Hiring For Your Funeral Home? 4 Things to Keep In Mind

Posted February 8, 2017

6 min read

In our last post we sat down with Alan E. Hall, a popular speaker, author, columnist, and catalyst for business growth. We spoke with Hall about the model he’s developed that helps CEOs and business owners more effectively attract and hire the right kind of talent for their organizations. As CEO of Tempus Global Data, Hall pulls from more than 40 years of executive experience to provide business owners with proven advice on how they can better evaluate candidates.

In this post, we look at 4 more reminders Hall has once we’ve hired a new team member.

1. Compensate fairly

Hall says a concept called the service-profit chain, which gained popularity after being published in Harvard Business Review, helps to explain why funeral home owners need to be sure they are compensating any new hires fairly.

The service-profit chain establishes a connection that exists between a firm’s profitability and customer loyalty, and a firm’s employees’ satisfaction, loyalty, and productivity.

For funeral homes and other service-oriented companies, profit and growth can be stimulated by customer loyalty. According to the theory, loyalty to a business is driven by families who are satisfied; those families are satisfied because of the experience they had with the business. That experience—and perceived value—is created by employees.

If those employees are engaged, content, and productive, that experience is improved. Employee satisfaction comes from a workplace environment that is supportive and has policies that help those employees to do their job and deliver a great experience to customers.

For this to happen, employees generally need to be compensated fairly, explains Hall. The concept also does more to explain the deep connection between employee loyalty and the output an organization receives from an individual (or productivity).

2. Don’t forget all the costs of turnover

Still, some may be reluctant to pay market-competitive rates. But Hall has more rationale to his argument on why it’s worth it.

In “Putting the Service Profit Chain to Work,” James L. Heskett, W. Earl Sasser, Thomas O. Jones, Gary W. Loveman, and Joe Wheeler explain that: “Traditional measures of the losses incurred by employee turnover concentrate only on the cost of recruiting, hiring, and training replacements. In most service jobs, the real cost of turnover is the loss of productivity and decreased customer satisfaction” (1).

The Harvard Business Review article gives an example for a car dealership, where the average monthly cost of replacing a sales representative who had 5-8 years of experience with an employee who had less than one year of experience was as much as $36,000 in sales (1).

“We know if we take care of our employees and they are happy, they will take care of families,” says Hall. “They’ll also have a better relationship with their peers in the firm, and their subordinates…Then there will be retention of those families. At the end of the day, they give us more referrals to other families, which all leads in the formula to a profitable, viable business,” Hall says.

“Whether a small business or a large company, it doesn’t matter. It’s all the same thing. If you don’t take care of your people to make them happy, they’re not going to take care of your customers,” adds Hall.

3. Show you trust them to use their judgement

Funeral home owners, like every business owner, want employees that can problem-solve, be agile, and do whatever is needed to support a memorable experience for families. Being able to “do what it takes” for families requires empowering employees to be able to make decisions and take action with a certain degree of authority.

Hall says the “grant of authority” is an idea that business owners can become familiar with when dealing with new (and existing) employees. A grant of authority means that a business owner puts their people in a position where they have a given scope of authority, but they feel empowered to take initiative in accomplishing their responsibilities, however they see fit.

“The idea is that you can allow employees to make decisions without any interference,” adds Hall. In service-oriented businesses, so often critical situations with families require quick decisions that have to be made. If an employee is empowered to do what is right for a family, they are more able, and more likely, to use their own judgement to assess a situation, uncover a problem, and ultimately better serve families.

“As long as you hire good people in the first place, remember that they’re smart. They’re intelligent. They have opinions. They have ideas. Part of that is, when we delegate to them to take care of work and problems come up, we have to trust them to solve the problem,” he says.

A funeral home can and will have guidelines, but trusting an employee to use their ongoing discernment to address situations is what is key: “They should always be able to defend their decision-making, but this idea is one tool to help people get better at their decision making.”

4. Show your team members gratitude

While compensation is one way that employers are showing their ongoing appreciation for employees, the most engaged employees will also crave continuing education opportunities to grow themselves, that could include: training, coaching, rewards, recognition, or even promotion. This is true for new employees and veteran team members.

Be aware of what motivates your people and look for ways you can show appreciation for them. “People do want to be treated well, and this is a part of taking care of your employees in the long-run,” says Hall.

Help Your Employees Better Serve Families

You’ve hired a great team, and now it’s time to support them with the easiest way to collaborate and improve efficiency. CRäKN is a seamless solution that helps your people be more productive than ever—all while helping your firm to reduce error along the way:

  • Automate your processes: contracts, forms, files, and more
  • Collaborate and stay on track: calendars, resource usage, to-dos, and beyond
  • Create visibility: e-whiteboard, SMS messaging, satisfaction surveys, etc.

To see how CRäKN streamlines and automates routine tasks to reduce costs—and allows your firm to spend more time serving families—request a demo today.

About Alan E. Hall

Hall is well-known speaker, author, columnist, community leader, and catalyst for business growth. As CEO of Tempus Global Data, Hall pulls from more than 40 years of executive experience to provide business owners with actionable advice on how they can more effectively hire people who are a better fit for their firm. Find the 7 C’s Of Hiring book here.


  1. https://hbr.org/2008/07/putting-the-service-profit-chain-to-work

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