Why Accountability Is Good for Employees, Not Punitive


It’s very easy to think that keeping staff accountable is all about being punitive. In some cases, trying to catch an office thief out or interviewing people about a harassment case can feel that way, despite both efforts being necessary. And yet in businesses where processes are vital and security is essential, heightening accountability using quite intensive means can be important.

So, how can we make sure it’s seen as a net good for employees, and why might it be in the first place? If we ask those questions, we become better geared to create a workplace that feels mutually supportive, not antagonistic, without having to subdue those essential considerations we all need to make use of – in this case keeping our staff accountable and our processes verified.

In that respect, you may consider some of the following advice. The more you can do this, the better you can integrate security systems into your business without being seen as a strangely overbearing manager. Provided you balance this advice with your natural temperance, you’re sure to make the best of this, through and through:

Accountability Protects from False Accusations

Accountability helps your staff prove themselves in the right if they have been falsely accused, or if first impressions label them at fault. For instance, it might be that someone has been purposefully avoiding maintaining the safety equipment, and so instead of blaming someone for incorrectly wearing it, our use of video surveillance systems can help us see the poor job our health and safety manager has been doing. That can be a tremendous help in identifying the fault – not to go on a witch hunt, but to get a clearer story.

Accountability Helps You Learn from Workplace Issues

Accountability doesn’t always translate into horrible punishment. It might simply be that you wish to know how and why a certain issue took place. Perhaps a member of your staff put themselves in harm’s way, and it’s because both the process for safety wasn’t clear, and the fact that they spent four days this week working overtime. Accountability helps you learn from workplace issues in this way, growing and listening to your staff, making sure they know their fault, but that they also have a perspective to share on it.

Accountability Helps an Employee Feel Heard

Accountability also helps your employee feel as though they can be heard. It’s the difference between handwaving an allegation against a member of the management (which should never happen), and actually, confidentially dealing with the issue. This former issue might not seem that common, but you’d be surprised just how ubiquitous it can be. Accountability also helps people trust your HR team rather than simply seeing them as an enforcement arm of corporate management. That can be a tremendously healthy priority to take, as unfortunately, not all firms do.

With this advice, we hope you can understand just why accountability is good for staff, and not punitive.


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