Accountability, Goals, & Rewards
Say the word “accountability” and hear a chorus of people go “ugh”. Holding people accountable is not what a lot of managers like to do. According to a study of 5400 upper-level managers conducted by the Harvard Business Review, 46% were rated “too little” on holding people accountable. Why is that? Without a focus on accountability, people don’t know what is expected of them and mediocrity, stagnant performance and failure can infiltrate the work place resulting in hard discussions, conflict, confronting poor performers and ultimately firing people, none of which is what managers want to do.
Accountability doesn’t have to be a bad word. After all, it’s the key to success and even joy when goals or business milestones are achieved. A culture of accountability is one in which expectations are well defined, goals are clearly articulated, and rewards and acknowledgement for hitting goals is commonplace. This type of environment creates engaged and excited employees that understand their priorities, strive for excellence and work together to succeed and be the best they can be.
Want to create a culture of accountability? Follow these steps…
- Clearly Articulate Expectations and Goals: If people know from the get go what is expected of them and know what the goals are that they need to achieve, they then know what their priorities should be and how to spend their time. Goals provide a clear measure of success and accountability. Goals should be specific and realistic, but entail effort to achieve. If they are viewed as too easy or unattainable then employees won’t put the effort in to reach them. They should be associated with a time period, i.e. a month, a quarter, a year, etc. This provides employees with a time table for which they are being held accountable.
- Report on Goals Regularly: All meetings between managers and their staff should include a discussion about the goals including current stats, strategies and action plans to hit the goals, and progress to date. When employees have to report on results, they are more likely to be accountable, follow-through and do what it takes to succeed.
- Example #1: If a sales team has to sell 100 memberships in a month, they should report on how many they have sold and how many more they need to sell every day. Sales Managers should be meeting with each salesperson daily to review their daily action plan and results from the day before. The daily plan should include what they need to do/produce that day with regard to calls, emails, appointment bookings, tours, sales and outreach activities. Specific goals for each of those activities should be associated with each of those activities.
- Example #2: General Managers overseeing entire clubs should send weekly emails to all staff, part of which should include the goals for the month and progress to date. As the end of the month approaches, those emails should become daily and include encouragement as well as strategies and ideas of actions that would help the team hit their goals.
- Communicate Results: Goal results should be shared with all staff, even if the goal wasn’t hit. If employees are going to be engaged and strive for success, not only do they need to know what the goal is, but they need to know how they did and how their work impacted results.
- Celebrate, Recognize and Reward! When goals are hit, celebrate with your team and recognize the employees who helped create success. Not all recognition has to be monetary. Acknowledging employees publicly who have gone above and beyond can be a reward in and of itself. However, providing a compensation system that rewards success for hitting goals, provides incentives for employees to focus on the company’s priorities.
If these four simple steps are followed, accountability will permeate your culture. Sure, you may still have to have some hard conversations with those who aren’t performing, but employees will know what’s expected of them, will have action plans that lead to success, and will be incentivized to work hard together to hit goals so that they can bask in celebration.