I'm currently working as a sole web developer on a project that requires all of my attention. Working alone on a project of a larger scale is, in my opinion, a great experience in the way that I typically don't have to worry about the nuances of plugging code into other people's work and I have a greater field of experimentation allowed to me. I've been working with an employee who seems interested in my field(loaned him books on the front-end coding and thrown him demos of things he's interested in) and have managed to get him time to work as a small level assistant in things that are simple, but may impede on my time.

He's very enthusiastic though not as proficient in code. Still, even with the amount of time I put into answering his questions and debugging parts of his code, it does still alleviate me from doing the whole of a minor side project myself.

Even though I've vouched for him in meetings and currently have him taking care of a minimal side project that requires continuous, though minute, upkeep, I feel like his efforts are going unnoticed. I do think he will be an asset in the future if allowed to progress and I've tried to stress this to my supervisor but it's mostly been disregarded.

I really do want to get him some praise, even for the small role he plays, because his performance in that area has started to drift greatly(a project that should have taken a week has taken about a month or more) and I think it may have something to do with lack of recognition.

How can I address this with my supervisor or higher-ups? Keep in mind he doesn't have a position that warrants coding or helping in any way but he opted to do so regardless. This is how I started out and attained my current job as a developer so I feel as though I can relate and want to do my best to help out a colleague.

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    A simple email to your manager or even HR should suffice, saying exactly what you said here :)
    – Jane S
    Aug 24, 2015 at 21:43
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    @JaneS I did have a few conversations with my supervisor recently to see if we can attempt to get him a higher level of work, a.e. the type he can learn from(I'll still help him out occasionally) and give him some of the spotlight. I think because of the lull in his progress they're(logically) losing faith in his potential. It's sort of paradoxical in a way. He doesn't get recognition so he procrastinates and they seem hesitant to give him opportunities and recognition because he procrastinates.
    – zfrisch
    Aug 24, 2015 at 22:36

1 Answer 1


Does the company support employee education? It might give him more "legitimacy" to the company if he were to take a class or two at a local college and if the company were to offer matching funds it would give them a stake in seeing that his education is used for something. It would also give him more confidence in his own competence.

Chronic procrastination is often an act largely based on fear, usually fear of failure. The more confident he feels in his abilities the less he will be procrastinating. Maybe what he needs is a plan, and a way to judge his own performance apart from the approval of his supervisors. Taking classes would help with that; pulling an "A" in a class (not all that difficult if you are willing to work at it) might give him the boost he needs.

You might try breaking the tasks you give him down even smaller, so that he will be able to have confidence building successes more frequently. Give him clear time expectations and let him know that the tasks which you are giving him are important, not just make-work that you are giving him to be nice. Tell him what you are working on, what you need from him, when you need it and why you need it by then. Give him the opportunity to feel that he is contributing to your efforts, and that he is part of the team (even if, for now, it is only a team of two). Hopefully that will de-emphasize the importance of getting managerial feedback until he is in a better position to achieve it.

  • I wasn't sure about this answer from the top down, but the last paragraph really nails it! Thanks for your input!
    – zfrisch
    Aug 26, 2015 at 16:09

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