Creating Accountability is Critical to Business Growth
I talk with small business owners struggling with employee issues all the time. . I often hear “Oh, that stuff is just for big companies. We only have 10 employees.”
Their mistake is that if business growth is really the goal, then they need to start thinking more like a big company. A common problem is they don’t have experience as professional managers
The problem of not creating accountability is that they’ve not communicated the expectations to those 10 employees. The result is:
- Less than desired results
- More than expected customers complaints
- Lots of expensive rework and replacement
- Incredible stress for the owner and production manager
- High employee turnover
What’s Need to Create Accountability?
So, how do you fix the problem? I wrote an article a while back titled 4 Characteristics for Creating High Performance Organizations. In it I discussed 4 things you need to have present in order to create a high performance organization:
- Communicating the operating parameters
- Delegating/Empowering others
- Establishing performance criteria
- Holding people accountable
Even in a small organization you need these 4 pieces of the puzzle to really create accountability which is what takes care of many of the employee problems small businesses tend to encounter. I’m not saying this stuff is easy to create. However, it is necessary if you ever want to create self-sustainability and be able to step away for any amount of time from your business. The diagram shows how this might be implemented.
Creating Accountability – The Process
Here is how this is intended to work.
- Job Descriptions communicates to an employee their responsibilities within the business.
- Business Plan – outlines the goal and objectives of the business so employees know the context within which their decisions should be made to achieve the goal and objectives.
- Scope of Work – is used to assign work to an employee within the context of an objective or set of objectives for the company. For customer or production runs this often takes the form of a work order.
This part most company do a fairly good job. It’s this next set of steps in the process which often don’t happen. And, they are the steps that assure accountability occurs and is enforced.
- Performance Criteria – communicates the quality standard for work performed. That is how well must a task or set of tasks be performed and how will the work be evaluated at the end to determine if it was successfully completed?
Note that quality standards aren’t just an internal document. They should be used externally as well. Using this information in your marketing materials will help differentiate you in the market place and prove that you really do put quality and customer service at the forefront of everything you do.
- Performance Review – this is where the work is evaluated and feedback is provided. This is not just annual performance evaluations. It should be on every work assignment given.
For field service or customer service representatives you should ask for feedback when work is complete by the customer. Providing a simple checklist of what was supposes to be done so the customer can rate the work makes it quick and easy to get immediate feedback and tells you if customer are satisfied.
This too can be used for more than just the worker. It can be used to improve products and service as well as rating overall company-wide customer service.
There you have it. It’s actually pretty simple. As you read it you probably noticed where things may not be quite complete for your company. Don’t worry you can fix these things pretty quickly. It just takes a few minutes to sit down and think about what’s happening at each stage of the process for your business.
I often find people aren’t sure exactly where to start. That’s ok, contact DE, Inc. and we would be happy to help you get started. Our business coaching can guide you through the process. Or, our consulting services can do it for you. Just give us a call at 727-487-5435 to get started.