Holding Your Employees Accountable
According to a study conducted by Wayne Hochwarter, the Jim Moran Professor of Business Administration in Florida State University’s College of Business, less than 20 percent of employees reported feeling sure of what was expected of them at work each day. The study evaluated the opinions of more than 750 blue- and white-collar employees across multiple industries. It was conducted primarily to understand how many employees do not know what is expected of them at work each day. The vast majority of respondents reported differing levels of accountability ranging from “some” to “complete” doubt. As the respondent said, “I thought I was working on something important … I guess the boss who fired me didn’t think so.” That’s pretty interesting. And troubling. In fact, workers who were uncertain of their expectations at work reported:
- 60 percent higher levels of mistrust with leadership as it relates to communication.
- 50 percent higher levels of overall work frustration.
- 45 percent less control regarding the best way to complete their work.
What does this mean?
These findings cost organizations hundreds of millions of dollars each year — in both direct and indirect costs. “When employees aren’t sure what’s expected of them, the results simply just cannot be positive, especially when the complexity of work and the pace of change is taken into consideration,” research associate Allison Batterton said.
To address the study’s findings, the researchers shared a four-step approach to dealing with lack of employee accountability:
- Set up a formal communication system using the most current and user-friendly technology. Make sure all employees are able to use it properly.
- Make employee accountability part of both the supervisor’s and employee’s performance evaluation.
- Develop informal accountability networks (i.e., buddy system) that allow employees real-time access to information needed to focus attention on tasks considered most important for that particular day (or hour).
- Make accountability proactive rather than reactive.
Where to go from here:
Of course, detailed job descriptions and ongoing employee evaluations keep your company on track. Make sure your employees are well aware of the responsibilities that their job’s entail. When both the employer and the employee are on the same page, company culture improves and things seem to go smoother. Contact Optimum Employer Solutions for more information.