In the coming years, the funeral profession is going to see a new challenge. No, it’s not rising cremation rates or competition from low-cost providers. It’s going to be the lack of licensed funeral directors.
As the average age of funeral directors goes up and more experienced funeral directors retire, there’s going to be a need for new talent to join the profession. But as the American Board of Funeral Service Education notes, that’s not happening. On their website, they state that “on a national basis there are generally more jobs available than there are licensed funeral directors to fill them.”
A recent article in Funeral Business Advisor stated that “As the average age of a funeral home owner rises and more and more funeral directors enter retirement, our industry is experiencing a labor crunch because the number of mortuary students won’t be able to keep pace with the increased demand from a rising death rate due to the Baby Boom generation. Therefore, it’s becoming harder and harder to find and keep top quality talent in the funeral profession.”
And Mark Krause, President of Krause Funeral Homes, wrote in an article for Director.edu that “We can no longer wait for people to stumble onto funeral service as their vocation. We must think more aggressively about how to attract bright, articulate individuals to explore our profession.”
In order for your funeral home to ensure long-term success, you’ll need a plan in place to attract new funeral directors to your firm in the future. Here are ways you can help the next generation of funeral directors succeed, both at your funeral home and throughout the profession.
Embrace Change in the Funeral Home
The funeral profession is changing. According to the NFDA, the top trends impacting the profession include personalization, cremation, and the green funeral movement.
Even if these trends aren’t directly impacting your funeral home right now, they will in the future. How is your funeral home prepared to adapt to these changes? Remember, sticking to the status quo is the surest way to business stagnation. By embracing these new trends now, your funeral home is better prepared for the future. And that makes it a more attractive landing spot for a new generation of funeral directors.
Embrace Technology in the Funeral Home
Imagine this scenario. A landscaper is offered a job between two competing companies in town. Both are offering around the same compensation and benefits.
Company 1, however, still uses a push reel mower and hand-held hedge trimmers. Now, there’s nothing wrong with that. Except that Company 2 has state-of-the-art riding mowers and commercial gas-powered hedge trimmers available for their landscapers.
What company do you think the landscaper is going to choose? It’s likely the modern company, with newer technology. The same rule applies to funeral homes. Newer technology will help attract new talent.
Ask yourself, does your funeral home:
- Have a modern website with the latest features?
- Have a mobile-friendly website?
- Actively engage with families on social media?
- Have computers less than five years old?
- Integrate technology and software to cut back on paperwork?
- Use cloud-based technology so your staff can access important documents from anywhere at any time?
If you can’t answer yes to all or even some of the above, you’ll need to start thinking about updating your funeral home’s technology. Embracing modern technology not only streamlines everyday tasks for your staff, it will also help set you apart from competitors when looking to hire new talent.
Embrace Education in the Funeral Home
Finally, to better understand the next generation of funeral directors, you should commit to learning the challenges, trends, and new ideas that will impact the funeral profession in the next 15-30 years. Check out our guide on becoming a lifelong learner to learn ways you can become a thought leader in the funeral profession.
These are all ways you can make sure the next generation of funeral professionals succeed at your funeral home. But what about in the funeral profession in general?
Inspiring Others in the Profession
Here are ways you can help encourage and inspire the next generation of funeral directors:
- Donate to a scholarship: There are plenty of scholarship opportunities available. Help make a difference by donating to state funeral director associations, mortuary college scholarships, or a funeral service organization.
- Become a mentor: Becoming a mentor can help strengthen your connection to the community. It’s also an opportunity to generate interest for a career in funeral service and be there to support younger funeral directors during tough times.
- Contribute to Director.edu: Another option is to share your insight and experience by writing an article for Director.edu — an e-news publication for mortuary science students.
- Sponsor NFDA membership: Give access to hundreds of funeral profession resources by sponsoring an NFDA membership for a local mortuary student.
- Support the Funeral Service Foundation: The Funeral Service Foundation offers several ways for funeral directors to give back. From their Fund ’45 scholarship program, to their endowment support, to their sponsorship and In-Kind support program; there are a number of ways your funeral home can help give back to the next generation of funeral directors. Frazer Consultants is a proud supporter of the Funeral Service Foundation, and participated in their 17th Annual Foundation Golf Classic at the 2017 NFDA International Convention & Expo.
How does your funeral home plan to help the next generation of funeral directors? Share your ideas with us in the comments below!