Let’s Talk: Accountability – How do you ensure your employees deliver?

Image Credit: Brett Jordan on Unsplash

Building a culture of accountability is challenging. The starting point is effective leadership; finding a way to balance autonomy and empowerment with personal responsibility and business outcomes.

So, how do you create a framework that engages your employees and ensures they deliver every time?

Let’s Talk…

Jason Toshack, General Manager ANZ, Oracle NetSuite

“The key to an effective and cohesive team is complete alignment towards a common goal. Whether you have a remote or office-based team, the core principles remain the same.

“For best results, business leaders should ensure team goals and expectations are clearly communicated in order to keep momentum. Lines of communication should be open both ways – schedule regular catchups with your team to understand their pain points and what can be done to improve or support their performance goals. These conversations can help keep everyone focused on the bigger picture and boost morale.

“As many businesses migrate towards a hybrid approach, a wealth of digital tools enables employees to collaborate seamlessly and better deliver on their objectives.

Ultimately, it’s down to leaders to foster an environment where employees can reach their full potential. By providing timely feedback, encouragement as well as the necessary tools, will empower your team to deliver results and remain motivated.”

Michelle Klobas, Client Services Director, Gallagher Bassett 

“From the start, you need to be clear on your expectations, deliverables and timeframes, and demonstrate what success looks like for this project, task and / or client. Remind your team that you are wholeheartedly there to help guide them through any challenges they may encounter or to act as a sounding board for advice on their recommended approach for the task at-play. We’re all only human, and people like to be reassured – so don’t forget to provide both positive and constructive feedback. 

As a leader, the foundations of ensuring your team delivers on time, on brief and to a high standard is constantly evolving – you need to foster and cultivate a collaborative culture day-in and day-out. Not everyone is motivated by the same factors or at the same pace. Lead by example, know your team and what drives them to succeed, their goals and their methods of learning, listening and absorbing information. When you know and work with your team, you’ll get the best performance from them. 

Ultimately, when you’ve finished what you set out to achieve, ensure you share the learnings, identify ways to improve and most importantly, celebrate the success and achievements – together.”

Mads Frederiksen, Managing Director APAC, Templafy

“Organisations are purchasing and deploying apps at a record pace, and this is all in the name of productivity. As a result, employees today are facing app fatigue because once the toolbox starts to grow, so does the complexity of the work. Research shows nearly two-fifths of Australian workers say their company needs to simplify the technology tools and processes in place. 

“With this in mind, it is important for Australian organisations to set up employees for success by creating a connected tech stack that empowers people to do better work more efficiently. This starts with content enablement. Business leaders must incorporate a content enablement solution that embeds into company-wide workflows to provide employee’s exactly the digital content they need, when and where they need it within the applications they already work in. 

“This guarantees content is always on-brand, compliant and optimised for strong business outcomes, empowering employees to drive great business results.”

 Jay Munro, Head of Career Insights, Indeed

“A three-phase approach is helpful when it comes to ensuring accountability – prepare, commit and review. In terms of preparation, for employees to be productive and execute their job well, it’s critical that they’re equipped with everything they need. This includes access to technology, systems and people. It’s also important to work collaboratively with employees to jointly determine objectives, metrics and a check-in schedule. A two-way process will encourage engagement from both parties early on in the process.

“When it comes to commitment, consistently sticking to what’s been agreed on in the preparation phase is key. Make sure you deliver on everything promised and ensure that you’re available and accessible, particularly when it comes to organising and honouring check-in meetings. It’s important to commit to trusting each other and enabling employees to be autonomous but accountable.

“In the review phase, this is a chance for both parties to pause and take a look back at what’s worked well and what might need to be improved. It should be a time of reflection and open, supportive discussion. It’s not the time to shy away from transparency, as without a genuine review, progress won’t happen. After these discussions, a decision should be made about whether to continue as-is, or to extend your plans to improve engagement, satisfaction and outcomes.

“This whole process is cyclical and should incorporate regular opportunities for review and improvement.”

Aaron Rumer, COO, VentureCrowd

“If the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that employees don’t need to be in the office five days a week in order to excel in their roles, and the most accountable teams are those that are successful at implementing this kind of flexible approach to when and where work is conducted.

