Culture Is a Bottom-Line Issue

Top-performing companies understand just how critical the workplace culture is to their success, so they’re intentional and systematic about how they create, drive and describe their cultures. The very best companies—those with the highest-performing teams and most robust bottom lines—make accountability the centerpiece of their culture.

A culture that embraces accountability fuels employees to deliver every day, all day and all year. Employees who are accountable are more engaged: they show up for work each day and work hard while they're there. Accountability helps to reduce absenteeism, lower turnover and minimize time wasted on activities such as social media and office gossip.

If your organization is not meeting goals and growing, then your culture may be the culprit. If that’s the case, how can you turn things around and start building an “accountable culture”? Here are six steps.

Add accountability to your core competencies. Competencies are the skills and behaviors that set apart your company from you competitors. Include accountability as one of your core competencies and promote the competencies throughout the organization (e.g., on your website, on bulletin boards, in employee communications). This will help employees see just how important accountability is to the company.

Hire for accountability. Ask behavioral interviewing questions to elicit scenarios about job seekers’ experiences with accountability. Hire candidates who make accountability a habit.

Onboard for accountability. During onboarding be sure to focus on the skills and behaviors expected across the organization and send a clear message: accountability counts in this company! Let new hires know that it’s a minimum performance standard.

Build accountability into your performance management. If accountability is indeed a core competency, you should evaluate employees on how well they demonstrate it. Have managers address accountability during regular performance reviews and work with employees to continually improve accountability measures.

Train managers at all levels to model accountability and to manage fairly to that outcome. Micromanagement may deliver outcomes for awhile, but managers need to learn how to delegate successfully so that they and their direct reports operate daily with an accountable mindset.

Reward accountability. Accountability is hard work. Lift up as examples those employees and managers who go above and beyond. Encourage those who demonstrate strong accountability with monetary or other rewards (extra paid days off, special parking privileges, a gift card, etc.)

As you build a culture of accountability, rate your people on a 1-10 scale in terms of the percentage of goals met well and on time. Then work to move employees up the scale. What would happen if the average employee moved from a 6 to a 9? Your expenses wouldn’t change, and the increased productivity would translate into more profit!

If you intentionally raise the bar by defining accountability in your culture, incorporating accountability into your talent management programs and providing manager and employee training around accountability, your highly engaged employees will likely sell more, deliver better customer service, produce higher-quality work and solve problems faster and more effectively. All of these factors directly impact the bottom line.

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