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How to Create a Culture of Workplace Accountability

Employee Engagement / Human Resource Management / Leadership Development / management skills
How to Create a Culture of Workplace Accountability

Your aversion to confrontation creates an unproductive, toxic work environment. Your motivated workers slowly become less engaged as they see underperforming individuals avoid accountability. We are here to show you how to hold your employees accountable and improve overall performance.

Have the Tough Conversations

Holding workers accountable does not have to be confrontational. The key is to not focus on the person. Instead, focus on their performance. The vast majority of people are not being difficult on purpose. They genuinely want to do a great job. You can begin with specific examples. If something went awry, you might ask your employee what their perspective is on what went wrong. Seek to understand why specific tasks were performed or actions were taken throughout the conversation. Your assumption of why they screwed up could be wrong. Be ready to listen.

Poor Performance Must Be Addressed Immediately

As quickly as possible, deal with the worker one-on-one. If you don’t confront the issue, nothing is going to change. You also want to avoid the individual’s non-performance becoming a bigger problem or your frustration building up to a breaking point. Figuring out the why behind the inadequate performance is a must. For instance, an experienced team member may have too much on their plate, while a new worker might just require extra training. A lazy employee may respond well to heavy-handed authority. And, you might coach a highly conscientious employee a little more.

Create Goals

It’s a pain to take the time to write down goals, policies, and procedures when your workload is already heavy, but in order to stay inspired and to perform well, workers must know what’s expected of them which can relieve stress and improve clarity. Try creating some SMART goals with your team if you find a consistent lack of accountability. SMART stands for specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely. Develop these goals with the employee so they have buy-in.

Check in Regularly

Keep a record of what was said in each conversation. You do not need to involve HR, but email yourself and the worker to outline the solutions you both agreed upon, the expectations for future behavior, and what issues you addressed. This gives you a paper trail if further action is needed and clarifies the conversation for everyone. Lastly, you can check in the next day to see if the employee has any questions, see how things are going after a week, or follow up after some other set amount of time.

Eventually, holding employees accountable will become a simple habit that will keep them on task and motivated.


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