. Sharing Knowledge with Others
As your employee’s will be on-top of their work, each one will be more emotionally available to support team members and ensure everyone is meeting goals. They’ll no longer be swamped down by work they should have completed weeks ago, getting more involved with their colleagues as a result.
4. Attempting to Participate
Finally, when accountability is present in the workplace, employees recognize the importance of stepping up and being proactive. They’ll become an engaged participant in team meetings and won’t back down from a challenge. Even if they don’t know exactly how to do something, they will be willing to give it a go – trusting their team to support them in the meantime.
Why Is Accountability Important in the Workplace? – FAQs
It’s clear, then, that accountability in the workplace comes with a whole host of exciting benefits.
It not only unlocks an organization’s potential to gain a competitive advantage, but also allows employees to achieve new levels of personal and professional development – motivated by engaging and enjoyable work.
Still, have questions? Perhaps these helpful FAQs will be of use.
- What is the definition of accountability in the workplace?
Quite literally, it’s when employees are held responsible for their actions. For example, if someone promises to meet a deadline and doesn’t, this will soon be addressed by the appropriate member of your leadership team. However, it isn’t always negative. When targets aren’t being met time and time again, more support can be offered.
- How do you enforce accountability in the workplace?
As someone with power in your organization, your best bet is to be honest and open with your team. Everyone makes mistakes and owning up to yours will encourage others to do the same. It will build trust with your colleagues and create a safe and supportive environment for employees to be held accountable for their work, asking for help when it’s needed.
- How do you create positive accountability in the workplace?
Your first step should be to implement communication channels at all levels of your organization. This way, you can start to integrate honest conversation into your work culture and make sure every employee can access a support network when they are struggling to complete work. Then, reward honesty and congratulate those who admit to their mistakes.
- Why is accountability especially important to a team?
No matter your workplace dynamics, colleagues always rely on each other to perform at a certain level. If standards and targets aren’t being met, others have to bear the weight of those consequences. Whether it’s the loss of an important client or conflict that arises because of a missed deadline, it’s better that employees know they will be held responsible for their output and work accordingly.
Hold Your Employees Accountable with Userlane’s Digital Adoption Platforms
One of the key parts of implementing accountability in the workplace is equipping your leaders with the ability to measure employee performance.
This might involve a comprehensive project management system, or insightful HRM software that analyses data and alerts relevant parties when someone might be struggling.
Essentially, to support an employee-centric workplace and create the potential for staff to work at their maximum capacity, you first need to understand their thought process.
- Are they delivering low standard work for a reason?
- Could it be they’ve not completed their training?
- Have they misunderstood something they were taught?
Instead of jumping to conclusions and being accusatory, take a critical view of your organization and try to identify where flaws might be arising. For example, if your team aren’t being supported through intense organizational change and digital transformation… it’s no wonder they are suffering.
Our Digital Adoption Platforms (which provide convenient and automated software training) give you a clear view of your employee’s learning journey to identify who is at fault and where accountability can be placed.