Your handmade business is growing. You are now no longer a one-member team. You have just been able to hire your first employee and are so excited to begin this next step in your small business journey. However, hiring your first employee comes with a lot of new and unfamiliar challenges. It’s now time to give your new team members guidance and create workplace accountability. In order for your business to function to the highest capability, you will need to learn how to build employee accountability for your handmade business.

Why is Employee Accountability important?

Accountability drives results. This is why learning how to build employee accountability is so important. It leads to improved efficiency and accuracy of work. Accountability creates a more positive response to role responsibilities, better problem-solving abilities, decision-making, and increased team spirit. Results in overall greater satisfaction to you as your handmade business.

Establishing accountability in your business will assist on many levels of your handmade business. For instance, this can allow room for setting expectations. Plus this will simultaneously create a foundation for reliable committed employees.

Obtaining accountable employees will allow you to better measuring progress for your business, as you now will have reliable feedback. It’s important to let your employees know that you have standards set for your business and they will be evaluated. This is done to make sure they are meeting your expectations of effectiveness as one of your employees and as a representer from your business.

It’s important your employees see you as a authority figure. In a lot of ways, you are their “9-5 leader”. You need to ask yourself the following questions in order to make sure your team gets the job done efficiently. Be sure your objectives are clear and understood. Ask yourself…

  • Have I been clear enough about my expectations? Are they realistic?
  • Are there any consequences for not meeting expectations?
  • Did I communicated how this employee’s work contributes to the success of the business?
  • Were the necessary tools and equipment to get the job done provided?

How to Promote Employee Accountability

You, as the person of authority, can encourage more responsibility among employees by creating an organizational culture. This will promote and cascade accountability through five areas of focus.

Clear Employee Expectations

Employees need clearly defined expectations to achieve the goals you have in place. As a handmade business, you have ever-going responsibilities. You will need help as your business grows. Therefore, it is important have have employees focus on accountabilities that are short term; such as, making a batch of products to fulfill an order. And/or focus on long-term tasks; such as, establishing marketing strategies or customer service.

This is the work your employees need to be able to responsibly handle on their own. When they are accountable for a task, they know there are consequences for the outcome. Whether that be a positive or negative result.

In every case, as the manager or owner of your business, you need to demonstrate accountability through your own availability and time. You should do this by setting an example of how you spend your own time performing the same tasks your team is responsible for.

Set Expectations

Once employees clearly understand what they’re accountable for, you should help them set measurable, individualized goals. Each goal should align with their individual roles. These goals should also reflect upon each employees own strengths. Every employee should have metrics defined that help them know if they’re delivering on the organization’s goals.

As you manage your staff, it is important to prioritize ongoing communication about how everyone’s personal contributions and successes impact the organization’s achievements. This will help you see the performance of each one of your employees. Vocalizing these achievements will be useful for your employees too. As they’ll see if they’re accomplishing and succeeding in their roles.

It pays to be specific about what you need your employees to do. Make sure this is something you clearly understand while learning how to build employee accountability. The more specific you can be, the less chance there is that there will be a misunderstanding. The clearer your expectations are, the less likely that there will be confusion about what you need.

Provide Progress Updates

Everyone needs to have updates on progress to create accountability. A great skill to implement, is to have a 5-10 minute stand-up each morning to share the expectations and priorities for the day. This will help you visualize what every one of your team members will be doing during the day.

Once you know what everyone is working on during the day, you can have a meeting at the end of each month to give feedback and progress on the goals. The most effective form of feedback comes from frequent conversations between managers and employees.

When preparing to provide a progress update, you should have the right data. This should include the performance orientated details of your goals, so you can speak about the behavior that has allowed the progress.

Align Development, Learning, and Growth

As your handmade business is a growing process, you need to also think about the opportunities for your employees to improve. It will be equally important for your staff to learn and grow with your business. Studies show that millennials rank the opportunity to learn and grow in a job number one above all other job considerations. This statistic is the highest on the rankings for all other generations.

If you can focus on your employee development while learning how to build employee accountability, your employees will be able to correctly address performance obstacles that prevent their ability to meet goals. While also learning and growing in their role. There is an importance in recognizing that the growth you have within your career, will apply to personal growth and other aspects of your life. Express this to your employees so they can better understand that their job is more than just a job. But, a place where they can use life long skills if they apply themselves.

The skills your employees will learn while work for you might not be obvious. Yes, they are likely learning a new skill while performing their working tasks, however, there is more than just that. They are also learning how to co-work, how to engage professionally with customers, how to manage their time, etc. The list goes on and on! If you aren’t properly implying accountability with your staff, you could be the reason they are a lazy work. Or, on the contrary, you could be the reason they hustle!

