I have an employee that I think has been underperforming the last few months. I don't have a "smoking gun" to prove that he is underperforming, however I do have some circumstantial evidence and a gut feeling.
Programmer performance is very difficult to quantify and compare, however the reasons I felt that he is under performing are
- Time record on our bug tracking tool
- Relatively frequent office absence
- Unable to finish all of the tasks assigned to him.
So I sat down with him one to one to have a straight talk with him to try and find out if my perception was right or wrong. I thought by approaching him about it in a non-condemning manner, he could correct me if I was mistaken and there'd be no hard feelings.
I first affirmed his talent and his work in the past, then I asked him whether he was putting in his best effort for the past few months. I carefully worded my question so as to remove any emotional or blame elements in it. I then outlined the reason for my feeling (as mentioned here)
He was indignant as I talked, and felt that this was a completely unfair feeling. I then replied that this was just my feeling and I didn't know whether my feeling was right or not. But rather than try and correct me or discuss the subject, he got offended and ended the discussion immediately, stating that he "would try to do more" in a very cold tone.
I was taken aback by this reaction.
Should I do something to try and repair my relationship with this employee? If so, what? If not, why?
I am still not certain if I am right or not about his performance. It's possible I misjudged him, or it's possible I'm right and he won't admit it. But I would like to try and repair our relationship either way.