So many struggle with getting employees to:
- do more than the minimum job requirements
- to take initiative on their own to get things done
- to make decisions for which the owner feels they are paying them for
- to show up on time and serve internal and external customers at minimum levels.
In last week’s PersonalBrandingBlog.com article I wrote about two ingredients (autonomy and transparency) that can create a motivated workforce, yet, even with those there is something missing necessary to tie it all together to make it work.
The missing ingredient is accountability.
And, it’s the hardest of all ingredients to get right, especially in a small business.
Too often, because of the many hats small business owners wear, focus on accountability never gets to the top of the priority list.
The reason it never gets to the top of the priority list is because it’s uncomfortable for most small business owners, who prefer to focus on their areas of strength and comfort.
Yet, accountability, or lack of it, is at the core of most business owners’ biggest stresses.
Few know how to set performance expectations, and accountability to them, at the beginning of the employee relationship. Even fewer know how to effectively address accountability as performance plays out through the performance period.
Accountability is what allows small business owners to offer high levels of autonomy to employees.
The other component I wrote about last week that creates a highly motivated workforce, transparency, also requires accountability.
In the context of transparency, though, the accountability pendulum swings to the small business owner.
Transparency in the workplace speaks directly to accountability of the small business owner in how they are running the business and whether they are using the business to finance their own lifestyle at a fair and equitable level.
As you might imagine, this is a touchy subject.
The small business owner often feels that the risk they are taking and the extraordinary personal energy they need to invest, entitle them to significant return on that investment.
They would be right.
Often, though, the fear of the small business owner, is that their employees will not understand this equation and will resent what financial benefits they reap.
In my experience I’ve found most employees are surprised to learn at how little the business owner takes out of the business to keep it running so that the employees can continue to have jobs.
By offering greater transparency and being more accountable to employees for the financial operation of the company, it creates a powerful employee-business owner partnership that creates the desired high-performance workplace to the benefit of all.
Small business owners should absolutely expect accountability to job performance from employees in exchange for their paycheck and benefits package, and they should also expect to be accountable for operating a fiscally successful business.
Having this type of symbiotic relationship around accountability creates high levels of comfort and certainty on both sides.
When people are comfortable and certain about their situation and future, they are free to perform at their best.