8 Tried-and-True Tips for Better Communication In Your Funeral Home

Posted July 24, 2019

6 min read

Everyone communicates—but not everyone does it effectively.

Communicating effectively may be one of the top skills we want from new hires and from our existing staff. After all, communication is what helps us build credibility and meaningful relationships with other people.

Keep reading to see 8 ways you can support and encourage positive, authentic, and effective communication in your funeral home.

1. Make regular, consistent communication with new employees a priority

Far too often there is no visible, documented path for new employees. Get clear and have working documentation that outlines a job description and your expectations for them. Then be sure to communicate the key values your funeral home has and how those come to life on a day to day basis.

You’ll also want to communicate other company policies, procedures, and norms. The key is to make this process standardized and consistent across new hires; that way, you can help them build relationships and know critical information, from day one, so they can hit the ground running.

2. Break any change down into simple terms

Communication is possibly the most important component of successful change in your funeral home. You’ll want to break down any kind of transition (small or large) into terms that are as simple as possible to help people embrace what’s to come.

You can start by explaining why you are undergoing any change initiative in your funeral home. Inform people of the benefits you’re seeking: specific to them, for the team, for the organization, and even for families, when appropriate.

You will also want plan on asking and answering questions such as:

  • What is the employee doing now? How is that specifically going to change, and when?
  • What are the new expectations (not yet described) this employee will be tasked with and responsible for?
  • What are the anticipated outcomes during and after this change management initiative?

It’s true that you will want to cast a big picture vision when it comes to implementing change, but you also want to get clear and candid on how people will need to change their behaviors each day. Do that through verbal, written, and even visual communication.

3. Trust—and then check-in on your employees to see their progress

You want your actions to show employees you trust them, so for any big project, you can show your employees that trust by giving them the opportunity to fully own the work.

Just be sure to “check-in” and track how they are doing. Just because you trust them to get the job done with their unique approach, doesn’t mean follow-up (informal or formal) communication isn’t necessary.

On the contrary, these kinds of “check-ins” can help you show confidence in an employee. Plus, it can give them a way to quickly get your feedback and advice, when needed.

4. Make time for 1-on-1 interactions

As busy as you are as a director, carve out time for meetings that can be 1-on-1. This is an opportunity for coaching, mentoring, and simply building a relationship with your colleagues.

It also gives people a chance to share how they are feeling and to voice issues that otherwise may go unheard.

5. Don’t assume others know the same context as you

You may have a great deal of high-level visibility of what’s going on at any given time in your firm. The problem is that when you communicate with others, they might not have that same kind of context and understanding as you.

You want to ensure confidence and clarity with any conversation, so it’s up to you to make sure you share context and as much relevant information with employees as possible. Context is your way of keeping people informed, no matter how complex or simple a message or task may be. Proactively provide context so they have the information they need to get the job done well.

Also think about the medium you are using to deliver that news or information. For example, if you fire off an email or text with a message that lacks context, it may be easily misinterpreted or misunderstood. That kind of communication can be negative and cause stress or unnecessary worry in employees on the receiving end.

Be thoughtful and strategic about how you deliver any message whether it be project updates, training-related information, business updates, questions, concerns, or notifications about an arrangement.

6. Encourage team communication

Great communicators authentically communicate with individuals, but they also communicate effectively with the team as a whole. Be sure you encourage other leaders in your firm to do the same.

7. Regularly discuss your expectations for communication with family clients

How do you expect employees to handle communication with families? How responsive do you expect them to be? And what type of communication are you looking for with them—with colleagues, vendors, and families?

Never assume they know the answer to these questions, even if they have been working for you for years.

As surprising as it may seem, get clear with employees on all forms of expectations around communication. You may be modeling the behavior you want from others, but you still need to clarify those expectations in writing (as well as verbally).

8. Schedule time for the team to give their input

One-on-one meetings may be a space for private feedback between manager and employee, but don’t shy away from getting input from employees in a group setting.

Each and every staff member may not be able to attend, but if you can have a large enough team in attendance, it can be a great way to have open dialogue in your firm. You can discuss all types of operational issues or concerns before they become major problems. This is an especially effective practice during times of change.

Make Communication a Priority in Your Funeral Home

Notice a theme here? Clarification around information is important when it comes to smooth operations—on a one-on-one basis, but also for the team as a whole. All in all, improving communication in the workplace requires a strong desire from all involved, removal of barriers along the way, and disciplined intention each day.

Improve Communication In Your Funeral Home with CRäKN

When using CRäKN, you’ll make sure that all team members know all the real-time updates and details for every arrangement. Something changes with a family? Now you can easily notify team members every step of the way!

Within CRäKN, you can see tasks that aren’t done and also hold yourself, and others, accountable at all times. When team members are always in sync, no detail is ever miscommunicated, and no ball is ever dropped. Learn more about how CRäKN helps you improve your daily communication.

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