How to Improve Employee Performance Through Training

Posted May 1, 2019

5 min read

So many issues a funeral home may face—such as marketing, financial health, the experience families have with your firm, operations, adopting new technology—can be improved, if not fixed, through employee training.

We sat down with Jeff Harbeson, also known as The Funeral Commander, to talk about the importance of training your funeral home staff.

“Even professional baseball players have batting coaches and they continuously take batting practice before their games,” says Jeff.

“Everyone can be trained, and everyone needs to be trained. If you think your team is so good that they can take the field every time, and never practice—you’re wrong.”

Jeff is Director of Sales & Marketing for The Foresight Companies. As a funeral home owner, developer, and partner—combined with his 20 years of military service including Operation Desert Storm—Jeff brings experienced, strategic leadership to the battlefield of funeral industry innovation and change. Additionally, Jeff is a popular funeral and cemetery profession writer as well as sought after speaker. To read some of his published work, visit The Foresight Companies website.

That’s why we sat down with him to talk about improving employee performance through training. Keep reading to uncover why consistent training is so important for your funeral home.

Why Employee Training Matters So Much to Your Funeral Home

Employee training can be an overlooked opportunity for many funeral homes. Here are some of the top reasons why training can provide a breeding ground for an improved, healthier culture for your firm:

Better operations

“There isn’t one operational issue that can’t be corrected through employee training,” says Jeff.

Improving weaknesses

Arguably every funeral home will have its strengths and weaknesses.

Many times, for example, “people problems” are actually process breakdowns. Targeted, meaningful training can shed light on processes that are broken down or not working as well as they should. The objective of training is to modify behavior for an expected outcome—so be sure to make that clear.

“Everyone on the team can benefit when those processes are made clearer and improved, including families we serve. We serve a more sophisticated and educated consumer than in the past, so shooting from the hip is not an option,” says Jeff.

Consider training with accounts receivables, for example. When looked at closely, the accounts receivables “problem” may be due to an unfavorable—or just an entire lack of—payment policy. “A failed payment policy is indicative of having accounts receivable. It’s a funeral director’s job to collect payment for services/products rendered. However, it’s the funeral home owner’s job to ensure the funeral directors are addressing payment in a way that is conducive to cash flow,” says Jeff. Fixing that, and training around that issue, can completely transform that area for the business. Employees feel better, they are more productive and have the tools to help them be successful, and the company benefits, too.

Improving morale

Generally speaking, people want to continue to learn and grow. Training done the right way can produce happier, more fulfilled, and productive employees as a result. “By offering employees an intentional and meaningful training regiment, mistakes will be reduced and ultimately families will be served better. The sense of satisfaction of a job well done creates a positive morale in any given working environment,” adds Jeff.

“Conversely, lack of training can have the opposite effect. When was the last time harassment, sexual or otherwise, was addressed at your funeral home? How about discussing and training on the funeral home’s social media policy? When these matters become a problem, and then training or awareness happens, it could be made clearer certain issues need to be addressed.”

To help you stay on top of technology

Technology is always changing and advancing. That’s why you may benefit from spending time on training people on technology so your people (and your firm) grow with technology and the opportunities it may bring.

You have to keep learning to grow

For many funeral directors, once they graduate from Mortuary School, CEUs or seminars may be the only areas where they have time to focus on development. But many directors are craving opportunities to learn and grow their skills.

Many are not satisfied with where they are at today, and they enjoy finding better, more efficient ways of working. “Whether it is reducing mistakes or improving weaknesses, all of this comes down to serving families better. This is about intentionally scheduling training that is meaningful to get you there,” explains Jeff.

Check back in next week for part two in the series with The Funeral Commander.

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