by Mary Scala VP / Human Resources Manager, Scott Valley Bank

We all have certain tasks required of us on a day-to-day basis, some more important than others. Some tasks directly influence the outcome of our major job responsibilities while others are administrative in nature. Regardless of perceived importance, they all must be completed accurately and timely in order to run the business effectively. When employees take it upon themselves to ignore procedures, laws or regulations, or choose to let some tasks “slip through the cracks”, problems can arise that may result in more than just an inconvenience. A company whose culture enables employees to produce sub-standard or minimal work won’t survive very long.

Why would any company enable substandard performance?

It is human nature just to let some things go; no one likes confrontation. On the surface, it often seems easier just to do the task yourself. However, if you don’t train your employees and hold them accountable for their performance, you’ll not only deprive them of the opportunity to learn and grow, you’ll constantly be doing or re-doing their work and won’t have time to take care of your own responsibilities.

Also, by not holding all of your employees accountable for their assigned tasks, you inadvertently cause an adverse affect on your high performers. High performers are acutely aware of those who barely get by, the ones who don’t take personal responsibility for their work product. High performers expect managers to recognize this type of performance or behavior and correct it. When substandard performers are ignored or worse yet, enabled to continue, high performers quickly lose respect for the manager and occasionally either adopt that same work ethic or leave the company all together. The quickest way to lose credibility as a leader (and create a poor performing work force) is to enable substandard performers to continue and, by default, train high performers to behave the same way. In today’s competitive market, no one can afford to be left with a mediocre staff.

Not expecting your employees to perform at a certain level, and holding them accountable to that standard, may bring grief to your legal or compliance department. Allowing substandard work from some not only undermines the quality of your entire staff, but also may have serious consequences for your customers and ultimately you. Mistakes your employees make may cost you both your company’s reputation and money. Consumers expect a certain level of quality and expertise from businesses. When businesses don’t deliver, the result is never good. The biggest difference between you and your competitor is your customer service. Customer service isn’t just a friendly face or doing everything the customer requests, it is delivering your goods or services accurately, timely, and professionally, which depends on the quality of your employees.   

Accountability: “the quality or state of being accountable; especially: an obligation or willingness to accept responsibility or to account for one's actions”.  It will make a difference in the quality of work your staff produces.

View Look in The VAULT - Scott Valley Bank - June 2013