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Many funeral directors I speak to face the same H.R. issue:  Staff turnover.  Employees (funeral directors, staff asssistants, receptionists, embalmers) bounce from funeral  home to funeral home.  Some funeral professionals are so good at this game of “employment ping-pong” that they’ve worked for every funeral home in a 30-mile radius!

While the costs to train new employees and generate the necessary government paperwork is substantial, staff turnover can have an even more negative effect on your reputation and the level of service you offer.  It’s difficult to differentiate your self from the competition if your key employee now works for them.

The simplest way to combat high staff turn over involves compensation.  And fortunately it’s not all about money.  While it’s true that few people will walk for $2 less an hour, most will leave if they don’t feel respected or valued.  The way you treat your employees is exponentially more important than the way you pay them.

That being said, you can stop a lot of turnover by paying the highest wages in town.  If you’re selling your firm’s reputation or the high-level experiences your clients get from you, you should be passing some of those profits along to your employees.  If they feel left out of the loop, they won’t want to fully participate in the “loop” in the first place.  And there’s no way you can do all the work yourself.

I’ve noticed an interesting phenomenon among funeral professionals who go to work for the competition:  they take longer to make the decision and often fret over the consequences.  Why?  Because your firm is more than just a job to them.  Your firm has been their family, their stability and their haven during time they’ve been with you.

Surprising?  If so, you need to consider the way your employees relate to you.  No wonder they get so offended when only minimally slighted.  You thought they were just paid workers, they thought they were part of your “family.”

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