Employee Accountability – The New Buzzword

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The new buzzword is employee accountability. What does employee accountability mean? Basically it is holding the employee accountable for the outcome of the work that they are performing. That sounds simple enough in theory but can be harder to implement.

Employees have to know in advanced that they are being held accountable for the work that they are performing. A manager cannot just walk into the office today and discipline an employee for not meeting employee goals if you never told then in advanced that they were now accountable for their actions. It may work for employees that are meeting performance expectations but what if you have an employee that is not performing so well. How do you think they will react? Or worse, the employee feels that they are a top performer but in reality they are not. What is going to happen to that employee’s morale? Is this going to motivate the employee? No, in essence it is going to create atmosphere of mistrust in the workplace and you as the manager will lose their respect.

Employees have to know exactly what is expected of them.

Employees have to know exactly what is expected of them and believe that there is a fair and equitable process for tracking their performance and being evaluated. As a manager you need to establish a fair and equitable process for tying employee performance to the actual outcomes.

How do we do this?

  • In advanced, spell out expectations in realistic terms.
  • Track performance throughout the performance period.
  • Follow through with real consequences based on employee’s actual performance

The evaluation process must be performed on a regular basis. You cannot do this process once or twice a year; it has to be done on a regular basis. I have found that it is easier to meet performance expectations if I meet regularly with my employees then to only perform the action on a quarterly basis. I meet with my employees on a monthly basis and go over their performance. It is easier to correct a ship’s course by making small adjustments then waiting till you are about to hit a reef and take corrective action. Remember that you are the key to this process.

Things to Remember:

  • You cannot hold an employee accountable for something outside of their control.
  • Ensure that the employees know in advanced that they are now accountable for their actions, so they can adjust their behavior accordingly.
  • Raise your standards.
  • Separate yourself from your personal relationships with your employees. This includes going to lunch with them
  • If you have no authority, use influence.
  • Don’t micromanage.

Asking your employees to explain their performance can result in building better relationships, trust and confidence in the employees that you manage. You want your employees to know that you care about them and that when they fail to perform they will have a hard time looking you in the face and telling you, “No. I didn’t do it.”

Don’t establish a corporate culture that rewards mediocrity.

Imagine yourself as a new employee and how would you react to the culture? Here are a few things that new employees face when entering some businesses.

  • Peer pressure from co-workers for outperformance employees.
  • New employee asks why am I the only one working my tail off in this organization?
  • New Employee feels unappreciated and is wasting their time in this workplace.
  • New employee adopts the speed in which everyone else is working within the organization.
  • New employee is not encouraged to excel because they are being held to the same standards as those that do the least amount of work.

How to be an effective leader?


  • Creating smart, specific goals for employees that are from their performance standards
  • Create areas of responsibility
  • Create smart criteria for evaluations

Don’t risk losing your best workers or worse yet create a dysfunctional workplace where employees feel unappreciated, and favoritism is abundant. Engage with your employees and listen to what success means to them. You never know where your employees might take you.




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