January 24, 2024
min read
People & Culture

Why is accountability important in the workplace?

Illustration that shows employees working autonomously and that demonstrates why accountability is important in the workplace

Workplace accountability involves holding each person accountable for their actions. It leads to higher commitment and morale among workers, which boosts productivity. It empowers workers to see how intended and actual outcomes differ and take bold steps to bridge the gaps. Accountability also encourages workers to use creativity and troubleshoot shortcomings.  

However, it’s not something that should only apply to some people. Taking responsibility for actions is expected to cut across all departments and hierarchies. It’s something that is measured both at the individual, team and organization level. 

In this article, we answer all your questions about accountability at work:

  • What does it involve? And how can you measure it?
  • Why is accountability so important in the workplace?
  • How can you promote workplace accountability?

The meaning of workplace accountability

Workplace accountability is multifaceted and is measured against several phases. At its simplest, it means an employee accepting their mistakes. Once workers accept their mistakes, they must stand up and resolve to solve them. Mistakes could be in terms of failure to perform their duties diligently. It can be measured by deliberately failing to take action to prevent something from happening

It can also be measured in terms of failure to update skills when a worker knows they should. Every employee must understand why accountability is important in the workplace. They must set goals that drive them to be accountable.  When they realize their mistakes, workers need to set timelines for correcting them. They must be proactive and focused on bettering their actions so that the same mistakes do not happen in the future. 

4 reasons why accountability matters in the workplace

True character in work is a prerequisite for accountability. To maintain consistency and long-term viability, it requires making sure a business cultivates positive interactions with both clients and personnel. This means that knowing how to act and behave appropriately is essential. 

Here are 4 reasons why accountability is important in the workplace. 

Boosts employee motivation

Worker motivation can come from within individuals or their colleagues and leaders. The individual needs to harness the power within them to build morale and feel motivated. Being accountable is a significant root for finding morale and motivation. 

When employees understand their actions are helping drive the company in the right direction, they feel proud of themselves. When they feel their colleagues and leaders value their efforts, they feel they have a role to work harder. They own the tasks ahead of them and treat the project as their own.

Also read: 50 Effective Employee Engagement Ideas

Promotes trust as a culture

Employees who don’t trust themselves, colleagues, or leaders cannot deliver productive work. Trust doesn’t happen in a single day but takes time to build. It grows more when employees support each other to be accountable. 

Trust in the workplace is founded on open communication and mutual understanding. It creates an environment where workers feel safe. They gain respect with each other and value one another’s opinions and duties. These are catalysts of trust. It helps employees understand why accountability and its value are important in the workplace. 

Improves communication and productivity

Accountable workers do not wait to be supervised to work and deliver. They plan their time well and ensure every duty is completed on time. They understand their actions can affect the company positively or negatively. Due to this, they take it upon themselves to work harder. Furthermore, accountable employees know when to communicate and how to do it. They share information through the right channels and on time. 

Embraces mistakes to find solutions

An employee cannot find solutions unless they accept their mistakes first. If there are gaps in their service delivery, they must acknowledge that first. What follows next is taking action to find solutions. They not only solve them but also put mitigations in place to ensure the mistake never happens again. For example, an accountable employee will always take care of the workspace cybersecurity and remove potential threats from the work device to ensure corporate digital safety and avoid data breaches. 

Tips for promoting workplace accountability

Accountability promotion should be the responsibility of everyone in a company. All employees need to know why accountability is important in the workplace and work towards promoting it. Several steps can help employees achieve this. 

  • Make expectations clear: Opaque expectations leave employees stranded, unaware of what to do. Employers need to give clear guidelines on what they expect from their work teams. 
  • Document roles and responsibilities to make sure everyone knows who does what and who’s accountable to whom. Holaspirit is one of the few platforms that allows you to clarify accountability in the workplace. You can use it to create a dynamic organizational chart, bring transparency to your organization’s roles and processes, track OKRs (objective and key results), and even organize your team’s projects!

Documenting a role’s purpose and accountabilities on Holaspirit
Documenting a role’s purpose and accountabilities on Holaspirit
  • Set an example: It is confusing when leaders in the workplace say one thing, but they do the opposite. The best leader is the one who leads by example. 
  • Offer feedback: Let the employees know their performance in terms of accountability. Let them know which areas they are getting it right and which they are not. 
  • Have a follow-up strategy: Employees need to know someone is watching over them. Employers should not provoke their teams when doing this. It should be done with care and firmness, too. There needs to be a way to hold workers who fall below the standards accountable. 
  • Offer rewards: Workers might not always be perfect, but they are expected to show efforts for improvement. After an improvement, it is important to reward. 
  • Be compliant: Part of accountability actions is for the company to ensure compliance, ideally with a compliance dashboard. It helps to enhance transparency within the organization and identify potential risks that can help employees make informed decisions and, as a result, stay accountable. 

To conclude

Workplace accountability is multifaceted and involves both the worker and employer. There needs to be a set of rules that exist to help everyone in the organization do the right thing. Organizations with accountable workers stay productive and help employees stay motivated. However, they need to identify the right tools that can help improve accountability at work. Holaspirit is a great platform for organizations that want to bring more transparency, agility, accountability and psychological safety among their teams.  

Read our white paper “How to Develop Psychological Safety in the Workplace,” to discover how our partner Unic runs strategy workshops on Holaspirit, while promoting participants’ accountability and psychological safety 👇

Revolutionize your way of working now!