The significance of onboarding in employee accountability

by L&D12 May 2016
The ability to assess the levels of accountability in a new employee can be a great predictor of how effectively they will align with your business’s strategy, culture and goals, according to Christine Khor, Managing Director of Chorus Executive and author of Hire Love: how to hire passionate people to make greater profit.

Khor added that a thorough onboarding program and training new employees in the values and vision of your business are integral for better employee acountability. 

Additionally, making sure that an employee is highly motivated and a good cultural fit before they are hired will help ensure they accept accountability for their performance, she added.

“It will also significantly raise the probability that they will be fully engaged, highly productive and stay for the long haul,” Khor said.

Khor outlined the importance of onboarding, interviewing and communicating values for employee accountability.

All aboard for onboarding

To maximise the commitment of new employees, ensure that individual performance objectives are clearly tied to the overall vision of the organisation. If an employee cannot see how their job contributes to the goals of the company, they will become disengaged.

A thorough onboarding program will help a new starter understand and embrace the purpose of their job, the measures of performance, the broader goals of the organisation and the values that underpin the behaviours within the business.

A strong vision, a robust and values-based screening process, and a consistent onboarding program, will give new employees the best opportunity to reach productivity sooner, perform to a high standard and hold themselves accountable.

Assessing accountability

Assessing someone’s level of accountability starts with gauging their values and determining whether they are aligned with that of your company.  A skilled behavioural interviewer will be able to assess a prospect’s values through their actions and the behaviours they exhibit. 

Often they will do this by asking questions about past, real-life situations with the assumption that past behaviour is likely to determine future behaviour. For example, if one of your company’s values is honesty, ask a candidate to describe a time when a negotiation didn’t work out in their favour.

You’ll be able to tell if their example is authentic and whether they are honest about their shortcomings. Then ask them what they did about it. This will determine their problem-solving abilities as well as their resilience.

In addition to the behavioural interview and reference checking process, psychometric testing and credentials verification can be utilised to support your assessment of talent. This combination of quantitative and qualitative assessment will help to build an accurate picture of the ‘person’ behind the ‘candidate’, and establish their true potential for performance, accountability and sustained cultural alignment.

Getting value from values

The lack of accountability in employees is often a symptom of misalignment between the goals and motivations of a business and those of an employee. In order for people to feel accountable for their jobs, they need to feel committed to the vision and values of a business.

Therefore, it is crucial that the vision and values of the business are communicated to your current and prospective employees. When someone believes in your vision and has the same values, they release their discretionary effort and will therefore hold themselves accountable for their performance.

They do their job because they want to, not because they have to. It is important to keep in mind that the success of value-aligned recruitment depends on how committed your organisation is to upholding its values and vision with consistency.