Creating a Culture of Accountability in the Workplace: 7 Steps

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Although it can be difficult to access, accountability is among the most crucial qualities of top teams and workers. Alternatively, a lack of responsibility can prevent businesses and people from achieving their full potential.

You’ve probably been in a meeting where someone came in late. People often complain that they were delayed by another meeting or traffic. This is because nobody wants to admit that they failed to set a morning alarm, step out of their houses on time, or maintain a calendar. They are unable to accept sole accountability for their deeds. None of them want to take responsibility for their actions.

Organizations must foster an environment of responsibility if they hope to achieve their objectives and maintain employee engagement. You can develop a culture of accountability that advances your company and motivates employees with the appropriate actions. Let’s get to it.

What exactly does accountability mean at work?

Employees held accountable in the workplace do so by accepting accountability for their work and business results. Whenever something turns out badly, they take charge and accept full responsibility rather than engaging in the “blame game.” Accountable personnel attempt to find solutions rather than wasting time trying to appear good to others. The result is that the organization prospers.

On the other hand, employees who lack accountability at work frequently arrive late for meetings. They are known not to finish projects by the due dates. When companies fall short of a crucial income target, they investigate the issue for days or even weeks. They offer justifications rather than finding solutions. Leaders wind up terminating or promoting staff members who have little impact on the failure or success of particular projects because they cannot determine who is to be held accountable.


The significance of accountability at work

Employee engagement and performance will suffer if accountability isn’t ingrained in your company’s culture. Additionally, if workers can continually utilize justifications to avoid criticism, they almost certainly won’t develop. They won’t feel the need to go the extra mile for their companies.

Workplace accountability is crucial because both organizations and individuals must be result-focused. It’s easier to spend time whining rather than looking for solutions. That’s dangerous for any organization that intends to expand. You can’t fully achieve your goals without accountability, whether they are to earn a specific sum of money by month’s end or get five new hires by the end of a quarter.

Clear expectations are also necessary for staff to succeed. Employee engagement will decrease in the absence of those expectations, and research indicates that disengaged employees are more likely to leave their jobs. That’s unfortunate because just about 34% of employee personnel claim to feel engaged at work, according to Gallup data. A lack of accountability will inevitably worsen the issue.

The importance of employee accountability must be given top priority if you intend to increase performance, job satisfaction, and engagement. Certainly, we’re not insinuating that you should pick one employee to blame if something goes wrong. Create an environment that fosters accountability instead, rewarding staff members for taking charge of their actions. You will reap the many rewards of workplace accountability if you do that.

Workplace accountability examples

So what exactly is workplace accountability? The best indicator of accountability is how well your employees turn up for work. Let’s take a look at a few examples of what accountability in the workplace entails::  


  • Punctuality: Employees are always punctual to meetings, and they never give justifications for sending deliverables late.


  • Honesty: Because they are aware that they are accountable for the outcomes, employees are honest about their capabilities and the timelines for completing tasks.


  • Being proactive: Accountable staff members are eager to address issues and look for solutions rather than hoping for another person to assume responsibility.


  • Vulnerability: Workers disclose mistakes rather than attempting to cover them up quickly. They seek assistance as needed because they believe they are accountable for their achievement.


  • Communication: Since they understand that they are accountable for upholding and fostering their connections, employees are courageous enough to bring up sensitive topics in the workplace.

Operations will be successful when there is accountability in play. On schedule and to the highest standard, projects will be finished. No more wasting time on pointless disputes amongst coworkers. If a boss places the responsibility for issues on the appropriate parties, there won’t be any outbursts of rage. Accountability fosters a productive, secure, and friendly work environment that promotes success for all.

7 steps to fostering accountability in the workplace

Developing company culture doesn’t happen overnight. It’s a team approach that demands that everyone assume responsibility. Even if you can’t make your staff responsible, you can promote a culture that values accountability. The advantages of responsibility in the workplace will eventually become apparent to everyone in the firm.

Here is a step-by-step guide to creating an accountable workplace culture.


Include accountability in your organization’s core values

The guiding principles of your business demonstrate your priorities and the behavior you demand of your team members. This is a wonderful first step if you’re seeking to establish an accountable culture. The greatest method to demonstrate to employees that your firm supports accountability is to make it official.

