2022 has been a year of transition. The last two years saw changes in the business world and the workplace from the repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic. As we finish 2022 and look ahead to 2023, business owners should focus on bringing employee accountability back to the office.
Social distancing measures meant many companies sent their employees to work from home, which was necessary for public health, but presented challenges to employee productivity and workplace relationships. The pandemic created circumstances that often affected how employees got their work done. Still, as we move ahead, employees and managers should work together to increase productivity – and this process begins with taking steps to maintain employee accountability.
No matter what industry your business is in, underperformers are one of the most significant liabilities in the workplace. In addition to implementing strategies to redirect underperformers, business owners should consider why these individuals are not meeting company standards. Sometimes employees are underperforming due to a lack of training or a misunderstanding of expectations, but often the underperformance is from personal issues outside of work.
Employees working from home may be more distracted by these situations or their kids, pets, etc., so bringing your employees back to the office is essential. This will not solve the employees’ personal issues, but coming into a physical office can help employees compartmentalize work and home. Some employers also use employee monitoring systems to check in with their employees throughout the day, which can help identify who may be underperforming.
Performance reviews take time, attention, and difficult conversations – and all the effort pays off in a big way for both employees and management. Some companies stopped conducting performance reviews during 2020-2021 because it didn’t seem fair to assess employee performance when every day was turbulent.
This year, bringing back performance reviews is a way to improve employee accountability in the office. Employees can hear from their managers which areas of their job they are doing well in and which need improvement. These conversations help employees set goals and can give them a sense of direction for daily tasks and long-term projects.
On the management side, managers should take a deep dive into assessing how the team is working together, what’s driving productivity, and what changes should be made on the individual or group level for the company’s success.
People respond to incentives and recognition no matter what changes happen in the workplace. Starting or reinstating an employee recognition program is a way for management to reward those who keep themselves accountable and improve the company.
A simple way to start employee recognition is by having an employee spotlight or “shoutout” board where the rest of the team can see their picture and read a quick blurb about what this employee has been doing well. Business owners can also consider giving incentives for hitting specific goals, being at the company for a certain number of years, or even giving out trophies or plaques for accomplishments. Employees tend to work harder when they see their efforts are rewarded.
Employee evaluations are the other side of the coin to performance reviews and employee recognition. Evaluations can be as simple as a short survey sent out to all employees at the end of the year or quarterly. The survey should ask the employees to rate their performance and make suggestions for improving productivity or the company culture. When employees think critically about their performance, this encourages accountability.
Meetings – you love them, or you hate them. Regardless of how you feel, meetings are another tried-and-true way to keep communication flowing in the workplace, increase productivity, and foster accountability. Business owners should look at the size and nature of their business to determine the type of meetings and frequency they will need to benefit the company.
Smaller team or department meetings should be held often if all-staff meetings are not attainable. In these smaller meetings, employees should each give a status update on what tasks they are currently working on. Just telling their coworkers what they are working on and how they are progressing is a substantial step toward accountability. If one employee seems stuck on a particular task or makes little progress between status reports, managers will be aware and can address this appropriately.
Employee accountability is just one of the many issues business owners must navigate. At The Alexander Group, we coach business owners on how they can run their businesses in line with their vision and exceed their goals. Our one-on-one coaching will help you reduce stress by balancing your business and personal lives.
Having a group of individuals with similar goals is also vital. Our group of Greater St. Louis area business owners collaborates, discusses common issues, and develops dynamic solutions. When business owners pair this with our one-on-one coaching, they set themselves up for success. Contact us today if you’re a business owner ready to commit to improvement!