Gallup is a company that has spent decades focusing on employee engagement. They have always known how important engagement is, and they have tried to instill that same mindset in companies across the world. Each organization can benefit significantly from higher employee engagement, but more often than not, it doesn’t receive the attention it deserves. This is because it is not understood that one must increase accountability to improve engagement.
It has been proven many times over that high employee engagement results in better performance. Consider these numbers published by Gallup comparing organizations in the top quartile with organizations in the bottom quartile of employee engagement:
- Engaged employees have 48% FEWER safety incidents
- There are 41% LESS quality incidents
- Absenteeism is 43% LOWER
- Customer ratings are 10% HIGHER
- Productivity is 21% HIGHER
- Profitability is 22% HIGHER
In essence, employee engagement is an excellent indicator of success in almost any dimension a leader can imagine.
Improving Employee Engagement Is Crucial for an Organization’s Success
Even though you certainly agree that engagement is essential to your organization’s continued success, you still need to understand how it can be improved. The real truth is that this cannot start with the employee – it has to start with the manager. Their work matters greatly, and it influences the overall engagement, which is precisely why improvement has to start with them.
Whether you are an owner, executive, director or front line manager, you need to work on creating a culture of accountability. By doing that, higher employee engagement will follow with ease.
It sounds easy, but many managers get it wrong by promoting responsibility. That’s because responsibility is not accountability. By enabling responsibility, you are effectively creating a culture where employees are required to do their work without the context they need to make decisions consistent with your vision and goals. Such an atmosphere can work, but it’s not sustainable and will not help you leverage your success to the next level. That’s precisely why a culture of accountability truly matters. Leave ‘responsibility’ behind and focus on accountability.
So, with all of this in mind, we wanted to give you five different ways to increase accountability in your organization. The five methods based on learnings from Gallup, but they have an added twist we at Effective Managers™ have developed over many years of research and continuous improvement.
Let’s take a look:
1. People Need to Know What They Are Accountable for
The first step in creating a culture of accountability is defining what everyone needs to be accountable for. This is important because they can change over time.
At most times, everyone on your team will have goals and clearly defined expectations. Those will usually include supporting the company’s mission, vision, and values. All of these things needs to be continuously in focus, meaning that your team needs to know that these goals are real, and that they will be held accountable for the results.
However, there will still be short-term tasks that they need to complete and their ongoing ‘job description’ work. Whatever the case is, you need to be available to their subordinates and help them by refining the context for their work, and helping them keep on focus. This includes being explicitly clear about the authority they have to do their work. This starts with teh authourity they need to have for their managerial leadership work do they can be successful managers.
2. Everyone in the Organization Needs Goals
When delegating work, the manager needs to set measurable and individual goals that align with the role each subordinate has. It’s not enough to have company-wide goals and metrics that need to be followed. These are too broad to be achieved in a short time. All team members will be much better at doing their work if they have clear goals that are in line with their specific roles.
This is important because employee engagement cannot exist unless your subordinates feel sufficiently motivated.
Poor leaders think that company-wide goals are sufficient context for getting the work done. The faulty logic goes like this: “They are capable people, and get paid a good salary. They can figure it out.” Certainly, your people want to do good work. But if everyone ‘figures it out’ for themselves, you will lose the synergy of the team focused and collaborating on the work that you need done to meet your unit’s goals. Part of the work of the managers is to review the goals that have been delegated to them and decide what they alone must do. What remains can then broken down into pieces of appropriate complexity that can then be delegated to subordinates. In this way, each individuals work goals have a link right back to the organization’s strategy. Each employee is motivated by the underrating that they are accountable for a piece of teh organization’s success.
3. Updates and Feedback Matter
It’s one thing to give employees something to strive for, but communicating those goals to them is a separate matter.
Feedback starts with appropriate delegation. Yes, delegation must be two-way. The manager needs to understand that the subordinate understands exactly what needs to be done, and by when. Two-way communication is critical.
There then needs to be regular communication in terms of how the work is going. This must not be micromanagement, nor perceived to be micromanagement. This is all about understanding how well things are going, reinforcing what they are doing right and coaching when there are areas for improvement.
This culture of sufficient feedback and updates is important in an organization where managers frequently have conversations with their subordinates.
4. Progress Should Always Be Celebrated
Individual successes matter more than failures, which is why we believe that it’s necessary to recommend the celebration of individual achievements. Whenever an employee does some outstanding work, you should praise them.
By identifying and celebrating individual successes, the entire team can learn. Out of that knowledge and insights, employees can gain additional motivation to do their own work and reach achievements that will be praised as well.
5. Development, Growth, and Learning – All Need to Be United
In the end, the company’s overall growth and progress needs to be aligned with the individual employees’ growth and opportunities to advance. Your organization should have clear opportunities for its employees so they can develop, learn, and grow with the company.
This is extremely important for newer generations. It’s especially important to millennials who feel that opportunities to learn and grow in their job are the most important thing they want to have in their company.
By following the advice we’ve given you here through these five steps for improving accountability, your company will be well on its way to increased success.
You can learn even more about accountability and how to be a better and more effective manager through the eLearning resources we offer. Take a look and contact Dwight if you need some further information, or to discuss how these concepts may apply in your organization!