Everyone knows the type of employee I'm talking about. An employee with talent who has delivered great results in the past is suddenly cruising - giving no discretionary effort. He's doing the minimum and seems jaded, too cool or disengaged to give what he once did in his job.
Might be personal issues, might be that he just doesn't feel like it anymore. Might be peer pressure in his work group. You can't be sure what the inputs are, but the output is noticably different.
What do you do as a manager? Two choices in my eyes:
Option #1 - Get in his grill a good bit and contrast what you're seeing today versus what you used to see. Effectively say, "what the #### is up?"
Options #2 - Do nothing. After all, it's darwinian in nature, right? You're seeing his true motivation, so you might as well know what's truly in his heart and plan/adjust accordingly.
Option #2 was argued for by one of my friends a couple of weeks ago. He made some compelling arguements along the lines of why that's the best option as outlined above.
I thought maybe I was being a bit too hardcore.
But then I remembered the reason why I would confront. The employee was someone who had delivered great results in the past. He's not part of the unwashed masses of the unengaged. He's been there, giving more than he had to on multiple occasions in recent history. Then, the flat-line.
Formerly engaged employees of note should always get the benefit of the confrontation outlined in Option #1. You don't know if something's wrong that's fixible unless you ask.
And if nothing's wrong you can fix, maybe the employee deserves your foot on his butt.