Building A Culture Of Accountability For Remote Workforces

Accountability is a non-negotiable skill for businesses that strive for success alongside a satisfied and productive workforce. Read on to discover why fostering an accountability culture is so important and how it contributes to psychological safety in the workplace.

How To Improve Psychological Safety In The Workplace Through Accountability

Accountability is more than a buzzword or trendy topic leaders like to talk about. It is an essential skill that needs to become part of your company culture if you want to achieve organizational success while keeping your employees feeling happy, fulfilled, and secure in their work environment. In this article, we will define accountability culture and discuss how you can nurture it to promote psychological safety in the workplace for remote employees.

What Are The Pillars Of Accountability Culture?

What does it mean for an organization to operate within a culture of accountability? It means recognizing every single employee’s value and contribution to the accomplishment of organizational goals. A culture of accountability also comes with a set of values that are promoted and modeled by leadership, the most important of which are growth and development, and awareness. The former refers to the commitment to constantly helping employees develop their personal and professional skills, tapping into their creativity to reach their maximum potential. The latter involves an employee being aware of the needs of their coworkers and clients on top of their own. This translates into them being responsible for their actions and knowing how to uplift their team in a meaningful way.

What Are The Benefits Of Accountability?

Accountability fosters a sense of ownership among employees and prompts them to carry out their tasks with diligence and care. When employees feel accountable for their actions and responsibilities, they develop a genuine interest in what they do and try their hardest to deliver the best possible results. As a result, fewer tasks slip through the cracks, as everyone knows what is expected of them. Therefore, a culture of integrity, trust, and transparency is built, which, in turn, leads to improved performance and engagement for all employees. This optimized way of operating also gives employees the ability to be more creative and seek innovative solutions to their problems. Overall, a culture of accountability equals a positive, supportive, and growth-oriented work environment.

Challenges Remote Teams Face

One reason that accountability is such an important skill for businesses is that so many of them are now operating on a partially or fully remote model. Fostering accountability often seems to be the solution to many of the challenges remote teams face on a daily basis. For example, it’s harder for remote employees to develop their interpersonal skills, as communication with their teammates is not as easy and direct as in an on-site work environment. Emails or messages may take time to be noticed and may even get misunderstood when finally viewed. This can slow down reactions within the virtual workplace and potentially lead to mistakes, impacting productivity and employee morale.

In the following section, we will look into how you can leverage accountability to counteract the challenges of remote work and enhance psychological safety among employees.

5 Ways To Nurture Accountability And Psychological Safety In The Workplace

1. Clarify Workplace Expectations

The first step to nurturing a culture of accountability in the workplace is making sure everyone is clear on what is expected of them. Establishing standards for how your organization operates, its specific values and mission, as well as every employee’s responsibilities based on their role, ensures everyone knows how their actions impact their colleagues and contribute to company success. This is especially important when launching new projects or initiatives. Before you do anything, you need to assign roles and responsibilities so that everyone is accountable for their actions and fewer mistakes are made.

2. Focus On Goal-Setting

All successful businesses set short and long-term goals for their employees. However, you can modify this process to promote accountability and psychological safety. Specifically, instead of setting and assigning goals yourself, involve employees in the process. This will inspire them to take ownership of their development journey and try harder to achieve their goals. You can also implement this with learning opportunities to motivate employees to complete courses quickly and successfully. By letting them choose their development path, you help them advance their skills and solidify their position in your company while you gain a more capable and knowledgeable workforce.

3. Embrace Mistakes

Although creating a culture of accountability reduces on-the-job mistakes, they may still occur at times. How you handle these mistakes will undoubtedly affect accountability and psychological safety in the workplace. You must be understanding and supportive of employees who commit an error so that they’re comfortable taking responsibility for it. Once you establish a safe environment, employees will find it easier to accept their mistakes, find solutions, and prevent such errors from happening again. This will create a compassionate work environment that supports its members even when they slip and helps them focus on the future.

4. Improve Communication And Feedback Exchange

Advanced interpersonal skills and communication among employees are crucial aspects of a culture of accountability. However, as we mentioned earlier, employee relationships may not be as developed when it comes to remote teams. Therefore, it’s important to provide your workforce with the necessary tools to enhance communication and, ultimately, collaboration and teamwork. These tools include chat platforms, videoconferencing tools, as well as team-building activities and social events. This will enhance feedback exchange not just among colleagues but also between employees and leadership. Communicating openly about challenges, achievements, or suggestions further enhances accountability and contributes to overall success.

5. Promote Accountability Through eLearning

Leaders often view eLearning only as a means to bring changes that are purely technical and measured quantitatively. This approach ignores another crucial ability of eLearning, which is the promotion of cultural values that are mostly qualitative in nature. As such, eLearning can promote accountability and help your employees hone it through customized training modules, interactive content, self-paced learning, scenarios that challenge their decision-making skills, and much more. Leveraging learning tools to instill a culture of accountability will bring impressive and long-lasting results that will support employees throughout their careers.

Wrapping Up

As remote working becomes more prevalent across industries, it’s crucial for leaders to explore more ways to make life easier for their remote teams. One way to achieve this is by fostering a culture of accountability that helps employees bring out the best version of themselves and feel more secure in the future of their careers. In this article, we explored various aspects of accountability culture, from its core values and benefits to ways in which you can leverage it to overcome remote workplace challenges and help foster psychological safety for your workforce.

Values In Action

Learn how eWyse puts these principles into practice by fostering a culture of openness and transparency. From focusing on growth and development to encouraging team members to own their actions, they demonstrate their values on a daily basis.

Author: Christopher Pappas

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