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How to Improve Employee Accountability

Employee Accountability
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Employee Accountability is crucial for the success of any small business. If your staff is working on a project and they have no accountability, then your small business can suffer. 

82% of managers acknowledge they have ”limited to no” ability to hold others accountable successfully. 91% of employees would say that “effectively holding others accountable” is one of their company’s top leadership-development needs.

There are many strategies a small business can use to improve employee accountability. What are some ways you can hold your staff accountable? You want systems and processes in place that allow the team member to thrive. 

Think about a construction business. If they don’t finish their project timelines, it becomes a domino effect, and everyone gets behind. Then, the client is unhappy, and future business can be lost. 

Here are some strategies you can use to build a culture of accountability:

Time Tracking Helps with Employee Accountability

Applying systems where processes are automated will hold your team members accountable. One way to do this is with a time-tracking app like ezClocker. For example, if you have an automated time-tracking system, you are holding your staff accountable by ensuring they are clocking in and out on time. If you have team members who work at different locations like construction, janitorial, or landscaping staff, tracking work hours with remote employees is easier with GPS tracking. This will help ensure your team shows up to work on time and in the right location. 

By using an automated time tracking system, you ensure you have accurate data collection, which eliminates human error or buddy punching. It also offers transparency. Team members can see how much time they spend at certain locations or jobs. By knowing this information, they can see how long it takes to do different tasks. 

Also, by discovering how much time is spent at a location or job, there is an opportunity for managers to evaluate performance with hard data. This also gives them data on how much time to plan for jobs, which leads to better project planning. 

There are many reasons for using a time tracking app to help improve employee accountability . Let your staff know the benefits when starting a new time clock system. 

Need an Affordable Time Clock App for Your Employees?

Set Clear Expectations

Set clear and specific goals, roles, and responsibilities for each team member. When everyone knows their role and what they should do, it becomes easier to hold them accountable. 

Make sure your leaders know that holding their staff accountable is vital to the success of the business. 

Develop Great Communication Techniques

One of the biggest issues small businesses can have is clear communication. Maintaining open lines of communication with your staff is important. Regular check-ins, team meetings, and one-on-one discussions can help clarify expectations and address any challenges your team members might have. 

If people don’t talk, other team members become confused. If your team doesn’t tell you when they’re having problems, their work might not be good. It’s also a good idea to tell your team when they do a good job and when they need to do better. If they do really well, give them rewards to show you’re happy with them.

Set Performance Metrics and SMART Goals

If you can, give your team the freedom to make decisions and take ownership of their work. Listen to their ideas. When your staff feels trusted and empowered, they are more likely to hold themselves accountable for their work. Are you sharing the annual goals with your team? If so, their goals should align with the goals of the business.

Some large firms have a system in place that they only give out so many “exceeds expectations” reviews. Employees and managers don’t like it as it doesn’t reflect their performance. What is the main purpose of giving performance reviews? 

Apply performance metrics to measure progress and results. Regularly review these metrics with your team to assess accountability. Also, ensure the goals are SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound) so progress can easily be tracked. Let them set their SMART goals. Ensure they align with the company’s goals.

Hold regular progress reviews where you can see if they have any problems in which you can help them succeed. 

Develop Consequences and Incentives

When you’re in charge of a team, it’s vital to make sure everyone does their job right. If they do a good job, think about how you can reward them for their hard work. But if the team is not doing well, you need to set up a system to make sure they do better.

You should also be a good example for your team. Let them know what you want to achieve as a leader. 

Show them how you want the business to succeed. They should also understand your company culture, your mission, and your core values. 

Training and Development

Offer training and development opportunities to enhance skills and knowledge. When employees feel they are growing professionally, they are more likely to invest in their work and take accountability.

Set a Collaborative Team Environment

According to the Society of Human Resource Management, the goals should be clear. Everyone should understand each other’s role in the project. This lets everyone know who they should ask for details on a specific topic. The team members must know their expectations and how often they should meet and communicate. Finally, all team members should establish a code of conduct of how they should talk to each other. 

By fostering a collaborative environment, your team learns to solve problems and overcome obstacles. This shared responsibility promotes accountability as your staff will work together towards common goals. Companies that promote collaborative work are five times likelier to be high-performing than those that don’t. This is also where training and development comes in. Does your team know how to work in collaboration with each other? Do your leaders?

Employee Accountability Challenges

There are some challenges when you start to hold your staff accountable such as:

Unclear Expectations

If your team is not sure what is expected of them, then they can become frustrated, and it is hard to hold them accountable. Are their goals written down, are they measured or tracked? How do your employees know their expectations? Also, setting unattainable goals can lead to frustration. It is better to set goals that they can actually reach. This way, they’ll be happier and want to do a good job.

Lack of Communication

Does your staff know the project goals, deadlines, or expectations? If you are not communicating with them, how do they know? Do they know the company’s goals? Mission statement? Can they describe the company culture? 

Inconsistent Feedback

Providing feedback is great, but if you don’t give it consistently, how does your staff know what you want? Also, does your staff tell you the truth? If they get in trouble more than they get praised, they might not always say when they make mistakes.

Lack of Resources or Training

If your team doesn’t have the tools or training they need, it can be tough for them to do their job well. That makes it hard to hold them accountable for results. 

Poor Time Management

Your staff might struggle with time management, leading to missed deadlines and incomplete tasks, which can affect overall accountability. This is where a time clock app can help manage time. 

Lack of Recognition

Without recognition or incentives for meeting or exceeding expectations, your team might not feel motivated to take on additional responsibilities. How do you motivate your team

Remote Work Challenges

In a remote work environment, it can be more difficult to monitor and ensure accountability due to the lack of physical presence and direct supervision.

Final Thoughts

A lack of accountability in the workplace leads to inefficiency and decreased productivity if you don’t have a good system in place. Start at the beginning and develop a process. For example, employee accountability needs to be established on the first day they start work. Furthermore, the more you can automate tasks like your time tracking system, the better it is to hold others accountable. Also, if you have leaders who are not holding people accountable, then they may not be good leaders. Change can be hard when you are implementing a new system. It is vital that your leaders are on board to help you achieve your goals. 


Author: Kimberley Kay Travis

Kim Travis has over 20 years of experience in business, human resource management, and leadership roles. She has specialized knowledge in employment law, employee relations, recruiting, management consulting, small business growth, leadership development, workplace safety and health programs, and writing business content.

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