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Corner Office: Enhancing Workplace Accountability

by Natalie Klyashtorny
A recent survey conducted by the AMA Enterprise, a division of the American Management Association, indicates that many business leaders believe that accountability in today’s workplace is not as high as it should be. According to the survey, 11 percent of business leaders believe that more than 50 percent of their employees shirk accountability and 21 percent believe that the percentage of their unaccountable employees is between 30 and 50 percent.

The perception that employees are not accountable for their actions negates trust between employees and their managers and undermines workplace morale and esprit de corps. As a consequence, employee performance and productivity suffer, potentially resulting in higher turnover of employees and greater cost to the employer. Accordingly, fostering greater employee accountability should be a priority for all managers.

Creating a corporate culture in which employees feel comfortable accepting responsibility is an on-going process that takes time to develop. Managers can enable greater accountability in their employees by taking the following steps:

• Keep the lines of communication open. Managers should make an effort to communicate in an open manner with their subordinates on a regular basis. Ongoing, continuous communication between managers and employees builds trust and inspires confidence.

• Be specific in articulating goals and expectations. Managers should articulate the goals of the company and/or department to their employees and what is expected of each individual employee. Lack of communication about both short-term and long-term expectations is frequently cited as one of the reasons for low morale and accountability.

• Be generous with praise. Studies have consistently demonstrated that employees, especially younger ones, value intangible rewards more than financial ones. Managers need to keep that in mind and make an effort to praise their employees on a regular basis. On the flip side, criticism should still be offered, but in a constructive manner that does not attack the employee on a personal level.

• Invest in mentoring. When dealing with younger employees, managers should invest in creating mentorship relationships whereby older employees and/or managers in other departments can provide guidance and advice to subordinates. Mentorship relationships like these, where the mentor is not the mentee’s direct supervisor, enable the professional development and maturity of employees and, thereby, teach greater accountability.

Motivating employees to become more accountable may seem like a daunting challenge. However, by creating an atmosphere of trust and openness with their employees, companies will reap greater rewards in the long run.

Natalie Klyashtorny is Of Counsel to Nochumson P.C., where her practice focuses in business and commercial counseling and labor law. litigation and employment and labor law.

Published (and copyrighted) in Philly Biz, Volume 1, Issue 11 (November, 2016).
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