Recipe for Compliance Success #5: Accountability

In this series of posts, we’re talking about the Recipe for Compliance Program Success. You can see all of the “ingredients” in this series here.

The final ingredient in our five-part recipe for stormwater program success is Accountability.

No one likes accountability when expectations are unclear and biased or subjective measurement is used. Few object to being held to account for their performance when expectations are clear, they are enabled to do their jobs and the results could speak for themselves. In the latter case, employees will often hold themselves accountable and make adjustments before they are told to. Clear expectations reduce employee frustration and stress.

Consistent accountability is the ingredient that sustains the program over the long term and builds a company culture of compliance. It completes the circle back to the executives who made the corporate commitment to implement the program and keeps them engaged and aware.

With a standardized compliance method in place it is relatively easy to find meaningful things to measure. For example, we measure 12 aspects of program implementation and calculate a percentage from that. If a project maintains greater than 80% system implementation, we feel comfortable offering our zero-enforcement guarantee. If they don’t, it’s simple. No guarantee and usually a call from a concerned supervisor soon to follow.

It is usually easy to determine what needs to be worked on and an improvement plan can be put in place. Sometimes the improvement needs to come from above in the form of more support, providing additional training, etc. Other times the employee underestimated the company’s commitment to the program and simply didn’t apply themselves. That behavior usually doesn’t repeat in a second month.

On a company level, when executives consistently monitor results and hold everyone accountable, it usually takes less than three months to get the majority of projects into full compliance with all federal, state and local stormwater regulations. For executives to maintain consistently good compliance on all projects only requires about 30 minutes a month to review performance results and make a few calls to praise or to encourage. It doesn’t take long to change the culture when a company follows this recipe.

Another form of accountability is when measurement and performance reporting leads to healthy competition between projects. Some projects will strive to be on the top of the charts and no one wants to be at the bottom. Either way, compliance improvement is the result.

Over the course of five short posts I outlined the recipe for implementing a successful and sustainable stormwater compliance program. The recipe can be summarized as follows:

  • Make a Corporate Commitment to
  • Implement a Standardized Compliance Program and
  • Enable your people by providing clear expectations and the training and tools they need to succeed, while
  • Measuring Performance results in a fair and unbiased way to enable
  • Accountability including ongoing corporate oversight and involvement

See what kind of success this recipe brings your company and, if you are like others who have tried it, you could discover that this recipe can be applied in other areas of your business with the same positive results.

You can see all of the posts in the Recipe for Compliance Program Success here.

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