Culture of accountability

Arnie Burchianti, Founder and CEO, Celtic Healthcare Inc.

Arnie Burchianti, Founder and CEO, Celtic Healthcare Inc.

To Arnie Burchianti, culture and success are as intertwined as a Celtic knot.

“There’s a direct [link] between the health of your organization’s values and culture to your growth and to your long-term viability,” says the founder and CEO of Celtic Healthcare Inc., which takes its name from the intricate symbol.

Burchianti builds that culture by measuring his 600 employees against core values, such as accountability, teamwork and mutual respect. Doing this has allowed the home health care provider to grow to 2007 revenue of $31.4 million from $5 million in 2005.

Smart Business spoke with Burchianti about how to hold your employees accountable by setting clear expectations and offering simple rewards.

Q. How do you hold employees accountable?

It starts at the hiring process. We only hire people who are self-motivated and hold themselves accountable.

Anyone who’s coming in is asked to do an online personality profile. It helps you get through the b.s. of the interview and understand what motivates the person. You can see whether the person has the
behavioral styles to be accountable to the responsibilities.

We ask open-ended questions like, ‘If you were in this situation and here were the terms, what would you do?’ We’re trying to reproduce what we know this job is going to require. You’re asking questions that will put them in a work environment and seeing how they’re going to respond.

Q. How do you hold employees accountable without micromanaging them?

Managers micromanage because the roles and responsibilities are not clear enough for the employee. If we bring the right people in understanding the roles, then we don’t need to micromanage them.

When you hire employees, you have to have well-documented, clearly defined roles and responsibilities. You’ll hear people say, ‘Here’s your job description, but you’ll be doing more than that.’ That’s like saying, ‘You’re going to join the football team, but you’re going to use a golf club, too.’

Revise your job descriptions as frequently as you [change] the responsibilities. Once the description is clear, then you don’t need to micromanage. You say, ‘This is due on every Tuesday of every week. If
there’s a disaster, let us know. Otherwise, you’re going to be held accountable to do this weekly.’

If you give them a crappy job description, then say, ‘You’re not doing your job,’ they’re going to look at you like you’re nuts. People will lose trust in you if you’re holding them accountable to things that you’re not telling them about.