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In order to achieve your business goals, it’s critical that everyone works together and shares accountability for timely, effective results. Employees who cooperate toward the same outcomes help the organization as a whole to become more accountable – and ultimately, more productive, efficient and profitable.

Accountability encompasses employees making themselves indispensable and leaders consistently setting the right example. It involves:

  • Completing assigned tasks on time and within budget.
  • Assuming full responsibility for job duties, plans, processes and results.
  • Consistently doing the right thing in all aspects of your work.
  • Dealing with the repercussions if you fall short.

Here are some tips for building accountability at every level of your organization:

Set SMART Goals

Goals that meet SMART criteria –Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Results-oriented and Time-based – allow employees to feel more capable in the work they’re doing. They also provide a method for accurate productivity measurement.

  • Help people see a perfect picture of individual and organizational goals. This encompasses short-term, intermediate and long-range plans.
  • Clearly outline expectations. Properly strategized SMART goals help employees to use their time more efficiently and give clarity to their decision-making.

Have a Strong Incentive Program

Team incentive programs help employees to self-motivate and more quickly reach their maximum potential. Under the guidelines of a robust incentive program, everyone works toward common goals and is appropriately compensated for exceeding expectations.

  • Reinforce behaviors that contribute to success. Reward top performers and motivate the entire workforce to enhance performance and increase business value.
  • Both incentive and recognition programs are positives. Incentive programs reward behavior before it has been demonstrated. Recognition programs reward behavior after it occurs. Incentive programs promote specific actions, while recognition programs focus on values such as idea generation, attendance and length of service.
  • The Society for Human Resource Management notes that more than 80 percent of companies now use non-cash awards for incentives or recognition. Incentive initiatives may include involvement in training or certifications, promotion of employee suggestions, product or quality measures or customer service advancements.

Encourage Prioritization

Accountability suffers when employees struggle to balance tasks and eventually become overwhelmed. Help them prioritize their responsibilities relevant to organizational goals. In the words of Peter Drucker, “If you want to improve how you manage time, stop doing what doesn’t need to be done.”

  • Mentor progress. Share the results with employees so they can see where they’re excelling and understand areas in need of improvement.

Display Personal Accountability

Leading by example helps you to build an accountability culture. Your employees will watch and mimic you. Knowing that accountability is something even management is responsible for will help them feel ownership.

  • Inspire people to greatness. Show them the way by doing it yourself. If your team knows that you’ll also do whatever you expect from them, they’ll likely work harder to help you achieve your – and the company’s – goals.
  • If you ask an employee to do something, make sure you’d be willing to do it yourself. If you want to implement new rules, follow them just as closely as what you expect from others. For instance, if you prohibit your staff from making personal calls on company time, you need to postpone responding to your own messages as well.

The recruitment and leadership development experts at BrainWorks offer cutting-edge strategies to help you build, develop and retain your industry-leading workforce. Read our related posts or contact us today to learn more.


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