Policies and procedures can also help the development of team cohesion as well as member accountability for their tasks. In this discussion, it is important to have a grasp of the difference between personal work and team tasks. Personal work refers to the tasks and undertakings an employee does on an individual level. This would include projects an employee would be expected to complete on their own. On the other hand, team tasks are the work and undertakings employees are expected to collaborate on and work together to complete.
In any functional workplace, it is important that policies and procedures that would encourage employee accountability for their undertakings. In the workplace, accountability is all about taking ownership and initiative of one’s work; it ensures that every member of your team takes responsibility for the work that they do.
It is especially vital for policies and procedures to be put in place for personal work due to its nature. Unlike team tasks where the employee may have their co-workers to rely on for keeping them in check, the self-sufficiency of personal work may make it more susceptible to underperformance.
In general, policies and procedures may refer to:
If staff members are aware of the expectations of the organisation in relation to their job role and behaviour and these are documented in an Induction Handbook or other reference for each member of staff, they will feel more supported. This is because they know what they are expected to do and how to deal with different situations.
Likewise, once teams have all the details that they require to complete their tasks, and understand the standard expected, it frees them to act and work together to achieve the team goals.
SOPs are detailed instructions used to achieve uniformity in performing a specific function. They let you operationalise documents (e.g., plans, regulation, compliance, policies). Moreover, they distil requirements contained in these documents into a format useable by staff members in their work environment.
An SOP should be the basis for the daily training program of all staff members. It is best to regularly update SOPs to ensure obedience to these. Updating SOPs involves improving processes and operating procedures involved. Moreover, the very process of updating SOPs would require you to develop new training initiatives in order for your employees to be introduced to the changes made. A minimum review period of three years is recommended.
Changes in the SOP are generally activated through process changes, procedure changes, or adaptations. These changes must be led by the internal site controlling procedure. Updating the current SOP must be part of the to-do list of these changes.
A well-written SOP may be used to satisfy compliance requirements. These procedures should be in place for all high-class systems as well as the specific operational activities on the side. The use of SOPs is recommended for all procedures that pose a potential risk to the health and safety of personnel.
The structure of the procedure system and the sum of all SOPs should be considered carefully. It is important to note that too many Standard Operating Procedures could lead to a breakdown of the SOP system.
In terms of promoting accountability, there are methods that you can use to establish the necessary procedures. These include:
The most fundamental way of ensuring that accountability is integrated into the everyday operations of your organisation is to integrate it into your core values. Setting accountability as an officially recognised value would better establish its importance to your employees. Moreover, explicitly defining it, discussing it, and regarding it as a value would enable everyone in the organisation to understand it and give importance to it. This impact of this would reflect on both team tasks and personal work as having the value put in place would eventually push your team members to adopt it as a practice.
On both a personal and team level, having metrics to measure performance would benefit your team members. In setting key performance indicators (KPIs) for measuring accountability, you must ensure alignment with organisational goals and fairness in its measurement. Once you have set this up and begin to use it, remember to praise employees for good performance and encourage them when their results need a little improvement. By having measures for accountability, employees will have tangible ways of seeing tracking their progress and work performance. This is especially important for personal work that would be heavily reliant on their accountability on a personal level.
Another notable benefit of setting up performance indicators for accountability is how it encourages friendly competition among your members. Since the KPIs are measurable, they are comparable; employees would likely be compelled to do as well as or even better than their colleagues upon learning of their performance in relation to accountability.
Giving and receiving feedback is a tried and tested method that enables you to better communicate with employees and inform them of the necessary information and changes they ought to make. In the context of promoting accountability, integrating feedback as a part of your procedures in checking on employees’ performance would be beneficial. Provide employees with feedback on their accountability based on how you observe them. Moreover, ask them to give feedback for themselves through self-appraisal. This is especially important in promoting accountability for personal work. The truth is, no one knows you better than you know yourself. Banking on this, getting a clear picture of how much accountability your employee feels as they go through their personal work would enable you to see their strong points and areas for improvement. Moreover, it would encourage them to take responsibility for their work, especially when it would be heavily reliant on their personal efforts.
Along with developing new policies, you may also opt to modify existing policies and procedures that promote employee accountability. In doing so, you must:
1. Identify and access an existing policy and procedure
The first step in modifying existing policies involves the identification of the policy and procedure you will work on. These must sufficiently list the requirements for employee accountability.
For instance, there may be existing policies and procedures in your organisation that promote accountability for one’s own work and for team tasks.
2. Analyse the procedures
Once you have identified the existing policy and procedure that you will modify, you must sufficiently analyse this. In doing so, you must define what exactly needs to be changed and how this needs to be changed. Doing so will give you an idea of the extent to which you must modify your existing policy and procedure, preparing you for the third step.
For instance, you will look into the identified procedures for own work and team accountability. As you analyse these, your main purpose is to determine how much of the document is relevant and how it can be improved. You will specifically consider what need to be removed and what new parts, if any, need to be added.
3. Modify the existing policy and procedures
The third and final step in your process is the most important part. Using your analysis, you will now modify the existing policy and procedures. In doing so, you must ensure that the modified procedures allow employees to achieve the situation that the document is completed for or suits the purpose of the original policy and procedures. You must also keep in mind that a standard procedure consists of at least two steps.
For instance, your analysis of the procedures for own work accountability and team accountability has made it apparent that you will need to update only a few parts to keep the document relevant to the respective contexts. More specifically, your modifications must simply be clearer on which tasks one must engage in to display responsibility for their own work and shared responsibility for the team task, respectively.
Having policies and procedures for promoting accountability is important. In implementing these, however, you must always remember that one of the most effective ways of ensuring accountability among your members is being accountable for yourself too. Remember that you too need to practice accountability, not only to inspire your members to do the same but also to constantly improve yourself and the work you do.