As 2019 begins and we think of our hopes for Australian workplaces, top of our minds is accountability for delivering results according to our values and behavioural standards.
2019 – The Year of Accountability?
In the news, there are calls for accountability of the builders of a cracking high rise building in Sydney. Member of parliament, Julia Banks, has made further comments about harassment and bullying within the Liberal Party, and people are asking whether it’s too early for the male comedians accused of sexual assault during the #metoo movement to return to the stage.
December saw shareholders of the big banks voting against remuneration reports, challenging big bonuses for executives whose misconduct harmed customers and the banks’ reputations. Following the banking Royal Commission’s public hearings, as of 1 January, banks are now subject to new rules about lending, rates and qualifications for offering financial advice.
What builds accountability in individuals and in organisations?
There are some key steps that organisations can take to build a culture of accountability.
Managers need to take action when teams are being pulled off-track, and every member of the team needs to intervene as an active bystander if they witness inappropriate behaviour in the workplace.
Just in case trouble-spots develop or standards slip, every organisation should have safeguards in place. Start the year by checking the currency of your organisation’s policies and procedures, introduce a whistleblower hotline, and book in some training to make sure everyone understands their responsibility to maintain a safe, ethical and productive workplace.
At a higher level, we need a clear understanding of who is served by our work:
- Who are our stakeholders?
- Who matters in the ethical world that we occupy?
These questions are important not only to corporate reputation and shareholder value, but fundamentally to how our organisational values and workplace standards are shaped and to whom we choose to hold ourselves accountable.
Let’s start the year as we hope to continue: with high standards, confidence that we’ll meet them, and safeguards in case of human error.
About Rose Bryant-Smith
Rose is passionate about building ethical and productive workplaces. She leads Worklogic’s consulting projects on organisational values, risk management, business ethics and corporate governance. Rose also creates digital products to build better teams.
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