Recognize and Celebrate Progress

Praising your employees for good work is the most motivating of all forms of feedback. We all love to be recognized when we achieve one of our goals or succeed in something. If you recognize and celebrate the progress of your team this will as a result motivate them. This new motivation will give them continuous energy to move forward. Identify, celebrate, and learn from successes. It motivates employees to stretch and creates responsible role models for others to follow.

We understand that it’s also important to point out when tasks and jobs are done incorrectly by your workers. When bringing these mistakes to their attention, make sure you’re being professional and to the point, but not rude. Let them know it’s okay to fail sometimes, because that is how we learn.

It’s important to keep a mental note of when employee make mistakes for a couple reasons. One, you want to make sure they are not constantly making the same reoccurring mistakes. If they are, and have been cordially trained to do otherwise, then you may need to consider switching their position, or terminating their employment. The second reason you should keep a mental note of your employees mistakes is to give them some form of praise when they do their task well. Do not overdo this in a way that could become embarrassing for your employee, but let them know you see and appreciate their efforts.

Accountability Matters

Your employees will not always achieve all of their goals. That is just being realistic. This is the first thing you should understand while learning how to build employee accountability. It is very important to give team members whose performance fell short of expectations the chance to explain what happened. Perhaps there is a process that needs fixing. Maybe there were unexpected challenges with the task, making the target unrealistic. It is part of your job as a manager to remove obstacles. Make sure you’re setting realistic targets, and help your employees when you feel they may be struggling.

Implementing this simple process will transform underperforming teammates. The sense of accomplishment your employees will develop, will make them happier to come to work. As well as encourage them go the extra mile for your business. Following the steps mentioned above, you will notice a team that is accountable. A team that is willing and able to do the job you’ve provide to them with ease. If your team is succeeding, your business is succeeding. Accomplishments are made behind the scenes.

Weeding Out Poor Employees

It’s important to note this accountability process also has a way of exposing the employees who are “not willing”, or “not able to”, do the job. If the employees are not willing to complete the job to the standards you’ve set, they are in the wrong role. Perhaps they may be better suited to a different position with your business. However, if a good fit doesn’t exist for that individual, you will need to help them exit the company. Keeping employees around who are unwilling to contribute to the team, damages the culture. Thus, lowering the performance bar for the whole team. It is critical to the morale and success of your other employees that this staff member must be terminated. Understanding when to terminate an employee will be an outcome of practicing how to build employee accountability incorrectly.

If the employee is unable to complete a task, it is up to you to establish a development plan to help them build the necessary skill set to succeed. This might involve some training or working side by side with them to provide specific on-the-job training. Adjusting the employees targets to reflect his or her existing skill levels will support them as they build capability. This will consume part of your time, but investing in your team will contribute to building their commitment to you and your business. When leaders clearly communicate what their employees are accountable for and committed to achieving, they are describing an ideal work culture.

Establishing End Goals

Defining accountability aligns individuals and teams toward a common outcome. This is more commonly referred to as objectives or goals. Goals inform workers of what’s expected of them and help workers determine how to accomplish them. Giving your employees a say in goal setting can leverage their commitment to achieving them with small effort from you.

When you deliver too many messages, as inspiring as they may be, employees can get confused and overwhelmed. Keep the communication as simple as you can to avoid any uncertainty. Using the term “goals” instead of “accountability”, can help your employees feel like it’s more of an accomplishment when they do something right, and less like it’s a responsibility.

Making Responsibility Easier and Rewarding

When promoting accountability, you are providing structure and processing staff members to do what they say they’ll do. This not only makes it easier for you and them, but it also makes your employee want to go the extra mile. This is because they can clearly see their personal progress. This is what is in it for them. Building life and career skills that will be essential for their future. Whether this is the job that lands them the next job, or these are the skills that they now obtain to get them experience leverage.

You can’t force your team members to develop a meaningful sense of accountability. Although, you can create conditions that make them build a personal commitment by having an organizational culture that promotes responsibility.

Your goal is a team culture where everyone is being held accountable, rather than falsely held accountable. The end result of learning how to build employee accountability will increase work place productivity. Accountability will lead to individual and business success. Make accountability something you and your team members are proud to practice.

To learn how to get started to managing your employees, reference this article on how to create an employee handbook. For more educational hot takes like these, sign up for our newsletter below. Subscribers receive exclusive access to handmade business ebooks, and promotions to get started with Inventora. Start streamlining your business for free today!

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