Since the Covid-19 outbreak, businesses are under pressure like never before. With a huge number of organizations now working from home, employees and managers have had to regroup to find new ways to prove their value and show results remotely. When managing remote staff, it is important to engage the team and maintain a sense of wellbeing by creating an accountability culture.

Accountability will motivate your team and encourage them to keep the best-practice when they are outside of their typical work environment. Although working conditions might change – for example, video conference meetings and phone calls might be necessary – it’s essential not to let business standards drop as a result. We need to learn new strategies for ensuring transparency and building trust through remote communication, to which an accountability culture is key.

Communication is Vital

Ensuring that your team understands how to operate within their new working conditions is a key part of creating a culture of accountability. When not working in the office, it is difficult for managers to communicate with their team, which can lead to a feeling of isolation and disconnection.

Managers have to make sure that their team can access all the information they need to carry on with work at a high level from home. Offering access to files and providing equipment will remind employees that they are part of a larger organization. Communicating clearly how to work with the company’s files remotely and allowing staff to ask questions and express concerns to ensure accountability throughout the process.

However, it’s equally important that communication with clients, customers, and key business stakeholders remains frequent. Keep all parties up to date on any changes, including your hours, location, or contact details.

Beyond Coronavirus

Creating a culture of accountability during a crisis should lead to positive changes for your business that will last well beyond the initial problems. After the preliminary crisis management, your team can use this period as a time to reassess the way they do their business.

As quarantine begins to ease, and businesses are starting to operate as normal again, organizations must take advantage of the changes they have made and assess which ones they want to keep.

In all likelihood, working from home will continue to a larger extent than it did before the pandemic. the learning that has taken place during this time can be applied in the new normal of teams being distributed. The new sense of accountability developed during the crisis is a good opportunity to shift to a more transparent way of doing business long-term.

Accountability Environment

In an environment with low accountability, leaders have to micromanage, or they’re not getting results. Tensions are high, trust is low, and there’s more blame going on than constructive feedback and praise. Simply put, it’s a workplace with poor performance, low morale, and high turnover.

A culture of accountability is one in which managers and employees show ownership of their work and prioritize achieving company goals with integrity. Workers understand everything for which they are accountable and manage their work day in order to deliver. They are able to work proactively, making decisions and taking initiatives that are consistent with what is expected of them. Even more importantly, they become and remain motivated and committed to results. 

But creating a culture of accountability takes a concerted effort, supportive processes, and systems. Here’s how you can start building a culture of accountability:

Increase Your Own Accountability

If you want to create a culture of accountability, you’ll have to take a good look at your own accountability and where you could be doing a better job.

Try gathering information from clients, employees, vendors, and anyone else you communicate with professionally. Think about the times you may have let someone down, what caused you to fall behind, and what you learned from that situation.

Lead With Accountability

To create a culture of accountability, employees first have to see that the company leadership values accountability and operates with integrity. As a leader, if you fall into a pattern of missed deadlines, broken promises, or poor performance, your employees will see this and follow suit.

You also need to communicate openly with your team about actions, plans, and results. The key is to show follow through and own up to whatever occurs.

You might have to admit to miscalculations, errors, or shortcomings. This can go a long way toward building respect and trust within your team. It also gives you the opportunity to model resilience and grit as you course correct, overcome obstacles, and continue moving forward.

Normalize Feedback

In a culture of accountability, feedback should be a comfortable and normal part of your everyday work. If your team hears from you about their performance often, they’re much more likely to receive feedback well, even if it’s hard to hear. Nobody respects a manager who only shows up to criticize them when they’ve done something wrong. Instead of ‘performance management’, think ‘personal effectiveness coaching’. your job as a manager is to help ensure that each of your team members are as successful as they possibly can be.

The goal is to initiate a productive dialogue that will encourage accountability. If employees aren’t reaching goals, you need to address their performance issues. If something isn’t working, be ready to hear and address their concerns.

Set Your Team Up For Success

Building an environment that promotes accountability isn’t an easy, feel-good exercise, but a process that requires careful planning and constant evaluation.

After setting expectations with your vision, values, mission, job descriptions, and performance plans, the next step is to communicate critical dates, milestones, and deadlines. Implementing a program of accountability requires documentation, structure, and processes that will enable objectivity, consistency, and fairness.

At Effective Managers™, we have worked very hard over the last almost decade to build processes and systems to help organizations be more effective. By investing in the Resilient Organization program, you will see a significant ROI with your team collaborating and focusing on the right work.

The Resilient Organization Program

If you are the organization leader, and this sounds like something you may need, the Resilient Organization program is right for you!

We offer you a completely virtual assessment program. It’s a combination of virtual interviews of you and your executive team, a document review, and a short survey. The assessment is not intrusive, yet you will get an overview of your organization’s key issues.

After working with many companies around the world, we have come up with a method that helps you identify the key root cause issues and the tools to resolve them. You and your team can do the biggest part of the implementation of the change yourselves – not by working more, but by simply working differently. And we’ll show you how.

You will get a road map from us on how to work differently throughout the organization to achieve success. Many companies choose to implement changes on their own or with some additional coaching. You can choose a full suite of implementation tools with customized levels of support from Dwight.

You can learn even more about The Resilient Organization Program and how to be a better and more effective manager through the eLearning resources we offer to organizations like yours. Take a look and contact Dwight if you need some specific advice!