Keeping your employees accountable is also simpler if you make accountability one of your fundamental values. From the moment they start working with you, they will understand your standards for their behavior. For instance, you can talk about whether an employee is upholding the company’s basic principles when it’s time to perform a performance evaluation. You’ll have the ideal chance to promote change if they don’t take responsibility.


Set an example, regardless of your position (executive or manager)

Accountability in a company begins at the very top. Your staff won’t be held accountable if your CEO isn’t. All personnel in positions of leadership ought to exhibit personal responsibility.

That entails taking responsibility for issues rather than placing the blame on your employees. Speaking up and accepting responsibility can be challenging, so this isn’t always simple. Executive counseling can be useful if you or your leaders are having trouble being accountable.


Give initiatives and projects a distinct owner

Sadly, accountability won’t flow automatically if you give them free rein. Making accountability a core component of project management is among the easiest ways to establish a culture of responsibility. The best course of action whenever a particular strategy or effort is launched is to designate a clear leader. Otherwise, tasks may be handed from individual to individual without anybody taking ownership for months.

Someone should be responsible for the result even if they aren’t completing all the individual tasks. They can monitor developments, provide updates during group meetings, and help things get finished. The result? Ownership offers workers a stronger sense of satisfaction and meaning in their job, which will boost employee engagement.


Allow responsibility to spread

Not everyone has the skills required to supervise a project or lead others. Every employee, though, ought to have a feeling of ownership and responsibility for their roles. Employees must each have their own personal performance measures and goals to accomplish this.

Take the position of marketing director as an example for one of your subordinates. They aren’t prepared to run an integrated marketing campaign, but they can take on specific responsibilities for the larger operation. Aid them in establishing objectives like “write 6 newsletters with a 20% click-through rate.”

The campaign, as a whole, benefits from this objective, and they can fully control the outcome. They can draft the emails, format them in the email service, and send them. If somehow the emails are unsuccessful, the marketing director will be fully responsible for finding a solution and trying again.


Place a high priority on staff development

Let’s carry on with the previous illustration. You shouldn’t publicly shame an employee for a poorly received email campaign they sent out in public to their entire team. Accountability focuses on accepting responsibility for actions. In an environment where everyone is held accountable, the marketing director’s logical next move would be to enroll in an email campaign course, consult a colleague for guidance, and then send one more email utilizing their newly acquired skills. The outcome? Improved outcomes and less time spent making excuses.

That’s why giving employee development, and growth top priority is crucial if you want to promote accountability in the workplace. If they fear punishment, employees won’t feel secure accepting responsibility for subpar performance. Organizations should offer opportunities for professional development to aid in the process of viewing failures as opportunities for advancement.


Have faith and be trustworthy

Giving your staff a chance to take responsibility has been emphasized. But it can be challenging for a leader to delegate and relinquish control. Perhaps you’re having trouble as you may not want your staff to be responsible for the results. Although the worry is reasonable, the best bosses learn to depend on and trust their workers.

Building accountability in the workplace is equally as crucial as building trust. Without trust, your staff won’t feel capable of taking ownership of initiatives and won’t have the motivation to step up to support goals when necessary. As a result, employee engagement will decline.

Top-down leadership, wherein executives make all of the company’s decisions, has its place and time. However, leaders need to be aware that over a quarter of employees have left businesses due to the same sentiment, and 68% of employees believe that not being trusted hinders their daily activities at work. Your business will suffer if you don’t give your staff a chance to take responsibility.


Recognize and appreciate the responsibility

Employees who exhibit accountability should be recognized and rewarded as the final stage in establishing accountability in the company. A reward system is a terrific approach to promoting change, and this is also true in the job. Here are some suggestions for rewarding workers that demonstrate workplace accountability:

  • Consider responsibility and accountability while selecting candidates for promotions.
  • Thank staff members publicly for taking responsibility and resolving issues.
  • Post a narrative about an employee’s display of accountability in the form of a social media feature.
  • Provide individuals who are accountable with professional advancement opportunities
  • Regularly check in with staff to provide feedback and support their development.



Authority comes with a cost: accountability. You must own responsibility for the events that occur if you want to change things at work. Everything that occurs in your career ultimately results from your capacity to overcome obstacles. The task is inevitable, but how you react to it isn’t. Give yourself and your team plenty of genuine empathy as you strive for workplace accountability. This is a process, but putting it first will lead to a better business and a more engaged workforce.

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