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 a few employees.”

The mistake here is if you want business growth, then you need to start thinking more like a big company. Many small business owners don’t have experience as professional managers, so they lack the skills needed to scale a business. So, they continue working it like a JOB.

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?

How to Create AccountabilitySo, 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.

The Process

To create accountability you need to:

  1. Write job descriptions to communicate an employee’s responsibilities in the business.
  2. Create a business plan to outline the goal and objectives of the business so employees know the context within which they make their decisions to achieve the goal and objectives.
  3. Use a scope of work 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.

Where Most Companies Fail to Create Good Accountability

Most company do a fairly good job with these 3 items.  However, they often miss the step that assure accountability occurs and gets enforced…

  1. Establishing performance criteria  to communicate the expected quality standard for work performed.  That is, how well must an employee or vendor do a task or set of tasks and how will the work be evaluated to determine if it was successfully completed?

Note that quality standards aren’t just an internal document.  You use them externally too.  Use the information in your marketing materials to 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.

  1. Performance Review evaluates work and provides feedback from the source.  You can do this more than just with annual performance evaluations.  You should evaluate every work assignment given!

Stepping Up Your Performance Reviews

For field service or customer service representatives ask for feedback when work is complete by the customer.  Provide a simple checklist of work performed so the customer can rate the work. This makes it quick and easy to get immediate feedback and tells you customer feedback.

You can use this approach for more than just the worker.  Used it to improve products and service as well as rating overall company-wide customer service.

As you read through this you probably noticed things you not quite happening as they should for your company.  Don’t worry you can fix things pretty quickly.  You just need to take a few minutes to sit down and think about what’s happening at each stage of your process.

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.