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8 Tips and Tools for Creating Accountability in the Workplace

core values Feb 18, 2023

 When it comes to establishing and maintaining a happy and high-performing team, enabling an environment of accountability is a big key to success. From leading with a culture-first mentality to using your values to measure, check out these 8 tips and tools for maintaining this in your organization.

  1. Lead a culture-first organization
  2. Make accountability a part of your CoreVals™ 
  3. Create a habit out of accountability
  4. Implement a Notice and Nominate program
  5. Use your values to hire & unhire
  6. Set clear goals backed up by data
  7. LIVE your CoreVals
  8. Implement The Culture Fix™

Lead a culture-first organization

In order to establish and maintain a healthy work environment that fosters accountability, you have to put culture above all else. This is because focusing on culture will eliminate ineffective patterns, set a more positive course, and then perpetuate that course all on its own.

As the leader of a culture-first team, you’ll be able to:

  • Give tough conversations finite boundaries and clear-cut resolutions
  • Educate and empower employees to make decisions in line with values, rather than having to delegate or authorize individual actions
  • Free up your time for executive duties by relying on qualified staff members
  • Be more accurate and successful at hiring for cultural fit
  • Give your clients something to believe in
  • And lead a team where all employees are responsible for their actions, behaviors, performance and decisions

When leaders finally embrace that by putting culture first they are ultimately putting employees first, the benefits are almost endless. 

Make accountability a part of your CoreVals™ 

A great way to immediately highlight a culture of accountability in your organization is to make it a part of your CoreVals. This is because if you are truly leading a culture-first organization, your CoreVals are what your business will revolve around. 

 Lextech has a couple of Core Values that rely on accountability for success: 

Deliver Success 

We care and we do what we say.

We follow processes so that the probability of success repeats and is predictable.

Work as a Team

We respect and help others

We listen and provide feedback

How could you claim to follow processes or work as a team, for example, if you are not accountable for your responsibilities? Another great example of folding this into CoreVals is Tevera, whose CorePurpose even relies on accountability: 


We serve those, who serve others, so they can serve better.


We keep our promises, tell the truth, and own up to our mistakes; even when it hurts.


We listen to understand, learn to get it right, and respond to the need.

Create a habit out of accountability

It is important to create a habit out of the actions that lead to increased accountability in your workplace. Just like anything else, it is easy to get caught up in the day-to-day, but if your processes and programs are properly implemented, accomplishing this will be a breeze. Schedule your quarterly team meetings, monthly 1-1s and other recurring conversations in advance so you can avoid missing these important milestones. 

Another easy and objective way to get employee feedback is through surveys. These are easy to administer and tally for results. You can use an online program or put together your own email or print questionnaires. By asking each of your team members the same questions will give you a range of responses, which you can then rank numerically and average. I suggest a core list of evergreen questions plus some relating to the company’s current situation.

Here are a few of the meeting questions that Hypercontext suggests for making accountability a habit:

  • Is there anything we should START doing as a team?
  • Would you like more or less direction from me on your work?
  • Do you feel you’re getting enough feedback on your work? If not, where would you like more feedback?
  • Is there an aspect of your job where you would like more help or coaching?
  • How could we improve the ways our team works together?

Implement a Notice and Nominate program

Creating a culture of accountability not only applies to from the top, down. It is just as, if not more, important to foster an environment where peers are enabled to hold each other accountable. This is not to encourage your team to point fingers or assign blame, but to encourage those living your Core Values to continue to do so. 

Leaders who value accountability recognize and reward employees who act in accordance with the CoreVals™. Take a look at some examples of Notice and Nominate programs that we love: 

Pepper Group

Marketing agency Pepper Group exemplifies this with their “kick-ass awards,” a peer-to-peer recognition program. Colleagues nominate each other for stand-out behavior, and all submissions are read out loud every Monday morning at the company-wide meeting.

Employees really like to start the week on this note. Even though they’re just a team of seventeen, Tim says there are around 15-30 submissions each week. There’s no financial reward for these — just an aptly named trophy. The public recognition and reinforcement are enough incentive as evidenced by the ongoing enthusiastic participation.


Employees nominate their coworkers who best live up to one of the company’s CoreVals™ for their monthly “228 Award”. Everyone gets together in the warehouse and one member of the leadership team announces the winner of the “228 Award.” Stories are told, values are reinforced, and one person from each department goes home with a $250 gift certificate.

The sum is rounded up from $228—the amount of money that Larry Nance initially invested to found SABRE in 1975. Do you think any member of SABRE has forgotten about the roots of their business? Not a chance. Where the company came from is an important part of its current identity. It’s one of the things in which people take pride.

Reminding the staff of this every month keeps that particular value alive. At these gatherings, it is important not to just name the winner, but to tell the story behind the nomination and the CoreVal for which the employee was nominated. To show that culture extends beyond the internal organization, even I was awarded SABRE’s Empowered Award for helping the corporation “evolve and solve” its cultural challenges.

