My subordinates have not been attending monthly meetings for the past few months. How do I write an email to nudge/drive them to attend meetings?

  • Does your organization use a tool such as Outlook to manage meeting invitations? Are the people not attending marked as mandatory attendees? Have you spoken to this individuals to see why they aren't attending, and if you have, what did you learn? – Thomas Owens Jan 25 '16 at 17:36
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    Did you make it clear the attendance was mandatory? Don't assume they know this without you saying so. – cdkMoose Jan 25 '16 at 17:54
  • It seems a little weird to me that you can't get your employees to attend meetings. Could you get into the circumstances of how they even have the option of ignoring you? Where is this taking place? – AndreiROM Jan 25 '16 at 17:55
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    Perhaps you could take their non-attendance as a subtle hint that the meetings in fact serve no useful purpose? – jamesqf Jan 25 '16 at 21:18

If the meetings are mandatory, then go to the individuals, point out that they need to be attending the meeting, and explain the consequences if they continue to skip.

If the meetings are optional, then a general email about the benefits of the meetings can be sent. But if they still choose to skip, then let them. That's the definition of optional. You can ask if there are things that need to change for them to attend (less work so they have time to attend, more value in the meetings, a charge code to cover the time spent in the meeting), but even if you change that, if the meetings are optional, then let them not attend.

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    Note that if the meting doesn't have a pre-announced agenda -- even if the agenda is "scrum medting" -- it probably isn't worth attending. Tell folks why it's important for them to attend. (Of course when you do so some will conclude that the reason doesn't apply to them, and they may even be right.) – keshlam Jan 25 '16 at 18:24

How do you get them to do anything else?

Now, if they're able to ignore meetings because they're actually doing their jobs, you may need to coordinate schedules a little more, setup separate meetings, alter work expectations.

Is it absolutely necessary to have a meeting in person? Is there a history that suggests they're unproductive?

Finally, punish one - teach a hundred.

  • +1 make an example of someone, serious discipline issue here – Kilisi Jan 26 '16 at 7:30
  • @Kilisi - it does sound like it will get to that point in this situation. – user8365 Jan 26 '16 at 15:58

Write an email to your entire team without pointing to one in particular. Talk about how glad you are that people have attended meetings (point out those who have contributed in the past). Say that the meeting is important so that <insert metric here>.

Focus on positive first.

If that doesn't work, follow up with individuals (in person) and make sure that you understand why they aren't attending meetings.

Do not yell.

(I have to cite this particular chapter as it is incredibly appropriate).

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