When managers start dealing with a remote team, they are often left confused about what the team members are upto. Checking in on them again and again to find out what they are working on can build frustration in the team, but not knowing can be quite disastrous considering you are responsible for the team performance.
For remote work to be successful, team accountability is absolutely essential. At the same time, remote team leaders need a fine balance of being flexible and holding employees accountable. But let’s first talk about what exactly is accountability.
Accountability in the workplace means employees are aware of their responsibilities and take ownership of their actions. It shows that they are being diligent and willing to account for their actions.
For instance, when employees are provided L&D opportunities through the best online learning platforms, they may feel that since it is digital they need not take it very seriously. An employee demonstrates accountability when they sincerely complete the training program that has been created for them.
But can you increase accountability in a remote employee? While it cannot be done overnight, remote team managers can achieve this by implementing the right strategies. Following are the best practices to create accountability in your remote teams:
- Paint a clear picture:
Just like you cannot drive confidently on a foggy day, you cannot expect your employees to perform brilliantly when they haven’t been told clearly what is expected of them. You need to be crystal clear about your expectations and establish guidelines for the same.
When employees have been given realistic and achievable goals, and know what they are expected to deliver within what time frame, it becomes easy to create accountability. This kind of structure allows them to stay on track and be aware of their performance.
- Conduct effective virtual meetings:
Remote work relies heavily on virtual meetings, but how many of these meetings make sense? A lot of time managers add too many employees to a meeting without even understanding whether or not they are essential for the topic being discussed.
When you learn to conduct effective meetings and consciously communicate to build connections with coworkers, you set the tone for the team. Your team will know that they are expected to honestly report their progress and you will be able to hold them accountable without looking like their bullying big brother.
- Make documentation a necessity:
One of the best ways to define goals and create a sense of accountability in your remote teams is making it compulsory to document every process. This gives you a clear view of where a team member stands and how far are they from achieving their set targets.
This also allows you to understand their capabilities and allocate work more realistically in the future. Moreover, it helps other team members understand who is responsible for what part of the project, thus ensuring everyone is being accountable.
- Focus on employee satisfaction:
The most underrated yet powerful way of making employees feel accountable is by earning it. When remote team managers focus on building connections and supporting their team, their team members automatically feel accountable for their performance.
Instead of spying on them, show them you have faith in them to do their job well. Give them the flexibility to do things their way but be firm about the results you want. This increases employee satisfaction and builds a culture of accountability.
In a nutshell, accountability cannot be forced unless you want your team to think of you as a control-freak. Encourage accountability by using the above mentioned ideas and you’ll slowly but steadily see your team taking ownership of their actions and performance.