The funeral profession is like nothing else in the world, and there is a lot to love about that.
Funeral directors have the special task of honoring the deceased and telling their final story through a ceremony that helps families heal along the way.
But because it’s unlike any other profession, that means funeral homes face unique challenges. One of the big ones is trying to balance tradition with innovation — a funeral home needs both, but finding that middle ground can be tricky. Too much innovation too fast can seem overwhelming, but not adapting to changes will only hurt your funeral home more in the long run.
Why It’s Hard for Some Funeral Homes to Embrace Change
Historically, adapting to new ideas, technology, and other changes in the funeral profession has been slow. Just look at how much funerals have transformed in the past 100 years. Not much, right?
But compare the amount of change from the last 100 years to the last 15 or so, and the rate of change is unprecedented.
For example, no one thought the cremation rate would surpass burials, especially not this early. Yet it did. And the NFDA believes that by 2030, cremation will make up 70% of body disposition in the U.S. That’s a complete reversal in the short span of just 30 years.
Change is happening fast, and it’s not just from cremation. Funeral traditions are changing all around us, and funeral homes must get creative to cater to the needs of families who prefer highly personalized memorial services.
Promoting a Culture of Creativity in Your Funeral Home
There’s the old saying that change for change’s sake is just bad business. This kind of change is different. This is the change needed to meet the new needs of families. Change that is needed to survive.
The “We’ve always done it this way” kind of thinking is so dangerous because it blinds us to emerging trends. To combat it, we must instill a culture of creativity in the funeral home. Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Consume content that supports different ideas than your own. It’s human nature to look for ideas that support our own beliefs. But it also can lead to generic ways of thinking. Expand horizons by reading new blog posts, trade publications, or other forms of content you’re not used to.
- Collaborate. Collaborate with everyone, from other staff at the funeral home to the families in your community. Even if it’s families you haven’t served before. What better way to find out what families want than by asking? Click here for some tips for getting started.
- Leverage technology. Technology plays a vital role in the creative process. According to an article in Forbes, “by expanding possibilities and automating part of the creative process, we can all be more creative and productive.” Use technology to quickly customize traditional aspects of a service, like stationery, candles, and Tribute Videos, and then use the time you saved to work on other ways to personalize the service.
- Focus on making things easier for others. Shifting our focus from “How does this benefit me?” to “How will this benefit others?” is a way to open our thoughts to new possibilities.
- Embrace alternative thinking styles. Following one style of thinking is exactly how a business falls into “We’ve always done it this way.” To start shaking things up, check out this blog post on avoiding stagnation.
What are some of the most creative memorial services your funeral home has put on? Share with us in the comments below!