Business teams can improve their working relationships and quality of work by boosting accountability.
What is accountability?
Whether it’s about upholding expectations or taking responsibility for mistakes, accountability matters in business relationships. New figures from our global database of more than 24,000 client-agency interactions show that accountability, in fact, is the second most important area for agencies to improve upon; second only to their functional performance – the fundamental ability to do the job.
And agencies put accountability ahead of other behaviors in their clients like goal-setting and challenge in terms of importance.
It’s no wonder accountability carries such prominence. Managed well, accountability can increase the skills and confidence of team members, leading to more satisfying and productive relationships. It’s also a vital component for building trust. Business relationships thrive on open and honest communication, not defensiveness and attempts to turn responsibility into blame.
Accountability is one of seven core behaviours defined by Aprais as essential to business relationships. The other six behaviours are; Communication, Challenge, Resilience, Goals, Trust, and Functional (ability to do the job).
Unlike sector-specific disciplines, which can vary depending upon team role, behaviours are common to all marketers in business relationships. This means we can directly compare teams in a single relationship, or against our broader benchmarks.
Accountability over time
Over the past decade, Aprais has seen a steady increase in the average evaluation scores given by marketers and their agencies to each other.
Accountability is no exception and has shown positive change over the last 10 years. Scores have improved by 8%, from an average score of 74 (out of 100) in 2011 to 80 in 2021. This is in line with increases seen for most of the behaviours Aprais measures.
When we look at the best-performing client-agency teams and compare them to the worst-performing, we can see there are big opportunities for agencies and clients alike to boost their scores. The question is, how?
How agencies can improve accountability
- Accept responsibility for mistakes
- Ensure sufficient depth and quality of staff
- Offer recommendations that reflect a thorough understanding of the client brand and its consumers
- Show initiative to collaborate with other agencies involved with the client’s business to add powerful value
- Demonstrate an understanding of the role of digital across the entire communications strategy regardless of agency type and scope of work
How marketers can improve accountability
- Ensure briefs are clear and thorough, and allow reasonable response time
- Involve the agency in research and strategic issues, where appropriate
- Provide adequate staffing and minimise churn
- Be transparent when dealing with multiple agencies
- Manage the priority of projects, and for larger projects establish RACI (Responsible, Accountable, Consulted, Informed)
Download our Accountability report here.https://aprais.com/reports/behaviours-reports/