Promoting Accountability in the Workplace

Karen Mosier, University of Saskatchewan

Have you ever noticed that there are always certain people in your office that you can count on to follow through and get things done? Accountability in the workplace is all about taking ownership of your work by taking responsibility for the results and doing the right thing.

Here are some strategies to improve employee accountability in the workplace:  

  1. Set expectations from the start
  • Let employees know the expectations of the position on the day of their interview
  • Continue to reinforce these expectations especially during the first few weeks of employment
  1. Provide performance feedback early and often
  • Not giving feedback is one of the most demotivating thing that leaders can do to employees – add time in the meeting agenda to give feedback on completed projects
  • Good feedback comes from a place of genuinely wanting to help
  1. Keep track of your commitments and hold each other accountable
  • Assign action items during each meeting & check at the next meeting that everything was done
  1. Establish a culture of empowerment and trust
  • Freedom at work is imperative especially with new generations in the work force
  • Empowering your employees to take control of their schedules is a small, powerful way to enhance accountability (and happiness)
  1. Make consequences and rewards clear
  • Clearly establish employee expectations and your response to the team failing to meet those expectations
  • Reward your employees for work done well or efficiently e.g., take them out for lunch
  1. Take a more human approach to your relationships with other people
  • Rather than using formal meetings to call out offenders and cause undue stress on some people, don’t be afraid to take someone out for coffee and discuss if that person isn’t pulling their weight – this type of setting can help the employee leave the interaction feeling rejuvenated and ready to take personal accountability over their own projects
  1. Establish collective values and objectives
  • An organization’s core values should include a culture of positivity, hard work, and most importantly, accountability
  • Have a handful of goals that employees to focus on when they’re swamped with projects to help them keep things simple and maximize priorities

Accountability is import to an organization’s success. Every employee, no matter what level of seniority they are at, is equally responsible to play a role in the success of the institution. When all people work together and share accountability, this makes the organization more productive and efficient. What can you do today to make your own team more accountable and position your institution for success?


  1. Bryan Rusche. Soap Box. Employee Motivation. How to make accountability a core part of your workplace culture.
  2. What is Accountability in the Workplace?
  3. Subitup. 7 Ways to Improve Employee Accountability in the Workplace.