How to Increase Employee Accountability

Employee skills are one of the biggest assets of any business. However, an employee who is not accountable quickly becomes a liability and jeopardizes the functioning of an efficient team. To get employees to offer their best, you have to put in efforts to engage them in the task of improving their performance. Employees who understand and identify with their goals are more likely to be accountable than those who have goals forced upon them.

Set goals in consultation with your employees. Make sure they decide objectives for each area of work they handle. Make sure the goals are SMART – Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-bound.

Put these goals in writing for the employee and retain a copy for yourself. Writing things helps the employee understand exactly what is expected of him and ensures there is no scope for misinterpretation at a later date.

Speak to each employee on your team individually and discuss the personal benefits that accrue from each goal. Highlight how achieving this goal contributes to taking the company forward. This invites them to make a commitment to reach the goals.

Discuss with employees the means to be used to measure their progress in meeting their individual goals. Set out the objective parameters to be measured, such as productivity in terms of number of items sold per day, number of errors on monthly reports or percentage of savings on departmental costs. Determine the frequency with which such evaluation is to be performed: monthly, quarterly, semiannually or annually.

Measure progress in keeping with the predetermined schedule. Assess performance against goals and discover deficient areas. Provide the employee with objective feedback and ask open-ended questions about the why and how behind the issue. Discuss how the problem is to be solved and determine follow-up actions.

Link remuneration, promotions and other intangible rewards such as vacations, training opportunities, time off or memberships with consequences. Customize these to individual situations to motivate employees to work toward achieving their goals.

Set definite negative consequences for violations of rules. Communicate these consequences clearly to all employees. Enforce these rules in a fair manner, with no favoritism. If you allow a few employees to get away with breaking the rule, it reduces the compliance from everyone else.


  • All employees are not the same; understand the temperament of each individual before you decide the approach to use to increase accountability.