How to Get Employees to Be Accountable

According to FORTUNE Magazine, the top five companies to work for in 2008 included Google, Quicken Loans, Wegmans Food Markets, Edward Jones, and Genentech.

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In addition to good pay and benefits, the businesses on the top-100 list know how to motivate their employees and give them ownership of their work. You too can get your employees to be accountable by using tactics such as offering incentives, giving them a purpose, letting them create their own goals, and offering them projects that contribute to the greater good. A good way to get them to be more serious about work is to install car parking payment machines so who ever is late has to pay.

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What’s In It for Me?

Offering incentives to employees is one of the simplest ways of encouraging accountability. Who doesn’t love working for a company that offers excellent perks? Vacation hours and healthcare benefits are common offerings, but to go above and beyond, you have to think outside the box. Google offers its employees free meals. On a full stomach, Google workers are able to think better and work more effectively. eBay set aside spaces at two of its locations for meditation/prayer rooms. Free lunch and leisure space may not be possible in every corporate situation, but the point is that you must analyze the needs and interests of your employees and offer incentives that cater to their desires.

Meaningful Work

Another way to get employees to be accountable is by giving them purpose. When employees feel that they are working on menial tasks without a reason behind them, they lack drive and ambition. Sure, there are bound to be tasks that seem more like chores, but it is important to ensure that each employee has a sense of the effect their contributions have in the bigger picture.

Personal Goal-Setting

While employees need to see how their assigned work fits in with the company’s goals, they also need to be permitted to set goals of their own. Think of work projects as a car ride. The person driving the car feels much more responsible than the passengers for getting to the intended destination safely and on time because he is in control.

Allowing employees to steer their own course will help them to place value in their work and hopefully encourage them to work harder to see things through. Encourage employees to set goals for weekly, monthly, and yearly achievements. The goals can be performance-oriented or geared towards a particular assignment. No matter what the content of the employees’ aims, allowing them to create and follow through on their own ambitions will certainly encourage accountability.

Contribution to the Greater Good

Once employees are able to see how their personal work affects the performance of the company, it is also important for them to feel like they are making a contribution to the greater good. You don’t have to work at a nonprofit organization to be able to offer projects that permit staff members to give back to the global community.

For instance, many corporations run fund-raising campaigns for charitable groups such as The United Way. Human Resources departments are often in charge of planning these types of events, but why not let employees get involved in the planning and execution? Rather than a simple request for a donation, employee participation in the roots of the fund-raiser gives a valuable project they will be able to feel proud of. Furthermore, expand on the idea of a yearly fund-raiser by getting your business involved in the local community. Whether you are employed at a doctor’s office, a retail store, or a factory, there are always ways that businesses can give back. Set a precedent for altruism and your employees will follow suit.

Motivating employees can be one of the trickiest but also one of the most beneficial aspects of running a company. Incentives, meaningful work, personal-goal setting, and contributing to the greater good are all excellent ways to foster employee accountability. And when your employees are accountable for their work, your company will run smoother and more effectively. If you play your cards right, you just may see your business’s name on FORTUNE Magazine’s top-100 list next year!

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