“I love constantly hiring new employees!” said no one ever.
The time and energy needed to recruit and on-board a new employee is abundant, especially in the funeral profession. Usually there is not a single solitary second that can be spared in a funeral home, and the disruption in day-to-day operations due to staffing issues adds stress to an already obscenely hectic environment. If you’re like most funeral home businesses, chances are high that staffing issues are a challenge already. The staffing trouble ripple effect expands, affecting workflow process and procedures throughout many areas of the business. Before you know it, you are burnt out, frustrated, and exhausted. And guess what? So is everyone else on your skimpy team.
Maintaining a healthy work environment and sustaining a talented, happy staff is vital to the success of every business. So before you find yourself tumbling down into the terrifyingly bleak staffing rabbit hole, here are four top tips that will show you how to cultivate a work environment rich with positivity and flourishing in teamwork. What better time than the spring to take a fresh look at your staffing strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities?!
1. Hire Correctly
Finding the right talent is crucial for the success of any business. Spend the time necessary to properly recruit talent for your organization. Search outside of the profession if necessary. If you know someone who happens to exude the culture of your business but doesn’t have any funeral experience, take a chance, bring them on board and see if they are a good fit. I challenge my clients to groom talent and invest the time in staff development. All the while, keep in mind it is important to maintain a healthy balance of seasoned professionals that can help guide the new hires.
2. Encourage a versatile team system whenever possible
The workplace is changing due to today’s consumers’ expectations. Today’s consumer requires personalized attention, plentiful options, and ultimate convenience. The changing retail landscape (brick and mortar vs. e-commerce) is a catalyst for the consumers changing buying habits and behavior. Shoppers can get whatever they want online and usually they can do it all in the same place À la, Amazon.com. Consumers’ online (e-commerce) buying habits and consumers’ physical store (brick and mortar) buying habits are beginning to blend together. Each of the consumer’s expectations mentioned above requires skill versatility amongst staff and offerings within an organization. As businesses begin to recognize this trend, the need for versatility in skills and offerings is paramount. Fostering an environment that encourages collaboration and teamwork is essential to succeed in the new consumer climate. Utilize and exploit everyone’s best skills and talents and put them together to create an unstoppable team of upbeat, motivated employees.
3. Provide a heightened workplace experience for employees
Providing and maintaining a positive work environment is essential for talent retention, team morale, and ultimately customer satisfaction. Your employees will never have a case of the “Sunday Scaries” if they love where they work. Simple changes make a big difference, like updating office supplies and equipment. If you see a computer is giving your admin headaches day in and day out, then fix it! Does the break area resemble something out of the show “Lockup?” It shouldn’t. Provide snacks and beverages of your employees’ choosing and have comfortable seating areas for them to rest and relax during break times.
Aside from simple comforts that help support a healthy work environment, it’s also important for employees to feel challenged; this adds another dimension to the office atmosphere. We all have an innate desire to learn and grow, so encourage that in your business. Provide articles, books, or other learning tools for staff to check out rather than leaving them to cruise Facebook or play Candy Crush. In addition, consider holding contests and competitions that engage employees and encourage them to learn more.
4. Reward and Recognize
Do your employees have incentives or rewards they can work to achieve? If not, incentives are a wonderful tool to improve performance or to have a task accomplished. Aside from the reward, positive feedback and recognition is extremely gratifying. Also, recognize that different incentives motivate different people; therefore, it is important to build close relationships with each of your employees. This will allow you to better customize the style of recognition and rewards to each person, in turn leading to better results. There is also something to be said for good old-fashioned competition. Ensure the rewards and recognition are known throughout the building. Make your team feel like rock stars when they do something great. They are on the front lines of your business!
In summary, it is important to maintain a staff of talented, pleasant people who are excited to come to work. A positive work environment does wonders for you and your staff. Implement a few of these tips at a time and you’ll see the results firsthand. A happy, healthy team is only a few simple changes away.  FBA

Shannon Cummings is the Creative Thinking Writer and Storyteller for Life Celebration, Inc, a company that specializes in experience staging, training, and custom print design and production. Shannon can be reached at 888.887.3782 or [email protected] or visit www.lifecelebrationinc.com.