Improving Staff Morale with a Positive Workplace Culture
By Jeff Stewart, Executive Vice President & Chief Culture Officer
If funeral professionals are always taking care of families, who is taking care of funeral professionals?
A recent study by Passare examined the future of the funeral home workplace by surveying mortuary students who were soon to enter the funeral profession. The survey found that nearly 82% of students view workplace culture as a key factor in their search for employment with a funeral home.
This opinion is not reserved for just the younger generation of funeral professionals. Other funeral directors, funeral home administrators, and even those outside the funeral profession agree that a positive workplace culture is a desirable trait in an employer.
According to a Great Place to Work and Johns Hopkins University survey of more than 14,000 people from 37 countries, employee well-being affects employee retention and employee referrals. Employees who experience high levels of well-being in the workplace are three times more likely to stay with their employer and three times more likely to recommend their employer to others.
All that to say, if a funeral professional works within a positive workplace culture, that usually bodes well for the funeral home.
The truth is, being a funeral professional is challenging. The constant exposure to grief and loss can lead funeral directors to experience compassion fatigue, burnout, and little time to worry about themselves.
A good funeral home can resolve this issue before it ever becomes a problem by creating a positive workplace culture. Because when a funeral home cares and supports its staff the same way the staff cares and supports families, staff burnout and turnover are less likely to occur.
But creating a positive work culture in your funeral home doesn’t just happen. It has to be intentional. Even though you’re busy managing all the different aspects of your business, you have to be proactive in your thinking about your staff’s mental and physical health while giving them the tools to meet families’ changing needs.
Whether your firm is large or small, being intentional about your workplace culture is essential to your funeral home’s success. By prioritizing your workplace culture, your funeral home can have staff that is fulfilled, eager to learn, and offers excellent care to families.
Here’s how a positive workplace culture can lead to better health, retention, and service by your staff, which will lead to success for your funeral home.
Increase staff health and retention
A high turnover rate can be disruptive and costly for your funeral home, especially if you are the owner of a small firm. If your funeral home is frequently replacing funeral professionals, it can be difficult for your staff to continue to offer a high level of service to families, which can ultimately hurt your reputation in your area.
That’s why prioritizing your staff’s mental and physical health is so important to your business’s long-term success. When you value your staff’s overall health and actively look for signs of burnout, you can ensure that their service to families doesn’t diminish but remains the best in your area.
A positive workplace culture also encourages collaboration, open communication, and mutual respect among team members. According to the aforementioned study by Passare, almost 97% of those surveyed rated effective team communication as more or most important in the workplace. This shouldn’t come as a surprise, considering how much coordination has to occur among your funeral home’s staff to effectively serve families with care and compassion.
When employees feel comfortable sharing their ideas and concerns, it creates a supportive environment where everyone is working towards a common goal.
Create a workplace culture that lets your staff know that their health is important to you. Doing so can help your funeral home reduce turnover, retain your experienced staff, and increase overall job satisfaction for your employees.
Here are a few ways you can help your staff’s overall mental and physical health.
– Encourage your team to get outside for a few minutes every day to reset
– Promote a 30-minute break from electronic devices
– Create an end-of-day ritual for your staff so they can better transition from work to home mode
Offer staff education and development
As stated earlier, it’s more difficult than ever to be a funeral professional. Your staff spends so much time and energy serving families that they likely don’t have time to work on their professional development to learn how to best meet families’ evolving needs.
And after a long day at your funeral home, your staff doesn’t want to do anything but spend time with their own families and rest. That’s why you can give your staff the time and opportunities to grow as funeral professionals in the workplace.
Promote a culture of learning, education, and training within your funeral home so your employees will feel comfortable enhancing their knowledge of how to meet families’ expectations. These opportunities to grow will allow your staff to learn more about families’ assumptions about funeral options, prices, timelines, technology, and more, which can help your funeral home care for families.
Your staff will likely take advantage of any educational opportunities you offer them if they see you’re interested in their professional growth. So don’t hesitate to give your staff chances to become better funeral professionals.
Here’s how you can promote your staff’s professional development.
– Attend state associations or watch webinars with your staff
– Choose one new idea to implement in your funeral home
– Partner with companies that offer industry-leading training, coaching, and support
But remember, offering educational opportunities is only half of the solution. Your staff must also feel like they have the time and freedom to pursue professional development, which you can encourage.
Boost your standing with families
For your business to thrive and succeed, it needs to grow – or at least maintain – its market share in your area. To do that, your funeral home must serve families with the same care, quality, and guidance as it always has.
If your funeral home’s workplace culture is not breathing life into your staff, that energy will no doubt affect all who enter your business.
That’s why it’s important to support and rejuvenate your staff so that they can extend that compassion to grieving families. A staff that operates in a positive work environment will likely feel refreshed, passionate, and eager to serve, which will reflect in their service to families and create more satisfied families that leave your funeral home and can advocate for your business.
Plus, every satisfied family that shares their experience can affect your market share, which will result in more families turning to you with their preplanning, at-need, aftercare, and other needs.
Foster an environment of empathy in your funeral home so your staff will feel emotionally supported and better equipped to comfort those in need.
Here’s how you can show support and care for your staff.
– Encourage collaboration, communication, and respect among your staff
– Offer counseling services for your staff
– Implement mental and physical wellness programs for your staff
Care for families by caring for your staff
Creating a positive workplace culture plays a vital role in both employee well-being and the overall quality of service provided to grieving families.
By focusing on your workplace culture, your firm will grow, and your employees will feel even more of a sense of belonging, purpose, and responsibility. These positive feelings will be reflected with improved service and attention to detail for the families your funeral home serves!
Use these tips to create a culture in your funeral home that values your staff’s health, education, and service. You’ll see that when your staff thrives, the rest of your funeral home will thrive, too.