Businesses cannot function if employees simply aren’t doing what they’ve been hired to do. Worse, but seen all too frequently, is when employees are not only failing to perform their job but creating problems for others who are.

Most managers and business owners act quickly when there is an issue. They have the wherewithal, and organizational power, to dress down an employee who fails at an assignment or runs afoul of company policy. But is this course of action best for the business?

Let us share four ways to hold employees accountable without potentially taking actions that are not best for your business.

1. Hire diligently.

Accountability starts even before an employee is hired. It can’t be over-emphasized that taking on the right person for the job can also prevent any number of problems from ever taking root. So hold interviewees to their words. Do your due diligence. Do not rush to fill a gap in the workforce with someone who may not be a good fit. It’s fine to make hiring decisions on talent, skills and past performance, but character should be at least as high on the list. When employees lack integrity, the business itself is at risk. Take your time with the hiring process with an effort to get it right the first time.

2. Maintain Objectivity.

When making accountability-related decisions, especially involving personality conflicts, objectivity is crucial. Focus on what’s right, not who’s involved. Nothing crushes employee morale like playing favorites. An employee handbook with a required employee agreement signature can go a long way toward outlining what’s expected for everyone.

3. Clear Communication.

Whether in family, marriage or business, if you don’t talk the relationship suffers. Communication is truly key to healthy relationships. It’s also true for the accountability side of any workplace arrangement. So why not make talking easy? Foster an open, transparent environment where people can speak their minds and help business owners and managers better understand what’s really going on. Accountability decisions, after all, depend on accurate information.

4. Support and Mentor.

Every business owner and every manager succeeds only when their employees are succeeding. They’re the ones doing the day-to-day work to execute executive level planning. They are also in frequent contact with customers. Support them at every turn to maximize their effectiveness. Help them feel comfortable, encourage them and provide constructive feedback. If they still don’t produce what you are looking for, or if they create problems, you’ll know you’ve done everything you can. Any required accountability decisions will be a lot more cut and dry.

Failing to hold employees accountable can come at great cost. It can negatively affect the bottom line, and undermine the morale of even top performers but it doesn’t have to be this way. Let us know if you have questions for our expert attorneys on how to handle employee issues in your business.