Are you wondering how to improve employee accountability starting with your new hires? The surefire way to accomplish this is by setting up a system that demands accountability from day one, making it a natural part of your hiring and onboarding process. This kind of “systemic accountability” can be accomplished in five logical steps:
Step One: Clarify Accountability Expectations
Make employee accountability a clear expectation from the minute you interview a strong candidate. When your employees know that they will be expected to provide not just high quality work, but responsiveness, timely completion of tasks, and verifiable proof of their work, your organization will run more smoothly.
Making sure your new employees know what the expectations are and how to meet them sets them up for success and can take a load off of your mind. You won’t have to constantly chase and follow up if you have a system in place to guide them from their very first hours in your organization.
Step Two: Create an Accountability Framework
You can only demand accountability if you create a framework that makes it a natural part of the workflow. For example, streamlining your training process with automated steps that trigger “finished task” emails on completion can help you stay on top of how your new employees are progressing through the hiring and onboarding pipeline.
By providing a solid framework that makes accountability a no-brainer, you show your employees exactly how to comply with your requirements and make the onboarding process easier. They’ll appreciate the clear direction and the intuitive flow of the process.
Step Three: Provide Motivation for Accountability
Set your employees on the right track and give them something to work toward with incentives that propel them forward in their journey through the training funnel. A great idea is to kick-start their PTO with a few hours in their “bank” once they’ve successfully completed all company training modules.
When you reward employees early in the onboarding process, you gain their trust and build their confidence. Over time, you can build on these small tokens of appreciation to engender deep employee loyalty (the secret to long term employee retention). Small things like the ability to occasionally take off early on a Friday or come in late on a Monday can make your employees feel valued.
Step Four: Test During Onboarding
A solid onboarding process is critical to your company’s success. You can use automated training tools to track your new hire logins and monitor their progress through your company’s onboarding process. Consider using simple tests that appear at the end of each module or segment of your training materials. This can allow you to request accountability in the early stages of employment. Testing can prove to new employees that you mean what you say about demanding honesty and hard work, and allow them to show you what they’ve learned.
By building such testing into the onboarding process, and making it easy for the employee to comply, you set the stage for accountability during the span of their employment with you. This is preferable to hiring a bunch of employees and later realizing you failed to set up expectations for accountability. Trying to institute accountability after the fact can lead to resentment – especially among your best employees who may feel they aren’t being fairly treated as a result of other employees not doing their jobs.
Step Five: Continue Testing During Training
The concept of testing for knowledge and skills can be extended throughout the training process. Ditch training manuals and employee handbooks. Instead, automate and digitize this process. Every new skill your employee learns should be immediately tested as part of your training framework. This can help avoid miscommunications, quickly discover any inability of an employee to comprehend the material, and reduce time lost due to incomplete or inconclusive training processes.
How Does Employee Accountability Impact Your Entire Business?
Teaching your employees to be accountable will provide your organization (and yourself) with multiple benefits in the years to come. Benefits of systemic accountability include:
- Higher productivity. Employees who are taught to be accountable will accomplish more.
- Deadlines get met. Employees who are accountable don’t let task due dates go by without explanation.
- Acceptance of responsibility. When employees are held accountable, they must own their assigned tasks.
- Reliable task completion. If a task hits a snag, accountable employees follow up and follow through until they accomplish their goal.
- Less micro-management. When your employees are taught to be naturally accountable, you don’t have to waste time chasing them for status updates.
When you make accountability a cornerstone of your onboarding and training process, you lighten the load on yourself, your department heads, and HR. The result is an organization that seamlessly scales without issues when adding new hires, and which can retain the best employees for years to come.