How to Empower the Funeral Directors of the Future

No matter what business you’re in, or how large or small the business is, a few core business principles will always apply. 

Tim Bridgers’ engaging talk at ICCFA earlier this year was all about empowering employees to increase profitability through workplace satisfaction.

But how do you empower your funeral home employees… the same people who will be the funeral directors of the future?

It’s all about leadership. Yet, leadership is a tricky role. It is not just telling people what to do. It has to do with knowing when, where and how to give guidance and support and when to back up and get out of your employees’ way. 


The Situational Leadership Grid

Take a look at the Situational Leadership Grid created by Ken Blanchard and Paul Hersey:

Where did you fall in this chart? If you want to empower your people, it’s important to know what your gifts are. As well, it’s important to know your weaknesses as well. Knowing where you fall in this chart now, where would you like to improve in your leadership style? Reflect on what you can do better, and put it into practice daily.


Disengaged = Disaster

Here’s a shocking stat: 26% of the American workforce are actively disengaged within their workplace. That means that they aren’t just lazy or bored at work, but they do not care about their work, their company or their position within the business. 

In the funeral business, particularly, business owners can’t afford for employees to feel or behave this way. Could there be anything worse than a totally disengaged funeral home staff? 

If that is not concerning enough, here are a couple more statistics to consider: 

  • $11 billion is lost annually due to employee turnover in the US.
  • Companies with engaged employees outperform others by 202%. 


What do Engaged Employees Look Like?

How can you tell if your employees are engaged? Tim broke it down into these 4 traits of engaged employees:

    • Enthusiasm 
    • Motivated and inspired
    • Empowered to work their way
    • Confident 


If you are not seeing this type of positivity and employee empowerment at your funeral home, Bridgers recommends lots of one-on-one face time with employees, frequent reviews and setting clear parameters for success. A well-written mission statement is a simple, effective way to make the goals of the business crystal clear to everyone.

When you validate and empower your employees, most of them will respond with a positive attitude. However, if leaders spend too much time telling people what to do rather than acting as mentors, coaches, and support systems, employees become demotivated.

On the flip side, if an employee is new and needs a lot of help and guidance and it is not given, they will also become disinterested because they will likely feel helpless and abandoned. As we mentioned earlier, leaders must reflect daily on what they can do better. Is the leadership style being used suited to the employees, business or culture of the company? 


Remember, you’re paving the way for the funeral directors of the future

Engaged, empowered and confident employees are more valuable than gold. So train them, lead them, retain and recruit them whenever you can. If you can successfully create a team of this type of staff, the sky’s the limit. You’re creating the future with every positive stride (and negative one) you make. 


How do you empower your funeral home staff? How would you like to feel empowered? Tell us in the comments below!

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