How accountability affects your employee turnover

ACCOUNTABILITY is the glue that ties

COMMITMENT to the result

-Bob Proctor


Their employee turnover was high, their engagement and productivity was non-existent. The business owner did not know why he was having these problems; it was different, a few years ago. Clearly something had changed. The business owner felt his people were at a lower standard then in the past. As we looked into it, the operations manager was relatively new to the position. While speaking to him it became abundantly clear he had a management style which did not stress accountability. Much bad behavior was simply overlooked.

Showing up late, leaving early, extended breaks, little to no personal interest in performing quality work to name a few. The prevailing mood was: “do what you have to do to get your paycheck”. Employees were spending a lot of time figuring out how to do as little as possible and still get paid. One of the first symptoms of the problem was when a group of good employees quit over a short period of time. All of them got “better jobs and more money”. Whenever I hear this phrase my ears perk up. The time spent finding out more details of why the employees left, why the job was better and paid more is always a good investment.

Simply, bad employees have no interest in being held accountable. When they are held accountable, a small minority will make a positive change. The vast majority will leave, which is exactly what you want. Your good employees will stay as they want accountability for everyone in the organization. The net result will be lower turnover, higher engagement and higher productivity.   

The second part of this story involves the supervisor. I have found good employees want their supervisors and upper management to take responsibility for their mistakes. It may be as simple as “I messed that up”. High employee turnover is directly related to management not owning their bad decisions. Employees react very positively to a manager who says: “I made a bad decision, now let’s figure out what we have to do to fix it”. Engagement soars at that point and your good employees will try to be actively involved in the solution. If management actively involves them in finding and implementing the solution – it will not fail.

The difference is stark and begs the question: Which company would you want to work for?