The real reasons your staff aren’t taking responsibility

You don’t allow them to struggle

Whenever a staff member comes to you for help, you tell them the answer right away or finish the task for them. This is usually fine but if you find yourself doing it more often than you’d like then it’s a sign that they are becoming too reliant on you to do their job. You should get them to figure things out on their own.

Tip: Be brief with your guidance for them so that they have to figure out some of the information for themselves. For example, if they have a question about the stock room, introduce them to the stockroom manager and let them resolve the problem themselves with the relevant person.

You aren’t giving them the correct tools they need to do their job

For example, you want a staff member to take responsibility for staff assessments but they haven’t got the tools or time to do them properly. This means because they know it’s not feasible to get them done on time or done in detail and therefore they don’t take a great deal of responsibility for them.

Tip: Have a chat with the teams or people you think aren’t taking responsibility and ask them what they are having difficulty with. It could be that they find it hard to do a particular task on their own, in this case, the ‘tools’ they would need would be another member of staff to help them. It could be that there is too much admin to do a particular job with pen and paper, in this case, you need to implement a digital tool which will speed up the time it takes and cut admin. Virgin Media introduced a digital tool for their staff which reduced the time it took to do their workplace checklists by 80%!

They aren’t clear on what their specific job responsibilities are

When your staff have been in their job for so long it is easy for them to forget what was printed on their job description. This can mean they get set in their ways of doing things and forget which tasks are actually their responsibility.

Tip: Create a table so that staff know exactly what they are responsible for, where the vertical column lists the different tasks and the horizontal row lists each staff member’s name. You can then fill it in for who is responsible for certain tasks but also who is answerable, which will mean that more than one person will take an interest in whether the task gets completed. You should also look at digital tools, as these allow you to assign responsibility to individual employees with deadlines for when the tasks need to get done by. This ensures everyone is always clear on exactly what needs to get done, who needs to do it, and by when!

They don’t feel like they have any power

If your staff aren’t given authority in any area then they are just going to pass the responsibility to someone else if the job isn’t done. For example, if you have one manager on the shop floor and 10 team members, when you ask any of the 10 team members why a task hasn’t been completed they are just going to diffuse the responsibility onto someone else.

Tip: Instead, you should give each member of your team a different area that they are in charge of. For example, one person is in charge of ensuring that there are no queues in store, another person is in charge of ensuring the stock room is tidy. This gives your staff an area of work that they can own and take pride in, making sure it’s the best it can be.

It’s never noticed when they do take responsibility

Your staff may have noticed that even when they do take responsibility it is never noticed or picked up by anybody and so they have stopped bothering. E.g.. They may have taken responsibility in the past to ensure every customer that comes into the store is greeted, however it went unnoticed, so they stopped.

Tip: If you notice a member of staff taking ownership of a particular task, be sure to let them know that you are grateful and have noticed their hard work. With recognition software  you can encourage feedback and recognition between staff, so employees feel happier and more motivated to take responsibility at work.


Other posts that may be of interest to you:

The real reasons your staff are always late

The #1 reason employees leave their job

7 things that make your employees super stressed

Written by Hayley Lloyd

Published 13th September 2018