Jeannette Linfoot, founder of Jeannette Linfoot Associates, shares valuable insights with SMEToday’s readers on the crucial role of accountability in business. Going beyond the conventional approach of task delegation and deadlines, accountability in business revolves around enforcing a shared commitment. This involves outlining the company’s mission, values, and goals to establish a unified expectation, ensuring individuals are held responsible for their contributions.
A vital component to business success, accountability involves taking responsibility for your actions and being willing to answer for their good and bad outcomes – something many businesses still struggle with. According to author and transformational leader, Anne Loehr, 93 percent of employees don’t even understand what their organisation is trying to accomplish so they can align themselves with that goal.
Additionally, 85 percent of leaders aren’t defining what their employees should be working on, and 84 percent describe themselves “as ‘trying but failing’ or ‘avoiding’ accountability, even when employees know what to fix”. Accountability, ownership, and clarity of workplace responsibilities should be established at each level of an organisation from the top down. Here are some important reasons why.
Improved employee performance and engagement
Employees need clear expectations to thrive and without those expectations, employee engagement will drop. Not only that, if employees aren’t engaged research shows they are more likely to quit, which is bad news as according to Gallup research, only 34% of employees report being actively engaged at work.
When a strong culture of accountability is in place, employees understand the expectations set for them and strive to meet or exceed them. They take personal responsibility for their work, making sure it is done to the best of their abilities. This leads to higher productivity levels and improved overall performance.
When employees are held accountable for what they are supposed to do it builds trust among individuals and teams. This allows team members to feel they can rely on one another, whether in terms of meeting deadlines, completing tasks or when it comes to asking others for help.
Some employees find it difficult to open up and ask for support. But, by instilling accountability you can create a safe space built around trust, ultimately strengthening your team.
Business leaders also need to show accountability, lead with transparency and communicate openly. This too will help build a trusting environment.
Enhanced company culture
Accountability is a core component of positive workplace culture. It is based on responsibility, integrity, honesty, and a willingness to engage in continuous improvement – all of which are the same elements that form a strong and positive company culture.
Having a strong company culture has positive implications on happiness at work and employee engagement and productivity. In fact, as many as 94% of managers and 88% of employees believe solid workplace culture can guarantee the success of a business.
Two important factors that contribute to a strong company culture are the values and norms under which your employees operate, and healthy accountability in the workplace has a powerfully beneficial effect on those values and norms.
Rather than fostering an environment of paranoia and worry about heavy consequences for failure, your employees will operate from a place of safety and mutual concern for one another. This will, in turn, help improve your company culture overall. Focus on improving accountability and company culture will follow suit.
Accountability can significantly boost employee morale. When employees see their colleagues and superiors are committed to their work and accountable for their actions, it sets a positive example and motivates others to take responsibility for their own roles and responsibilities.
Accountability can promote a sense of purpose in employees by helping them understand how their work contributes to the organisation’s overall success. When employees understand the impact of their work, they are more likely to have positive morale and to feel fulfilled and motivated in their roles.
Achieving business goals
Ultimately, an organisation’s success is built on the collective efforts of its employees and working towards a common goal. When each person is accountable for their job, responsibilities and outcomes, the business is more likely to meet its goals and achieve its mission.
This leads to increased profitability, growth, and a competitive edge in the market.
Accountability in the workplace can be hard to find, but businesses thrive with it, and it is one of the most important characteristics of high-performing teams and employees. If you want to make a difference in your workplace, then you must take ownership over the things that happen.
By prioritising accountability, you can create a more engaged and satisfied workforce, and drive your company’s success in today’s competitive business environment.