18 Feb Accountabilities and Engagement

Measurable accountabilityWhat is measurable accountability? Here is an example:

“All nutritional information is up-to-date for any inventory item that has been in stock for one month or more.”

This is a very specific statement. The answer is either a yes or no. It is a specific measure of success.

For individuals, the concept of meeting accountabilities means achieving very specific outcomes as defined in a job scorecard.  Exceeding accountabilities refers to going above and beyond what is expected. In either case it is a specific measure of success. It cannot be vague. It has to be very clear as to whether the accountability has or has not been met.

Giving Clear Accountabilities:

As one of the leaders at Qualifirst, I have noticed we have been making two significant mistakes in the team evaluation and feedback process, both of which deal directly with measurable accountability.

  1. First, we have been giving employees high ratings in the hope that this would create motivation.
  2. Second, we have not been defining clear measures of success.

Something I am committed to is accurate communication with employees on how they are doing and giving clear accountabilities. That means employees will have measurable outcomes, which, if met, allow them to know they are doing a good job.

It also allows them to see if they are exceeding these goals, which often shows real engagement.

But what about missed accountabilities?

They are not created equal:

  • Some missed accountabilities may result in an employee being put on probation.
  • Some missed accountabilities may mean that an individual loses some of their responsibilities
  • Some missed accountabilities may be tolerated due to seniority or temporarily due to circumstance.

But as leaders and managers, the more flexibility we give the more we expect.  Missed accountabilities, no matter what their reason will bring down the team’s overall productivity rating.

Sometimes a missed accountability is not a missed accountability; it’s a missed opportunity.

  • Some missed accountabilities mean that an employee will not reach a work goal that management is trying to help him/her reach.
  • Some missed accountabilities may mean an employee is missing an opportunity to move forward in the company. Not all employees want to become leaders who hold others accountable. That can cause a problem for the company strategically, since we seek to promote from within. When employees do not want a promotion to a leadership role, then that means we must hire a manager from the outside. 

Meeting accountabilities is a personal responsibility.

If something in the process is broken, whether it is a piece of machinery or an actual procedure, an item that prevents an employee from meeting his/her accountabilities is not an excuse. If something is broken, the employee must inform the manager.

Even if this requires persistence – repeated reminders – this needs to be done, because the alternative, an excuse such as “I sent an email 2 months ago” achieves nothing.

Engagement, too, is a personal responsibility.

At Qualifirst, reading the weekly team emails is an important sign of engagement, as is actively participating in our weekly Foodie meetings, and actively living our company’s values of quality, excellence, perseverance and contribution.

I have challenged and committed each employee to become 100% engaged.

Our engagement evaluation system:

An evaluation rating starts after 3 months of training (the first 3 months are a probationary period), and works like this:

  • An employee rating of 5 or 6 indicates a return to a probationary status.
  • A rating of 5 out of 10 in overall performance is barely acceptable. It usually means one or more important accountabilities is not being met.
  • A rating of 6 out of 10 means all important expectations are met, but some barely.
  • A rating of 7 out of 10 means all important expectations are met but performance needs improvement.
  • A rating of 8 out of 10 means all expectations are met and performance is satisfactory.
  • A rating of 9 out of 10 means performance is above expectation.
  • A rating of 10 out of 10 means performance exceeds expectations in all areas.

To help our employees succeed, I have committed to putting in place a weekly engagement process that will help team members remain aware of their accountabilities and so that they can receive feedback. They will also receive an accurate and up-to-date performance score out of 10.

To get this moving, I have challenged each and every team member to ask themselves, at the end of each day, “Today, did I do my best to be fully engaged and to meet my accountabilities?” and I ask they give themselves an honest answer.

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