“Accountability is essential to creating a cohesive team and must be instilled in workplace culture so that the entire business works as one unit. Each employee needs to be aware of their individual responsibilities and take ownership of these – in good times and in bad. Teams that do this well are able to more effectively build trust, and this has a positive flow on effect on wider performance and productivity.”

Kris Grant, CEO, ASPL Group

“You need to ensure that you have an integrated HR solution in place so that employees are set up for success from the very beginning, and throughout the entire employee lifecycle. 

“It’s important to set clear performance measures during the recruitment process in order to outline and quantify performance expectations before the employee even joins the company. 

“From there, HR and management should work together on short-term deliverables and long-term goals the employee works towards during their tenure. These should be reviewed during regular performance check-ins, which can become a part of feedback loops for continuous improvement. This will ensure that the employee always has time to reflect on their work to date and update their performance regularly rather than waiting for annual reviews. 

“Having regularly updated position descriptions and KPIs based on the capabilities that you require also helps you from a workforce planning perspective, as you look to meet demands of the future.”

Jo-ann Chung, Chief Product Officer, WLTH

“Keeping team members motivated is a key component of every business. Everyone is different and can be motivated in a number of ways. A successful team that is able to deliver strong results is usually driven by a number of different factors, including strong communication, trust within the team, and growth and development within the role.
 
If you are able to deliver in these areas, you will be able to motivate an employee to deliver strong results for the business. Everything starts with communication, being able to discuss things openly as a team will always help drive collaboration. Through ongoing catch-ups and performance reviews, the employee will understand where they stand and different areas of their role that they can improve on.”

Graham van der Westhuizen, General Manager, Paper Moose

“At our creative agency, it’s about building a culture of accountability. We encourage employees to enrol in our broader corporate mission, which is to produce impactful work for clients that are helping to make the world a better place.

“Every company needs a framework to engage employees in a way that affords them the opportunity to be a part of something bigger than simply their individual role, for most companies this involves a cocktail of brand values, market position, heritage and corporate giving. Once you’ve penned your story, the real challenge becomes the need for exceptional leaders across the business to implement the behaviours and processes that are critical to bringing that strategy to life.

“We embrace a flat structure, open plan working and encourage transparency in relationships and expectations. Additionally, three key touchpoints that drive performance and accountability include:

  • Our employee share scheme that ensures staff at every level have skin in the game. Our success is theirs, and vice versa.
  • We believe in showing an appreciation for those times when the life work balance tips the wrong way. Our employees are offered a time in lieu policy that doesn’t exist at most ad agencies.
  • We empower our team to deliver for clients and also for causes – we offer up to 20 hours per annum on company time spent supporting a purpose that’s important to them.”

Danny Lessem, CEO, ELMO Software 

“According to our recent Employee Sentiment Index, there’s been an 8 point spike in employees feeling burnt out with 42% of Australian workers feeling burnt out. In fact, almost 70% of workers believe technology will make their jobs easier. Reducing burn out rates is a key factor for employers to address if they want their people to deliver.

“Supporting employees to deliver on their targets means leaders need to provide the right resources so workers aren’t spending their time on manual or time-consuming processes. This isn’t just about offering a pot of gold at the end of a job well done, it’s about supporting employees so they feel they are able to do their best work.”

Chrystal Taylor, Head Geek, SolarWinds

“Time is your employees’ most valuable asset. So, ensuring your team has the best tools in place can empower them to maintain productivity and keep your organisation moving forward.

“The right help desk and remote support software can ensure employees remain accountable with a distributed, hybrid, or remote workforce. Automated ticket assignment, problem details in the ticket workflow, and the ability to connect via chat or video call means you’re tackling problems quickly and ensures a tech is always helping rather than hindering. 

“On top of this, the keys to successful remote work are setting clear guidelines around availability, setting understandable and clear expectations, and trusting in employees’ abilities to perform. In addition, building a safe channel to receive and process feedback allows for two-way communication to improve tools and processes.

“Providing support to remote workers is critical to business success.  But trust and accountability go together. Once employees had been provided with tools for success and clear expectations, step back and give them the opportunity to drive themselves towards your goals.” 


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By Clare Loewenthal

Clare is an author, business commentator and passionate contributor to Dynamic Business. She was the Founder and Publisher of Dynamic Small Business magazine, which became Australia’s largest small business publication.