How to ensure Employee Accountability and Ownership

How to ensure Employee Accountability and Ownership

How to ensure Employee Accountability and Ownership

How to ensure Employee Accountability and Ownership: The accountability system is used to ensure that all employees understand what their managers expect from them, what excellence looks like in action, how they are performing, and when and how they need to adjust work practices. Accountability is something that managers build into their daily schedules.

Managers hold employees accountable. They do this through a system of actions including:

  • Clarifying and aligning roles – ensuring that the right people are doing the right work.
  • Defining, communicating and describing expectations so that all employees know what excellence looks like in terms of performance and behaviors.
  • Providing timely, candid, and clear feedback about how employees are performing.
  • Measuring work and processes against the highest priority goals.
  • Great metrics tell people the score.
  • Evaluating employees periodically to give them a good picture for their overall contributions to the organization and to define development plan items.
  • Rewarding performance and outcomes that are in alignment with your expectations and definitions of excellence.
  • Recognizing great effort and work, including excellence in teaming and collaboration.
  • Providing meaningful consequences for performance that continues to not meet standards.

If your organization is lacking accountability – then something is out of alignment in your accountability system. Many organizations fail to adequately define excellence and struggle to hold people accountable for the standards they communicate.

Employee Ownership

Ownership is not something that managers can demand – employees choose whether to OWN their work, their department’s goals, and their organization’s mission. Managers need to create a work environment that improves the likelihood of high employee engagement and ownership.

Employees choose to feel and display ownership. Ownership happens when employees give discretionary effort and put 100%+ to a task. These moments transcend the basic employee-employer relationship and show a higher level of connection and commitment. You cannot force ownership to happen, but you can create an environment where ownership is more likely to flourish.

Elements of the ideal environment include:

  • Challenging work and interesting problems to solve.
  • Connection to the work, the team, and/or the industry/organization.
  • Stronger connections are those that bring people together.
  • A feeling of being cared for. Managers who show they care and make their employees feel special will earn more employee ownership.
  • Collaboration and partnership. When people work together to seize the opportunity or solve a problem, they tend to engage and feel more pride for their work (increasing connection, too).
  • Opportunities to grow as a person and in a profession. Your employees want to feel like they are expanding their skills and staying up to date in their chosen field.
  • Autonomy to make choices that affect their work.
  • A feeling that their work has meaning and is important to the organization.
  • Work and workplaces that are fun and lighthearted.

Managers can improve ownership by creating a workplace that is intrinsically motivating. Small but sincere gestures of care and concern go a long way toward showing your team members how important they are to you.


“It is easy to dodge our responsibilities, but we cannot dodge the consequences of dodging our responsibilities.” – Sir Josiah Stamp

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