Why Accountability Matters
November 2, 2022

By Sue Winkler, Director of Client HR Services

 

Companies are finding new ways to work with the significant increase in offering remote, hybrid and flexibility options to more employees. But the learning curve has been steep for many.

Although articles about the Great Resignation have tapered off, the voluntary quit rates have not changed much. In 2022, the voluntary quits have been averaging four million each month, slightly more than the 2021 average. Added to this is a new phenomenon, Quiet Quitting, which is defined as employees who put in only the exact hours and effort required to fulfill their job duties. These employees tend to be disengaged and are just doing the minimum to get by at work.  A recent study reported that as many as 25% of workers fall into this category.

With the rising incidence of “quiet quitting,” we may be experiencing even higher voluntary quits as it relates to productivity and efficiency. Whether the person leaves or just checks out, this is not the new normal employers want to deal with.

So, what can employers do? Whether your team is onsite, working remotely or  a combination of the two, positively impacting your employees and your workplace requires employers to build a culture of accountability.

 

Misconceptions

Managers have often struggled with establishing accountability. They faced  time constraints and lacked the tools to present a culture of accountability in a positive way. Traditionally, negative connotations are associated with holding someone accountable. It has been viewed as  finding someone to blame or point the finger at, micromanaging, or not trusting employees to fulfill their responsibilities.

But accountability can lead to less oversight and building more confidence and trust. It is anything but negative. And it’s the core of managing people. Holding employees accountable is one of the best gifts you can give. Accountability provides the guardrails that lead employees down the right path. It provides clear lanes, so they know what they are responsible for. It sets them up for success.

 

Positive Changes

Previous articles in this series addressed the importance of employees feeling connected and valued. These are not only at the foundation of engagement, but the cornerstones needed to build a culture of accountability. Let’s look at this from the employee’s perspective.

Survey after survey reveals that employees want growth opportunities, and they want a manager who is looking out for their interests. In order to grow, employees need to demonstrate that they can handle their current workload and effectively operate in the workplace. It’s more than taking on tasks, it’s about taking on responsibility. Accountability cannot be delegated, so managers need to have their teams accept responsibility. To accomplish this, make responsibility about them and their growth opportunities.

Here’s how:

  • Explain why their job matters and your expectations.
  • Be clear about the job duties and their level of ownership in completing it.
  • Tell them what’s in it for them, including how success in their current role will move them closer to their goals.
  • Teach your team how to manage their time and set specific outcomes for them to achieve.
  • Invest in the relationships with your team and within your team. Strong teams don’t want to let each other down.
  • Get and give regular feedback. Expect the person to give updates and let them be proud of what they have accomplished. Follow up and provide honest feedback that is constructive.
  • Celebrate when things go well and give others credit.
  • Provide opportunities and visibility but know the limits of your team. There is a fine line between stretching a person to grow and overwhelming them.
  • Create a safe place for your team to fail, ask questions and seek support. Be available and understanding when things go wrong.
  • Be consistent.
  • Model everything you teach and expect.

To combat the labor market concerns every employer is facing, companies need to be more intentional with activities that support accountability. Even if your team has remained in the office, these initiatives are just as important as those managing remote or hybrid teams.

 

The Value of Accountability

Holding others accountable takes work. Leadership must support, train and encourage their managers and make this a priority for their company. And it must be done right because employers need people with specific skillsets and experience, and these people are not always easy to find. Retaining employees and keeping them engaged is the most important initiative a company can undertake, and it starts with building a culture of accountability. When done well, accountability instills pride in the person performing the work, opens opportunities for them to grow, builds loyalty to their team and leads to success for the company.

 

You Are Invited

To continue this conversation, join us on November 10 for our complimentary webinar “Remote or not – Employee Accountability Matters.” And remember, the Client HR Services Team at Miller Cooper is ready to assist with any specific questions or HR needs. Reach out to Sue Winkler, Director, at swinkler@millercooper.com.

 

Compliance Corner:  Time Off to Vote

Did you know that 31 states, including Illinois, require employers to offer time off to vote? Be sure to check your state laws so you’re in compliance and are ready to address employee questions as November 8 approaches.

 

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