How to create a culture of personal accountability in the workplace.
Creating a culture of personal accountability isn’t easy - it takes time to implement and takes hard work to maintain.
What is personal accountability?
Leadership coach, workplace consultant and author Cy Wakeman defines personal accountability as "the belief that you are fully responsible for your own actions and consequences." [Forbes.com]
In the workplace, personal accountability needs to be more than a word that describes how your organization operates - accountability means having consequences for your organization, both positive and negative, and applied consistently.
How to create a culture of personal accountability
Laura Moody, one of G&A Partners' Client Advocates and HR experts, offered the following advice on how employers can create a culture of personal accountability in their own workplaces.
Start by setting clear expectations, and communicating them clearly across the organization. Communicating the organization’s mission and vision, employees' roles and responsibilities. and the standards to be met is critical to creating a culture of accountability. The clearer the expectations are, the easier it will be for managers to hold employees accountable.
Unfortunately, many employees may view accountability as something negative that only surfaces when performance declines or problems develop. The key is to communicate that accountability is everyone’s responsibility in the organization. Work with your employees to make sure everyone understands how their role benefits the organization and that they commit to the standards and expectations that were set - and don't forget to put it in writing!
Measure and monitor performance.Make sure to measure employees' progress with the expectations that were set and determine what areas particular employees might need improvement and those areas that were successfully met.
Provide regular, ongoing feedback. Continual feedback to the employee is essential! When working to create a culture of accountability, it’s important to link accountability to consequences as part of the performance management process. Make sure to highlight both the areas for improvement as well as the positive things that the employee has accomplished.
Don’t forget to model the behavior that you are seeking from your employees.
Be sure that you are acting the way that you want your employees to act. If you fall short, talk about how you are working to improve and holding yourself accountable to the same standards you expect from your employees.
If an organization does succeed in creating a company culture of integrated accountability, the results can be very positive, including greater accuracy of work, greater cooperation with coworkers, better decision-making skills and higher employee satisfaction.
An HR Advisor in G&A Partners' Austin office, Laura is an experienced human resources professional with more than 15 years of experience developing and implementing HR and workforce policies, procedures and practices. Laura earned her bachelor's degree in Communications from the University of Texas, and her Master of Business Administration with a Human Resources concentration from St. Edward's University. She holds the Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) designation from the Human Resource Certification Institute.