Make April About Your People

April showers are upon us. Winter is over in most places around our country and North America, rain is watering the land preparing us for summer. Some of you are still experiencing the heavy wet snows of spring, so stay warm as we know it melts faster now. When spring comes each year, it is like a cleansing of our land, a washing away of the gloom of winter. For those going through devastating storms and tornados, it can be a sad and tragic time, and our hearts go out to you and your people on your staff and in your community.

It seems like our profession has gone through a very sad and tough time these last two years. We all hope the pandemic is finally over as it seems to be easing up in most areas of our world. What it has left in its wake and what will life be like on the other side of it this year, can be difficult to say and predict. There are those that try to tell us what to prepare for, what to do differently and the news can be a bit concerning.

For today and this month’s readers, I encourage you to live in the here and now. Do your very best to count the many blessings you have. Planning for the future is wise, yet I feel we have more pressing issues facing us now in 2022 that may need our more immediate attention than what our cremation rates will be, or how many death calls we will have, or who is selling or buying funeral and cemetery businesses today. I do not want to say that some of what others are telling us isn’t important, but with all the social media posts out there, the podcasts, the newsletters, etc. flooding our inboxes I ask you to consider what your priorities really are and should be.

Those who really need our attention right now is our people. They have been through the pandemic and the storms with us and it’s important to realize what a true blessing they are to us and those we serve. For those who are owners, managers, or supervisors in our profession, a gentle reminder that your people are your greatest asset and hopefully you see them as one of the most important blessings you have in your work life. Without them, you have no job, no purpose, and no one to support both your client families, you, and your business.

This April, I encourage you to honor and celebrate the blessings of your people, find ways to better care for them, and plan to do more to support, teach, train, and provide the very best workplace culture you can as a goal this year!

Why is this important?

As prices continue to increase are we as owners and managers mindful that costs are increasing for our people? I’ve read numerous articles that business on average is increasing their wages this year by an average of 5.6% over this time last year. If inflation has risen overall to 7.9% as of February 2022, then we have given our staff possibly a 4.7% haircut in their income. Is this the right thing to do? Ask yourself what are you as an employer or manager doing to your people’s ability to live, feed their families, and pay their bills? It should not matter if they are working full or part-time, have been with you a year or 10 years. They will not be able to afford to live with almost a 5% salary reduction. 

Are you more worried about our competitors down the street and if they have raised their prices? Or should you be more worried about our greatest asset? —your PEOPLE.

Readers, I hope it is the latter.

We know that raising salaries are not the only thing that will help your people and it is not the only reason people stay or leave their jobs, but this year, it might just be a big reason people are looking for new employment. Funeral service has a history of underpaying for good people. There is only one person that can fix this in your firm, and it is you, the owner.

If you are a manager, talk to your owners, and your bosses and go to bat for your people. If you are one of the “people” I encourage you to advocate for yourself.

In addition to pay increases in 2022, I also encourage you to work on enhancing and improving your workplace culture with programs and behaviors that bring more appreciation and recognition, good education, mentoring, and training to your companies. Look in the mirror too, as a great relationship with their boss and manager, will factor into your people’s job satisfaction.  

Going forward, especially this spring please take a closer look at how your peoples’ salary increases compared to the inflationary cost increases happening in the world, in your market, in your region, and profession. There are many salary studies out there. I encourage you to look closer locally to find comparable jobs and observe their averages. Then if you can make it happen, add 2% to these numbers. Your people need your support and to know that they matter to you!

I hope this April finds you discovering more ways to support your people in the workplace with their most important needs, a fair and competitive wage, a place where they feel safe to express themselves, and a work environment where you create a true feeling of caring for the hearts, minds of those you support.

In this month’s upcoming newsletter, you will hear from John Schmitz, CPA one of our Collaborative Network Partners who speaks more about inflation and what funeral service firms need to consider, and Sean Fagan, who speaks more about how to develop and track a marketing budget for your business. We try to bring you solid information to help you become the best employer of choice, the best operator in your market and we hope you find these articles of interest. To sign up for our newsletter, please visit our website.

 In our next podcast episode available Thursday, April 14th, from Your Funeral Coach Talks, you will get to know Scott Newton from Graystone Associates and how he and his team help owners and managers improve communications and provide high-quality training and support to over 100 funeral service firms in our profession. Having a great training program is another element of your business that is wanted and needed to support your people!

Wishing you many blessings this spring and thank you for your readership, following my blog, and listening in on my podcasts, as I fulfill my mission and desire to help our profession improve and thrive and to take better care of yourself, your business, and your most important asset, your people!

If I or any of our Collaborative Network Partners may be of further support to you, please reach out.

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