Six Seriously Simple Hacks To Propel Accountability In The Workplace

Vartika Kashyap
6 min readAug 10, 2020


“It is wrong and immoral to seek to escape the consequences of one’s acts.”

― Mahatma Gandhi

Research by the US Office of Personnel Management has suggested that accountability results in improved capability and increased dedication to the role, boost in employee morale, and higher levels of workplace satisfaction.

Coming from the research conducted by a premier institution, one can’t help but agree that accountability in the workplace is one of the crucial components in the success of any high-performing team.

Businesses that practice the culture of accountability are more successful in keeping their staff engaged and retain most of their most productive employees. Also, accountable employees are generally more responsible for their work and highly driven to make a significant contribution to propel the company forward.

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What Exactly Is Accountability In The Workplace?

I have met many people who tend to take responsibility and accountability as the same thing, which is not correct by any stretch of the imagination.

Job responsibility encompasses the duties and roles you are expected to perform at work, all tasks that are part and parcel of your job. Whereas, job accountability is how employees understand their role in the organization and take responsibility for their decisions and actions.

Whether results are successful or not, accountable employees do not blame others. Rather, they accept responsibility and deal with repercussions.

Some Examples Of Accountability In The Workplace Are:

  • Employees coming to work and leaving on-time
  • Employees adhering to the company’s work ethics
  • Employees completing the tasks assigned to them on or before set deadlines
  • Employees working jointly to achieve organizational goals
  • Employees being responsible for doing their duties that are part of their job

Why Accountability Matters BIG TIME?

As the Chief Marketing Officer at ProofHub, I can tell you that every employee, irrespective of his/her designation, is responsible for contributing to the success of the company. The efficiency and accuracy of the work produced by employees are directly proportional to how accountable they feel for the work they are doing.

A lack of accountability at work does not send out a good signal to your staff. It implies that below-par standards are acceptable at work, even though it is NOT. This approach will even rub off on high-performing employees too and they may become relaxed or casual in their working style.

To meet the long and short-term goals of your organization, it’s imperative that all employees of the company should work together and be held accountable in equal measure.

What Managers Can Do To Promote Accountability In The Workplace Smartly

Clearly Define Expectations

There are few things worse than having an individual or a group of employees working to complete a task(s) without any sense of purpose or direction. What I mean here is that employees need clearly defined expectations to achieve common goals. Without it, there’ll be confusion regarding job responsibilities, which is not why are you reading this article!

As a responsible manager, you are expected to set goals for each department or team, broken down to each and every employee — what is expected of them and what they’ll be accountable for. When employees are crystal-clear about what they have to do, they become more clear about job responsibilities. It is known to be one of the most effective ways to foster accountability in the workplace.

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Focus On The Performance, Not The Person

The big mistake that some managers make is that whereas they are supposed to focus on the individual’s performance, they begin to target that individual for lackadaisical performance — and, that’s the biggest mistake they make!

This is something that needs to be avoided at all costs. Assume that most people are working to do a good job and do not perform poorly on purpose.

Who would want to be blamed for the project failure in a team meeting and listen to mouthful from the manager? For example, “Ricky, you are not completing tasks on time and your work has so many errors in it. May I know where things are going wrong for you? Is there something I can help you with?

Try to understand why the employee took certain actions or performed tasks incorrectly? Remember, it’s not always the individual’s fault for poor performance at work. There can be other reasons, like lack of training, lack of tools, distractions at work, etc.

Address Poor Performance As Soon As Possible

Once you have figured out why behind the poor performance, you should use your managerial skills to find an effective way to deal with the problem. What’s causing the poor performance? For example, a new employee may not have the best tools to do the job, while a seasoned employee is overburdened with tasks.

A hardworking employee may do with some coaching while a lazy employee may respond better to heavy authority. Whatever action may be required, a good manager has to make his expectations from the employee clear and concise while going forward.

In case, you’re dealing with a rotten apple (bad employee) then you need to rely on both verbal communication and written goals and instructions. The employee won’t be able to make an excuse that “he didn’t know”, and the manager will have to think hard about what is needed to improve the performance.

Use The Right Technology

From biometric devices, time and attendance software to project management and team collaboration software systems, there are many feature-rich tools available in the market to keep your employees accountable by tracking their work. When employees know their work could be easily checked, they are likely to stay conscious of their activities and cut down on procrastination and other non-work activities.

Using the best tech has helped businesses of all sizes and types to lower employee turnover, improve teams’ functionality, and flourish innovation in the workplace. It’s important for managers to conduct research on what type of tools meet their workplace requirements.

Using technology will also alleviate your workload as most things are automated. For example, no need to manually enter clock-in and out of employees with biometric devices such as fingerprint and retinal scanners

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Create an Environment of Trust and Support

In the absence of trust in the workplace, employees are likely to act less responsibly. Instead of creating solutions to problems, they are likely to blame others because they don’t want to face the consequences of their mistakes. This is not how a team is supposed to work.

As a captain of the ship, it’s your responsibility to create an environment where all employees trust and respect each other. Such environments encourage employees to stay accountable, work hard, and have confidence in themselves as well as their colleagues in finding a solution.

At the same time, managers should also give the credit where it’s due. Always appreciate the good work of your employees. It is the most motivating of all forms of feedback.

Monitor Progress

An experienced and skilled manager never misses out on monitoring employees’ progress. It’s but natural that we will try to perform to the best of our abilities when we are conscious that our progress is watched by our seniors. We all want to score good marks in the books of the management, don’t we?

Along with monitoring your employees, you should also share progress reports with them to let them know about areas where they are performing very well and where they might need to improve.

For example, every morning, you can always ask the employee how things are going on as you pass their desks. Or, you can also ask the employee to follow up with you after a set period of time.

Summing Things Up

Being a team manager in your organization, the onus is on you to establish a mindset that your employees do not run away from taking responsibility for their actions. Rather, they should work at their best and be ready to celebrate the success or accept the failure of their performance.

Building a culture of accountability is not an easy task, but it ain’t a herculean job either that cannot be achieved. All it takes is determination, positive approach, and smart skills from you to take your workforce into confidence.

In the long run, it will help to make your employees more productive and develop skills to become leaders, while exhibiting 100 percent commitment to work.

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Vartika Kashyap

Chief Marketing Officer@ProofHub. Featured writer on LinkedIn. Contributor at Elearning Industry, Dzone, Your Story and