Employee accountability is a key factor in the success of any business. In fact, employees want to feel as though they are being held accountable as it equates to a sense of responsibility and to intrinsic, harder-to-define motivators like purpose, accomplishment, and significance. Making your employees more accountable therefore makes them more engaged and engagement makes great business sense. Especially as the opposite, employee disengagement, costs U.S. companies between $450 and $550 billion dollars every year.
At the same time, it is important for business leaders to maintain an open and innovative workplace culture without putting too much pressure on employees. Check out the following ways you can keep the scales even to enhance workplace satisfaction and increase employee productivity by making employees more accountable for the results of the company:
Hire the right people.
While the following tips can be implemented with those people you currently employ, hiring the right people at the start is paramount. Avoid interviewing and hiring only those people with ideal professional pedigrees and educational merits. Instead, hire for work ethic, rational optimism, emotional intelligence, and goal-driven personality. Sprinkle these new recruits among current staff.
Get employees to contribute and be part of defining the results.
Employees and middle management staff who are encouraged to define and measure company results can then be held responsible for meeting and exceeding those results. This thereby creates their own accountability and keeps employees engaged with how on-track they are for meeting those goals and results, ultimately boosting employee productivity.
Implement SMART goals.
In encouraging employee-made goals and company-wide goals, ensure every goal is SMART — specific, measurable, achievable, results-focused, and time-bound. This helps get employees to focus on how to achieve the desired results and allows your middle management team to more accurately measure employee progress for accountability purposes.
Step back and offer flexibility.
When employees ‘own’ their own pathway to results, they are more apt to become solution-based problem solvers. Therefore, you want to avoid employee micromanaging and instead allow workers the freedom to develop their own methods and achieve goals through their own efforts.
Share and reward what works; acknowledge what doesn’t.
You know the quote, ‘the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.’ Yet, no matter how much it’s repeated, in our work we continue to see companies and employees engage in activity that over and over again fails to provide results. The best way to step out of such a cycle is to bring awareness (but not rebuke) to activities that don’t work or otherwise don’t provide desired results while simultaneously acknowledging and rewarding behaviors and employees who are successful and meet or exceed desired results. Implement a formal recognition process and publicize employee achievements during meetings and company publications to motivate other employees and further increase employee productivity.
Be fair with consequences.
While you and middle management should avoid harshly rebuking or otherwise punishing employees who try new routes or engage in calculated risks that don’t pan out, you should not nix employee consequences altogether. Accepting minimal effort or repeated failed results from marginal employees can and often will reduce incentive for co-workers to work hard and meet their targets. Fair and appropriate consequences for failed employee productivity may include HR counseling, detailed performance improvement plans, position transfer, or similar formal discipline.
At Equal Parts Consulting, our experience shows that employee productivity is inherently tied with employee engagement and accountability. To learn more about these key facets of business success and how you stand to benefit, contact us today.