HR management

September 21, 2020

NFDA Consumer Awareness and Preferences Survey: My 2020 Takeaway

Before I comment on the top slides in the survey I think every funeral director should be focused on, allow me to say that I love the fact that this survey is intentionally trying to be more inclusive. One key point I must assert first is brought about by these changes in survey demographics. The 2020 survey takes into consideration people of wider race and age than ever before. It’s weighting younger this year, with 62.1% of respondents between ages 40 and 54 (compared to 36.1% in 2019 and 23.7% in 2018). The survey is also weighting more diverse. A higher percentage of respondents identified themselves as Hispanic (15.5%, compared to 11.1% in 2019), and fewer identified themselves as white (52.4%, compared to 57.9% in 2019). I also believe that leading to a shift in perceived results is the higher […]
September 21, 2020

HR Reality Check: Case Study #19

Scenario: Kirkland Cremation and Funeral Services provides services to approximately 150 families in its community. The business is owned by Clark Kirkland. Clark has one other licensed funeral director besides himself and also relies on multiple part-time funeral assistants. Most of these funeral assistants work regular part-time hours averaging 24 hours per week. In late March, when COVID-19 led to his state mandating “safer-at-home” orders, Clark made the difficult decision to lay off most of his part-time staff to do his part to help contain the virus. His expec-tation was this would be only a short period of time as he was an essential business and he needed his staff. However, the federal government then enacted the stimulus package providing additional benefits to newly laid off employees. For the past several weeks, even though Clark has offered his part-time employees […]
July 17, 2020

HR Reality Check: Case Study #18

Scenario: James and Martha Smitherton own a funeral and crematory business in the northwestern United States, Smitherton Family Funerals and Cremations. Smitherton’s serve 240 families a year with a staff of three full-time licensed funeral directors/embalmers (James, Todd and Kimberly) and a part-time apprentice. They also employ a full-time office support person to assist Martha in the office. The rest of their staff consists of 18 part-time employees who are scheduled as needed and based on their availability. Both Todd and Kim have worked for the funeral home for several years, and while both have children, they are in high school and college. The recent pandemic has stretched the funeral home staffing resources rather thin as nonessential employees are sheltering at home per their state mandate. As a designated essential business, the funeral home continues to operate and provide services […]
May 8, 2020
Funeral And Cemetery Consultants Dan Isard The Director Finance 101 The Staffing Challenge

Step 5: The Staffing Challenge

With an annual loss of more than 1,700 directors with five or more years’ experience, will staffing issues be owners’ most daunting challenge to come? In the 1980s, when nationwide rates were 7% or less, I predicted that cremation, coupled with the implementation of itemized pricing (as mandated by the FTC Funeral Rule), would be the biggest challenge funeral service would face in my lifetime. It’s now 2020, I’m still alive, and I was right. So now I’m going to give the next eon of funeral home owners my prediction for the future: The integration of staffing and licensure will be the biggest challenge for the next 40 years on many levels. This topic falls in line with this month’s editorial focus on the new breed of funeral directors. New Bs, as I will refer to them, are our salvation […]
May 8, 2020
Funeral And Cemetery Consultants Dan Isard When Tradition Isnt Tradition Anymore

When Traditional Isn’t the Tradition Anymore

Never in my 35 years in this profession have I shied away from a fight, and it’ll be no different when addressing the subject matter here. I was recently in Singapore, and upon our arrival, there were Christmas trees, Christmas music and Christmas decorations everywhere. That may not seem unusual to us, but it seems to make little sense in a country that is 42.5% Buddhist, 14.9% Muslim, 8.5% Taoist, 4% Hindu, 14.8% atheist and only 14.6% Christian or Catholic. For these 5.7 million people, Christmas is a nontraditional holiday (not a holy day). And while this casual observation by a nation of nonbelievers must be disconcerting to people who believe Christmas is one of the two holiest days of the year, the Singaporeans have simply taken the traditional from the tradition. For them, decorating for Christmas is something to […]
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