Create a More Collaborative Funeral Home

Posted May 8, 2018

5 min read

Imagine if you were to list all of the functional procedures that have to happen in order to successfully execute a funeral or cremation service for a family.

The list would be long!

“Coupled with the expedited turnaround time that families desire when laying a loved one to rest, it almost seems impossible doesn’t it? That’s why fostering a dynamic team is essential to success in the funeral business,” explains Shannon Cummings. “There is too much to be done by relying on one’s self or one other person,” adds Cummings.

Cummings is a Creative Thinking Writer and Storyteller at Life Celebration, Inc. Life Celebration is a multi-faceted design and consulting firm that takes an educational approach to transforming end-of-life experiences for funeral homes.

We sat down with Cummings to talk about the critical importance of fostering a team-oriented culture at funeral homes—the kind of atmosphere where team members are able to collaborate and do their best work.

A Healthy Environment Means Greater Trust & Collaboration

Having a team mentality within a funeral home means higher productivity and more collaboration. It also means employees are able to feel more fulfilled and happy to be at work each day.

“Having this team mentality will lighten the load on directors, admin, and support staff. It’s not only up to the staff though, because what is a team without a coach? Owners and managers have to look at their own habits and behaviors to ensure a team mentality is felt throughout the organization,” explains Cummings.

So what can you do to foster a genuine, team-oriented environment? Here are 3 ways to do so.

1. Go back to “being human” when you hire.

“Finding the right talent is crucial for the success of any business,” says Cummings—a statement that resonates with so many business owners.

For many of us though, somewhere along the way, hiring became more about the process. Or, other times, hiring happens in a state of chaos because we need someone—and we need them immediately.

By getting more in touch with the community at all times, you can always be looking for people who are a potential cultural fit for your team.

Next, take a closer look at the message you are sending potential applicants. The aim is to determine if what you’re sharing is attracting the right kind of team-oriented people to your firm.

Does working at your funeral home seem like a rewarding career choice? Does it show the kind of values your team has, and seeks, in a new team member?

“If not, you’ll surely only have those desperate for work applying. Take time in explaining expectations, roles, and responsibilities,” says Cummings.

Being “always on” when it comes to recruiting new talent is never a bad idea. But it’s also a great idea to have a bench of candidates that can work part-time or flex time, suggests Cummings. “That way, if a full-time position opens, you already have a few well-trained, well-acquainted group of people who could represent your brand.”

2. Start showing you care by coaching your employees.

One of the ways business owners can support a dynamic and versatile team is through coaching—coaching individuals and a group basis. Just like in sports, coaching is what can help develop people and guide them towards being more collaborative and team-oriented.

“Business owners need to own their role as a coach,” says Cummings. “If they aren’t there to support the team, then who is providing the leadership? It’s the business owner’s responsibility to foster the team environment, or if they can’t, they need to appoint someone who can lead the team instead.”

The more empowered and engaged team members feel in their work environment, the better their performance will be. “Lastly, the cliché a rising tide raises all ships is something that business owners need to embrace. If everyone feels great working together in different roles that support a common goal, success will follow.”

3. Devote time to rewarding and recognizing team members.

Genuine, positive feedback and recognition is extremely gratifying for team members. And, as long as it is authentic, it is one of the “easiest” ways you can foster a healthier culture, too.

“Positive reinforcement is what energizes and motivates our team members to continually have an improvement-mentality. The more positive feedback, the better. No one works harder or achieves more goals than an employee who feels valued and appreciated.”

On the contrary, if an employee is unhappy in their work environment, two things usually happen. “They either stay at the current job, and perform miserably doing the bare minimum to maintain their employment, or they will leave and share their story of their miserable work experience with everyone who wants to hear them complain negatively thus affecting the reputation of the business,” says Cummings.

That’s why, first, it’s important to take steps to combat any negativity, such as complaining or gossip. And, second, it’s important to remove toxic employees from the team if they show no willingness to change their adverse, harmful behaviors.

Provide a Heightened Workplace Experience For Your Team

Helping to foster an environment that encourages collaboration is something that takes intention and dedication. If you see an opportunity to provide resources and tools to help employees improve how they work, act on it. If you receive feedback that a certain process or way of working isn’t ideal or as efficient as it could be, be sure you’re open to change.

Taking time to design your culture is essential for funeral homes looking to compete in the modern business climate. “Utilize and leverage everyone’s best skills and talents, and put them together to create an unstoppable team of upbeat, motivated employees,” says Cummings.

Improve How You Communicate, Collaborate & Coordinate

With CRäKN, all your ongoing services are more organized than ever, and they’re made visible and accessible…at any time. Finally, everyone can be on the same page and resources can be optimized!

To see how CRäKN allows you to communicate across your funeral home—with notifications, the digital Whiteboard, and your synced calendar— request a demo today.

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