Holding managers and employees accountable for their actions and behaviors should be a core component of any business. Yet just about everyone can cite instances in their work history where the opposite was observed. Whether it was a supervisor allowed to denigrate staff without reprimand or a co-worker getting away with chronic no call no shows, we all know upholding accountability in the workplace is not always done.

The failure to hold staff responsible for their actions and behaviors can have negative repercussions on a business. Productivity takes a dive, company morale dwindles, and talent goes elsewhere. A lack of accountability in the workplace inevitably leads to business failure. This sort of fate for an enterprise is a death by a thousand cuts, each one caused by not upholding the values and integrity the company claims to stand for.

With this in mind, it’s important for business leaders to start taking accountability seriously. Here is how to make it happen:

Better recordkeeping

Holding an employee accountable for something they’ve said or done is difficult to do if it’s based solely on office gossip. Business leaders may want to implement protocol for documenting as much business activity as possible in order to have a record to refer to in case allegations are made. For instance, business transcription services can be utilized to document group discussions, internal calls, and presentations to have a typed record of what was being said and by whom.

Equal tratment

Making sure everyone plays by the rules means enforcing the rules fairly. It’s important for business leaders to avoid playing favorites or penalizing some workers for certain actions and behaviors but not others. Be mindful of the fact that many people play favorites without realizing it, so pay close attention to your reactions regarding various employees.

Defined infractions

It’s difficult to enforce workplace rules and protocol if they aren’t clearly laid out in the first place. Create employee handbooks to provide new hires which define instances in which a reprimand may be necessary. Furthermore, training should include a series of hypothetical situations outlining the potential mistakes an employee can make while conducting his or her duties, in order to give them some context for how and how not to behave on the job.

Annual evaluations

Employees should be the subject of routine evaluations. This gives business leaders a chance to confront staff face-to-face with any chronic behavioral problems. However, in order to provide a substantial evaluation, you’ll need to have a paper trail of transcripts and write-ups to use to support your findings.

Constructive criticism

Evaluating an employee’s performance and holding them accountable for their actions and behaviors shouldn’t be solely focused on what was done wrong. Instead, employees should be explained what the right thing to do would have been and how they are more than capable of doing the right thing going forward.

Accountability in the workplace is easier said than done. With that said, business leaders have an obligation to themselves, their company, and their workforce to uphold certain standards and push back against unwelcome actions and behaviors.