One may say that accountability in an organization exists when all employees can be depended upon to do what they have acceded to do without any exceptions. Accountability is often an innate commitment that comes from an employee—it is not something that can be written, recorded and signed.
Actual accountability is an intangible feeling rather than something that can be enforced with rules, threats, coercion or intimidation. It is voluntary. The commitment is about going beyond the call of duty and contributing to the well-being of the organization without really having been told to do so.
Lack of accountability can have debilitating effects on the structure and growth of an organization. Financial losses, loss of business opportunities and reputation are only a few of the measureable damages that it can cause.
If people are what make the organization, then getting the right people for the job makes all the difference. Slipping into an organization’s work culture, understanding its goals and supporting it go a long way in getting employee accountability into place. Here are a few time-tested ways of making employees accountable for their actions:
Go for a one-on-one approach. As the head of the organization, taking the trouble to work with each employee at some level or other helps move a step closer to achieving accountability. Leaders can be advisors, guides or trainers even to employees who are well-experienced. This approach can work as a morale-booster for an old-hand as well as a newbie.
Break it down into bits. Target specific goals for each team member. Throw in an incentive or a bonus and be innovative with ideas. Every task that a team member performs eventually affects the final performance of an organization. Let every employee know this. Monitor progress at frequent intervals. This can bring forth issues that may otherwise go unnoticed until it reaches a point of no-return. Nip problems in the bud. Provide resources and feedback and clear hurdles and you will find that success is within reach and so also accountability.
Consistency is the key. Keeping at it may seem tough at first, but if you see the rewards, being systematic helps you be consistent, so you might not want to be to the contrary. Stay with it, make it a habit and accountability can be achieved and so also success.
An approach geared towards creating greater employee accountability in an organization has a lasting effect on an employee’s work performance and ultimately of the organization as a whole. To do this, it is important to know and convey the core values of the organization to all employees. Clarity is always better than ambiguity, as far as accountability is concerned. Employees should ensure that the processes and yardsticks to measure work productivity are a proper match. If the two are incongruous, the results will be distorted.
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