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“Why do employees believe they can get away with murder?! Why aren’t they taking responsibility?”

These are questions I receive all the time. It’s a condition that negatively impacts many organizations, and this condition grows worse each day.

If the culture of your organization does not support and reinforce the value of accountability, employees can and often do “get away with murder.”

HRI has studied hundreds of different organizations and through this empirical research isolated the primary reasons why personal and corporate accountability is often weak or even non-existent.

Here is the list of primary reasons, starting with the reason that is the root and catalyst for a culture where employees fail to follow the rules or live up to expectations.

Reasons Why a Company Suffers From Weak Accountability

  1. The leaders lack it, don’t believe in it, or fail to practice it.
  2. The practice of accountability is not a component of the culture story.
  3. There is no expectation for it because it is never defined and extolled.
  4. Standards do not exist or they have they become unimportant.
  5. Employees are punished for being accountable.
  6. Employees are rewarded for being less than accountable.
  7. Profits, growth, and other results are deemed more important than integrity, trust, and honor.
  8. Life’s drama is the focus of employees’ attention.
  9. The leaders do not care about the long-term effects of their actions and decisions.
  10. Few consequences exist for unprofessional or bad behavior.
  11. The practice of accountability is nonexistent in the environment the organization operates in.

Each condition is never an isolated contributor and is listed in terms of its impact on weak accountability (with 1 being the most crucial).

As each condition gets added to the pile it makes it harder to change the environment. However, the place to start any improvement is at the top of this list. The first one sets the foundation for the rest.

In future posts, I will provide solutions for weak accountability. Please feel free to share this article with your colleagues, and ask us your questions about the critical topic of accountability.