I hope you enjoy the articles in this issue of our Newsletter. Your Funeral Coach is a Coaching and Mentoring Firm that lives in the funeral, cremation and cemetery services space. We offer a wide variety of affordable consulting options and have joined with some incredible companies to provide the very best advice and education possible to help owners and individuals grow themselves and their teams in our profession.
Thank you for your loyalty and for taking the time to read some of our Collaborative Network Partners articles. We want to offer sound advice from some of the best and the brightest supporting our profession.
The time to work on company culture and financial success is now!
Late summer is a good time to reflect on how your business is doing, as many of you are just past your mid-year 6-month fiscal year point. It is also a good time to take a 6 month "look back" and compare it to last year's same time period. Reviewing some of your Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) at a minimum of every 6 months, and even better, every quarter is what owners and managers should do consistently.
It is good to analyze whether some of your overhead expenses have gone up, and check in on your cost of goods sold, utilities, etc. For sure your salaries should have increased as it's important during these inflationary times to take care of your people. If all you give them is a 3% increase and inflation is over 9% what message are you sending them? Have you raised your prices for your clients? Most of you should have evaluated this during your budget preparations. Our Collaborative Network Partner John Schmitz recommends small increases several times a year. This means, that having a price list that is easy to produce and change is important as well.
Assessing job satisfaction is also worthwhile. Workplace wellness/wellbeing is a hot topic right now. According to Harvard Business Review, $500 billion is being siphoned out of our economy due to workplace stress, and 550 million workdays are lost each year, due to stress on the job. The Great Resignation continues, so the time is now to focus more on what your employees need most. Setting up strong retention programs is one of your most important jobs, as the owner/manager. What are you doing to provide programs that help your staff with stress? Do you have a quiet private place where they can take an uninterrupted break alone?
Tip # 1: Private time areas are not in the prep room, laundry room, or staff lounge. I highly recommended that all firms find a small room for their team members to "get away" from the public and other team members, to relax and re-energize themselves, especially on busy days. How about bringing in someone to provide chair massages about once a month? If you are not busy, can you give them some extra paid time off, longer breaks, etc.? Quality time off and schedules that allow flexibility are important retention tools, especially in our profession.
Tip #2: 1 on 1 time is not ever a performance review, nor salary talk times. When you spend more time getting to know your staff on a personal level, this shows them how much you care for them. Find out about their hobbies and things they love to do most on their time off etc. Ask open-ended questions about them, their family, their vacations, etc. Ask for feedback on how they are doing in their role at work and what some of their goals are that they would like to achieve. Also, ask them if there is anything more you may do to support them.
Tip #3: Ask your staff for feedback on what the business needs to do more of, less of, or differently, and if there is something they would like to be a part of to help make the business better for them as a team member and for the clients we serve.
Tip # 4: Thanking them and showing appreciation for their ideas and sharing how their work is essential gives a little boost to their self-esteem so that they know they are doing a good job. A gentle reminder that at these meetings, it is not the time for training nor to talk about things they need to do better or correct. Those are separate "redirection" and much shorter meetings that should occur when areas of correction or new training are needed.
Taking a personal interest in everyone's individual needs is essential to today's retention programs. The more time quality time you spend with your staff, the more likely there will be an increase in loyalty and job satisfaction.
Make this time of year in your business cycle one of review of your business and listening to your staff. If we can be of support to you to help you further with retention programs, don't hesitate to reach out.
Listen to our latest podcast episode from Your Funeral Coach Talks where Lisa is joined by Barbara Kemmis, the Executive Director of Cremation Association of North America(CANA) as they discuss the newest cremation research conducted by CANA along with the post-pandemic results. CANA is celebrating its 104th Cremation Innovation Convention on August 17-19th in Atlanta, GA. The event brings innovative cremation professionals together to share ideas, learn from experts, and see the newest products and services from suppliers. To learn more about CANA's 104th Cremation Innovation Convention, visit www.pheedloop.com/cana22/site/home/
Keep an eye out for our upcoming podcast where Lisa interviews our newest Collaborative Network Partner Coleen Ellis, a recognized leader within the world of Pet Death Care. Coleen is a sought-after international speaker, author, and founder of Pet Angel Memorial Center, Two Hearts Pet Loss Center, and Coleen.Rocks. In addition to her many years in Pet Death Care, Coleen’s work experience also spans over 18 years in the human funeral business. This episode will be available to listen to next week, August 18th.
HOW TO CULTIVATE A POSITIVE WORKPLACE IN TODAY'S FUNERAL PROFESSION
Written by Kyle West
The workplace is changing, especially since Covid-19. From the “Great Resignation” trend to a wave of early retirements, the workplace of today leaves business leaders with a completely new landscape. And the funeral profession is no different.
Emotionally taxing, stressful, fast-paced, high expectations — all accurately describe the workplace of today’s funeral professional. Whether you’re new to the business, or a seasoned pro, it can create an environment that is far from ideal.
The big question is, is it possible to change the workplace for the better? And, what happens if we don’t make any changes?
According to Harvard Business, “Association estimates that more than $500 billion is siphoned off from the U.S. economy because of workplace stress, and 550 million workdays are lost each year due to stress on the job.”
Unless something changes, the funeral profession could easily see a significant loss of employment due to workplace stress. Compound that with the perception that the pay structure is simply too low to warrant dealing with this stress, and you’ve got a losing combo.
It may be obvious why improvement needs to be made, but how?
Recently, website accessibility has become a front and center issue for many businesses. It’s especially important for funeral, cremation, and cemetery businesses.
The ADA, which was passed in 1990, prohibits discrimination against those with disabilities, ensuring they have the same rights and opportunities as those without. The act covers all sectors, from jobs and schools to transportation and public/private places open to the public.
In 2010, the U.S. Department of Justice passed the Americans with Disabilities Act Standards for Accessible Design, mandating all electronic and information technology, like websites, be accessible to those with disabilities, like vision impairment and hearing loss.
Your first reaction is likely to be “Are you kidding me?” The good news if you have never heard about this is that you are not alone. Over 95% of websites fail to meet even the most basic standards.
It was about 7.5% then. And since then, Jerome Powell, Chairman of the Federal Reserve Board, has stated that they misinterpreted the inflation to be transitory. They are raising interest rates rapidly with more promised soon. They hope to create a “soft landing” for the economy. Most analysts I follow don’t believe that is possible and that a recession (however slight) may be necessary to slow inflation and bring it back to the desired goal of 2% annually. It was 8.6% in May.
So again, I strongly recommend you review your largest costs which are typically payroll and vendor costs to determine your price lists. Because this isn’t going to stop soon, and you would prefer not to make large increases during a possible recession from a PR standpoint, several hundred dollar increases now will be accepted more readily than a large annual increase. Most consumers won’t even notice or complain about a couple hundred dollars in the current environment as they understand all products and services are increasing. I would recommend small hundred-dollar increases every 3 to 4 months.