In the funeral profession––more than anything else––your team creates the experience for your families. In addition to providing a space for memorial services, your employees form emotional bonds with families, guiding them through the grief process, and building loyalty.

In death care, where your business is ingrained in the community, building and maintaining a talented team is essential to your survival. Here’s how to make sure your best people stick around.


1. Offer an Incentive Compensation Plan

By tying a portion of bonus pay to performance, you’ll positively reinforce behaviors that benefit your business. While incentive compensation can take a variety of forms, you’ll want to make sure your plan is:

  • Understandable: Create clear and simple benchmarks with articulated benefits for your team members.
  • Fair: Benchmarks to obtain extra compensation should be realistically achievable. 
  • Measurable: Metrics like client satisfaction can be difficult to quantify, so you’ll want to figure out how to measure success in areas like this. Online reviews might offer an outlet.
  • Consistent: Implement regular bonus payouts, and keep your incentivized compensation structure the same throughout the year. 

2. Make Them Want to Come to Work

Highly engaged employees lead to increases in performance, and that starts with creating a positive work culture. 

In addition to closely monitoring feedback from families, you’ll also want to consider––and regularly solicit––feedback from your team. Augmenting employee benefits, providing flexible time-off policies, and offering career growth opportunities will all help make your employees more excited to come to work. 

To increase collaborative abilities, you might also consider the occasional team-building activity. Happy hours and other bonding events can do wonders towards building connections within your team that will ultimately make them work more effectively together. 

Alternatively, if you’re in your office with the door shut all day, you’re not creating a welcoming space. Employees should know that you care about their well-being, both in and outside of work.


3. Be Agile 

With a rise in the popularity of cremations, green burials, and virtual services, recent years have shown us that the funeral business is quickly evolving. As such, it’s imperative to remain open to new ideas––especially those that affect your employees’ work-life balances.

Ultimately, you’ll want to make sure that each of your team members feels heard. This could mean creating a five-year plan of growth for a team member.

Never underestimate the power of listening to your employees. If they feel that they are contributing to the funeral home in a bigger way, you’ll be more likely to earn their buy-in and loyalty.


4. Trust Them

As we all know, trust is a two-way street. In addition to earning the trust of your employees––which can be accomplished by following through on promises and living by your funeral home’s values––you’ll also want to demonstrate to your team that you trust them. 

Especially for those with small teams, it can be tempting to micromanage each employee; however, micromanagement decreases both morale and productivity. In many cases, employees will feel insulted by this invasive management strategy and, as a result, search for new work. 

Instead, you should adopt a management strategy that guides and supports your team without dictating each of their actions. By giving your team members the autonomy to do their jobs on their own terms, you’ll likely increase their workplace engagement.


5. Give Them a Future

Maintaining talent takes more than giving them immediate opportunities. The most driven employees will naturally want to plan out their future, and it’s your job to make sure these plans involve your funeral home.

One effective way to accomplish this is to regularly meet with each of your employees. During these meetings, you can discuss future goals. If this career path involves the death care profession, you can work out ways to provide growth opportunities in your business. 

For example, a new employee might have an interest in embalming. With your assistance, you can provide on-the-job experience with this role and maybe consider paying for a portion of the required coursework for this skill. When it’s all done, you’ll have created a more highly skilled worker who can use this experience to benefit your business.


Maintain Quality Talent

Composed of seasoned experts in the death care profession, Johnson Consulting Group understands the importance of talent and can help your business to retain it. 

Our consultants can take a comprehensive look at your funeral home, examining its performance, customer satisfaction, and employees. From here, we’ll work with you to develop a strategic plan. When it comes to employees we’ll help you build incentive compensation plans, as well as assist you with finding talent to fill any gaps. 

With our collective decades of experience owning and operating funeral homes, JCG knows how important people are to the equation, and we can help teams of any size perform at optimal levels.