Source: Case study


Mike Petsalis, CEO of Vircom, hands out statuettes of the Star Trek characters to everyone in the company who is “caught committing a core value” that month. These are vintage models found on Ebay. He has resisted handing out financial rewards, not because of budget, but because the statuettes are so highly valued by his team.

One month, he didn’t bother handing out the statuettes and the winners came to his office in protest. These seemingly simple things can take on great importance at little cost.

Use your values to hire & unhire™

Hiring better ‘fits’' and unhiring those with low CoreScores will lead to improved performance, retention, greater transparency and increased accountability. Not only do these methods produce improvements like fewer recruitment headaches, less office drama, and superior work outcomes, but ultimately the return is in better revenues and happier people who were excited to come to work. 

While these practices are especially effective as you grow and add people to your roster, it is also important to have a process to remove- or unhire-employees who drag your culture down. I like to use the word unhire because it is less demeaning than the popular term “firing” that is thrown around so casually in business. Unhiring suggests a more mutually agreed act and one where the employer or hiring manager is accepting some responsibility for a hiring mistake.

By following these processes. you are given the opportunity to acknowledge superior work without bias and relieve yourself from having to make judgment calls on a case-by-case basis, a method that will ultimately drain your resolve. When your team sees others being held accountable, both in a positive and not-so-positive light, they will feel more motivated to show up their best. 

Set clear goals backed up by data

It is important to continually check up on your stakeholders and the health of your culture through what we call the Core Score. This tool is represented by a numeric measurement that indicates the degree to which employees and teams work in concert with CoreVals. The CoreScore is easily applied to both current employees and new candidates applying to join the team. A low score obviously means the person in question is not right for the role.

When we take this process one step further and compare the ups and downs of the CoreScores with your company’s metrics on meeting performance objectives and revenue goals, you’ll discover even more insights. Measuring KPIs in a transparent, company-wide manner is a proven way to make it easier for stakeholders to understand your goals- and for you to know they understand them. Once these tools are in place, everyone is on the same page and there’s no room for prevarication or excuses.

By setting clear goals backed up by data, you tell people how to go about their jobs and put everyone on the same scale of accountability. 

LIVE your CoreVals™

Once you have your people on board and your leaders keeping everyone focused on core values, you get to enjoy the many returns you will see from your investment in culture. Using CoreVals to drive performance, accountability and happiness at work will free your time and eliminate many worries that distract you from the hands-on portion of the business—or what you really want to be doing with your work hours. How, then, will you integrate culture into your days, weeks, months— and into the future? The key to driving your business is forming a continuum of culture.

Consistent leadership also builds trust, which is what makes companies thrive. Trust fosters innovation, accountability, and motivation to act for the greater good instead of personal gain. This mindset, in turn, creates trust with clients, for even more benefits. For Culture Czars, a company’s purpose acts as a blanket term for consistent forward movement around mission and motive.

A great culture is only complete when its CorePurpose is in place. Only then will people know what the company is about in big-picture terms, where they fit, and how to operate. It makes employees feel valued and like they are making meaningful contributions to the world, not just showing up to work because they have to. It might sound obvious, but people care about how they feel, and they want to feel real.

Bringing culture alive in this way helps people thrive—so they can drive your business to the top.

Implement The Culture Fix®

If you are eager to lead a culture-first and accountability-forward organization but don’t know where to start, The Culture Fix might be a fit for you! This book provides 9 deeds for you to implement over 90 days and will help you transform your business from simply having Core Values to truly having a Valued Culture. As mentioned, a focus on culture, will eliminate ineffective patterns, set a more positive course, and then perpetuate that course, all on its own.

Will Scott pulls apart 9 Deeds in order to bring your company's culture alive, and into a thriving, driven organism that goes beyond the four walls of your building. When you grow an atmosphere that your employees truly want to be in, you create a company that grows their ROI naturally. This book has the techniques to get you there.

Written by The Culture Fix® founder, Will Scott, The Culture Fix book steps you through the process of creating an environment where your team thrives, your company grows and you feel like you are leading the company you always wanted. Scott is passionate about creating environments where people thrive to become the best they can be. Will regularly holds workshops and speaking events on corporate culture and his 9-step process can help you transform yours in just three months.

Dip your toe in the Valued Culture pool with a NEW mini-course

If you have been considering implementing a Valued Culture in your organization, but aren’t sure where to start, or what program is right for you, we’ve got you covered! We’ve launched a NEW, abbreviated but mighty offering just for you. In this mini-course, Will Scott, the founder and author of The Culture Fix®, walks you through the 9 Deeds in 90 Days. By providing real client examples and an accompanying workbook, you will be empowered to start your journey toward leading a truly valued culture in just 40 minutes.

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