The boss isn’t the only one who needs to think about accountability in the workplace. The entire team in a business setting needs to work together to achieve culpability so that everyone is working to the best of their ability and skill level. A high-functioning unit will pay off when it comes to the ongoing success of a company.
Accountability is the responsibility of each employee to complete their tasks, to be present and on time for their shifts, and to perform their duties within the company. Each member of a working team needs to be accountable for their own work, so that the business can thrive.
Research shows that accountability leads to increased dedication in staff, heightened capability, better morale, and higher levels of satisfaction within the workplace. When each colleague is committed to initiative and ownership of their own output, no one is left to take up the slack of lower-functioning employees, and each person within that working environment will feel pride in what they bring to the table. An insistence on accountability by the management fosters an environment where these expectations of effort are a regular part of a business’s ethos.
So what are some of the ways to instill a sense of accountability within your team?
Set clear expectations. Know exactly what you need from each team member, and then communicate this to everyone. Specificity is key: ensure that you are communicating exactly what you need from your staff so that there is no room for confusion. There can be expectations for the group as a whole, as well as more specific tasks to help individual employees improve their productivity and accountability, but lay this out very clearly so that everyone understands their part and can act accordingly.
Clarify your goals. Knowing how to implement your expectations means having a clear set of goals for each member to achieve, both individually and collectively. Just as you laid out your expectations for each member of the team, so you must be very explicit in your objectives, for individual departments, as well as the company as a whole. It is your job to make sure everyone is on the same page.
Connect. Really helping your employees understand how important or valuable they are to the business means taking the time to really connect with each individual voice. Make sure you are attesting to their individual strengths and affirming their importance to the team. Everyone wants to be valued, and to have their work appreciated. Don’t overlook the importance of this step if you really want to foster a solid network whose members share the same goals, and who understand why their own contributions are important to the overall achievements and forward progress.
Give freedom. Employees have more independence when they can be in control of tracking their own time and output. There are different tracking apps out there that allow for easy and accurate tracking, with features such as multi-timers, GPS capability to ensure route accuracy, and timesheets which can be approved instantly by an admin. Software like this is a great investment for your team, as the benefits include loss of time theft, the elimination of buddy-punching, and inspire accountability in each employee to track their time and labor effectively. Everyone is invested in honestly reflecting hours worked so that wages are accurate, so this is a really great strategy to inspire greater accountability, as well as allowing employees greater agency and ownership.
Provide deadlines. This is a really important part of accountability and often has to come from an outside source for it to be highly beneficial. Intrinsic motivation is often something we think we can manage, but in terms of being accountable to your team, extrinsic deadlines are best to help really cement that piece. This benefits both employee and employer. Lay out clear due dates for each piece of work so that your team members can refer to them as they complete tasks. You can even set reminders for due dates, which will help to spur employees to complete things by deadline.
Implement time and attendance software. Just as we discussed allowing more freedom for your employees by enabling them to complete and upload their own time information, you can enable software that helps to track attendance. There are many software features that allow for virtual ‘clocking in’ with methods like facial recognition, which is another safeguard against time theft. You must be upfront with your team if you are going to use this sort of reporting, however. Give everyone notice before bringing in a biometric device, be transparent about the reasons you want to use this technology (loss of time theft and buddy punching), and maintain a commitment to safeguarding every individual’s personal information and data. Make sure this is clarified with your staff and any concerns addressed before you enable any of this technology.
Biometric devices include things like fingerprints and facial recognition software for clocking in to a shift and ensuring the correct employee is matched with the correct information about their work hours and output, and even location. Understandably, the use of biometrics has many benefits, but there may be concerns you will need to address. Get educated on the pros and cons of these devices, so that you can assure your team that you are putting in the correct amount of data protection, and answer any concerns that come up when the discussion happens so that everyone gives their informed consent.
The adoption of this software into workplaces is rising, but it is also an area of consideration when it comes to its ethical and privacy uses. It can certainly be uncomfortable to provide your fingerprints or facial recognition scan to your workplace. But in this fast-paced world of technology, we need to remember that our phones already carry our prints, our bank machines scan our faces when we withdraw money, airports scan both when we travel. There are many benefits to both employer and employee when it comes to using these devices.
For an employer, ease of administration and a safer workplace are immediate benefits to biometrics. Permissions are suddenly unassailable; if the user of machinery, for example, requires certain licenses to carry out their duties legally, or there is an age requirement for a task, biometrics can immediately weed out any illegal attempts. Fraud is reduced when biometrics are used to clock time, which has positive implications for everyone involved. Businesses are safe in the knowledge that the data recorded is accurate, and employees understand that their paycheck perfectly aligns with their worked hours with the increased accuracy of payroll. A scan also replaces the traditional password now, which have always been prone to hacking even when they are changed at regular intervals. Better security is another perk which is gained for both business and team member when the use of biometric devices provides only authorized access to sites and ensuring that an employee is who they say they are.
Regular performance feedback. This is such an important factor in promoting accountability in your employees. Knowing that they are improving (or not) will give them the drive to accomplish more and better. Help each team member understand and recognize their strengths as well as acknowledging where and how they can do better, so that accountability levels rise as they work to address the deficiencies and work harder on their talents to continue to be valued for their hard work.
Following up. If you have laid out all of these steps to get your team’s accountability high, you can’t forget the last, crucial step. Following up is key to maintaining a continued consistency and a level of effectiveness and productivity that everyone will be proud of. Whether in person at their desk, or with a friendly email as an individual progresses in their tasks, following up is so important to keep everyone on the same page. When everyone is driven to succeed to their highest level, your business can only get better.