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Accountability and Its Importance for Companies

By David Tomas, on 14 October 2021

The term "accountability" is a buzzword in the marketing and business world, but it is not necessarily easy to define. As you will see in this article, accountability is related to individual responsibility.

Understanding it and, above all, putting it into practice at the level of management and individual employees is fundamental to a company's success. That said, let's take a look at what accountability is and how you can start applying it now.

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Accountability and Its Importance for Companies

 

What Is Accountability?

The term "accountability"  refers to the personal responsibility of each individual for the actions they have taken and the results they have achieved. An accountable worker is one who takes an active role in the face of problems rather than shirking their responsibilities.

Accountability is spoken about at the level of each individual employee, but you can also apply it to the entire company. In a company with a high level of accountability, there is a culture that favors transparency and that starts with management.

Accountability plays a fundamental role in companies, as it fosters a company culture where problems are identified and solved quickly rather than passing the buck to another member of the team.

There are three different factors that are a fundamental part of accountability.

  • Responsibility: This is perhaps the most significant factor in accountability. It is crucial for team members to accept responsibility for the tasks assigned and the objectives achieved, whether they go well or not. For a company to put accountability into practice, it is also important to understand that we are all human and can make mistakes; the important thing is to work to solve them when they occur. It is also necessary to foster a culture of recognizing achievement.

  • Proactivity: In a company with accountability, employees are not simply passive subjects waiting to receive orders. On the contrary, they take responsibility for their work and are committed to their role, looking for ways to achieve their objectives and suggesting and implementing changes and improvements whenever necessary.

  • Commitment: An employee who is accountable takes ownership of their duties and is committed to fulfilling them. In order to realize this, it is necessary not to accept tasks that go beyond your current capabilities or available time and energy. You should also be able to ask for additional training or help with a task when necessary.

Accountability and Metrics in Marketing

In the marketing world, it is said that "what cannot be measured cannot be managed." If accountability means being responsible for the results achieved, it is logical to think that these results should be measured continuously.

To implement a culture based on accountability, you must not only measure the "classic" metrics such as market share, brand awareness, and ROI but also others.

  • The more "abstract" assets of the company such as branding, service quality, customer focus, or reputation. Attributing a short-term ROI to these kinds of assets can be tricky, so the key is to consider marketing as an investment, not just an expense.

  • The work done. Marketers must dare to experiment and try new things, even if the results are not always as expected. Accountability implies recognizing when a good job has been done and when time and effort have been invested, even if this is not reflected in standard metrics.

  • Happiness in the company. Job satisfaction is not only linked to the well-being of each team member, but also to productivity and permanence in the company, so measuring and promoting it is essential to creating a good corporate culture.

5 Good Accountability Practices For Companies

You may be wondering how to put the concept of accountability into practice in order to take advantage of its benefits in your company. These best practices will help you get on the road to accountability.

  1. Implement appropriate measurement systems. In order for people to be held accountable for their work, you need to be able to look at both the actions taken and the results achieved. In this way, you can identify both good work and areas for improvement as well as implement appropriate measures in each situation.

  2. Recognize merit. When good work is recognized, people have extra motivation to do their best. Therefore, recognizing and pointing out what is going well is as important as detecting failures. 

  3. Don't blame external factors. Creating a company with accountability means crafting a culture in which mistakes and failures can be assumed as one's own, starting with management. It is not necessary to fall into the temptation of looking for culprits or making excuses but to recognize openly that a mistake has been made and a solution needs to be found. It isn't about pointing out failures or blaming people but identifying what is not working in order to improve it.

  4. Look for quick and effective solutions. In a company with accountability, it is not useful to try to hide the blunders. Once an error has been identified, you must get to work to resolve it as soon as possible. This way, you are creating an environment of continuous improvement that has a positive impact on the company's results.

  5. Measure and optimize. Accountability is based on facts and continuously measuring what is happening in terms of actions and results. This allows you to see what the strengths and areas for improvement are, change what is not working and continue to improve.

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David Tomas

CEO y cofundador de Cyberclick. Cuenta con más de 20 años de experiencia en el mundo online. Es ingeniero y cursó un programa de Entrepreneurship en MIT, Massachusetts Institute of Technology. En 2012 fue nombrado uno de los 20 emprendedores más influyentes en España, menores de 40 años, según la Global Entrepreneurship Week 2012 e IESE. Autor de "La empresa más feliz del mundo" y "Diario de un Millennial". ______________________________________________________________________ CEO and co-founder of Cyberclick. David Tomas has more than 20 years of experience in the online world. He is an engineer and completed an Entrepreneurship program at MIT, Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In 2012 he was named one of the 20 most influential entrepreneurs in Spain, under the age of 40, according to Global Entrepreneurship Week 2012 and IESE. Author of "The Happiest Company in the World" and "Diary of a Millennial".