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Part 3: What We Learned During the 2019 ICCFA Convention Sessions

by | Apr 17, 2019 | Funeral Profession

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Couldn’t make it to all the sessions you wanted to at the 2019 ICCFA Convention? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered with our recaps!

Below are a few of the informative sessions and speakers we attended at the ICCFA Convention. Check out part one and part two of our recap!

Serving the Community Through the Doors of the Funeral Home

In this session, Presenter Jill Lazar shared ways your funeral home can utilize your space for community events. She shared tips for creating a successful event.

Keep Your Funeral Home Comfy.

Jill emphasized the importance of making your community members feel comfortable and at ease in your funeral home. Keeping your décor updated and having a welcoming staff will make people more apt to come to your events or have their loved one’s funeral there.

Plan Around Other Events.

Sometimes, it can be hard to get people to come to an event hosted by a funeral home. That’s why it’s important to plan your events around the community’s schedule to prevent people from not attending. For example, her funeral home hosts a Veteran’s Day event the day after Veteran’s Day since many veterans will already have too many events to attend on the actual holiday.

Establish a Set-Up and Tear Down Procedure.

If your state doesn’t allow food inside of funeral homes, invest in outdoor tents that you can set up in your parking lot. Prior to the event set-up, get organized in who is doing what. Have your funeral directors serve the food for face-to-face time with the community. Hire high school students to help clean up the event.

Recruit, Train & Retrain Veterans

In this panel discussion, a group of funeral professionals and the Panel Moderator Gino Merendino discussed the importance of hiring veterans in this profession.

One key part of their discussion was the competitive traits of job candidates who are veterans. They tend to be mission oriented. So, if there is a task that needs to be completed, they will absolutely get it done. Also, their time in the military often makes them good at receiving feedback and actually applying it.

They also discussed some of the challenges — though the benefits heavily outweighed them. One challenge that stood out is that since veterans were so used to being told what to do during their service, it can become difficult when they enter a less-structured funeral home. It’s important for them to initially get guidance and feedback, and then they will be able to do an outstanding job.

Finally, they said that the best way to recruit veterans is through job fairs. Oftentimes, there are job fairs specifically for U.S. veterans.

When Your Day Ends

Jeffrey Chancellor presented on the best practices for embalming. He wants embalming to remain a respected profession and to help funeral homes to continue attracting the best talent in this sparse candidate pool.

Keep Facilities Updated.

One way to attract the best talent is the have the best embalming facility you can. Make sure all of your tools are updated and always kept clean. Air quality control, high-pressure capability, precise flow control, strong suction, and good brushes will make everyone’s job safer and easier.

Practice High Health Standards.

Jeffrey believes that embalming rooms should be held to the same health standard as hospitals. This means staff should be wearing face masks and gloves, sanitize the body, and keep the facility clean. He suggested families also wear face masks and gloves when visiting their loved one’s body if they died from an infectious disease.

Addressing Sexual & Other Harassment in Your Funeral Business

Since the emergence of the #MeToo movement, sexual harassment in the workplace is becoming a more prevalent concern for many businesses, including funeral homes. That’s why Stephanie Ramsey of The Foresight Companies presented on the many forms of workplace harassment.

Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment is not always easy to detect. It includes sexual advances, requests for sexual behaviors, sexual contact, and touching that creates a hostile work environment. It is unwanted and isolates the victim. However, the victim isn’t necessarily always the person the act is directed towards. It can also be another employee witnessing the act who is made uncomfortable.

Religious Harassment

Religious harassment is when someone makes offensive remarks or pervasive, reoccurring comments about religion.

Racial Harassment

Offensive slurs, signs, symbols, and remarks about someone’s race all fall under racial harassment.

National Origin Harassment

This is when someone is treated poorly because they are from a different country.

Age Harassment

This is when someone is treated differently due to their age. One example she shared is if an older person doesn’t get continued education because “they don’t have anything else to learn.” Referring to someone as “old man” or “grandma” can be offensive as well.

Keynote: Jon Acuff

In his keynote presentation, Jon Acuff shared the best practices for achieving your goals. Jon took a humorous approach to his presentation, which made it even more engaging. Here were a few of his main points:

Starting is the Easiest Part.

Jon finds the saying “starting is the hardest part” to be false. Instead, the middle is the hardest part. Sticking with your goal and actually accomplishing isn’t easy considering that 92% of resolutions fail. That’s why you need to make SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, time-bound) goals.

Add Joy and Fun.

We are trained to believe that a worthy goal is one that is painful. This is why so many of us fail to succeed in our aspirations. Jon shared that when people add fun to their goal, there is a 31% increase in satisfaction and a 46% increase in success.

Know Your Motivation Style.

Are you motivated by fear or reward? For example, do you train your staff extensively to avoid upsetting a family (fear) or to get praise from the family (reward)? Knowing your motivation style helps you create an attainable goal.

Did you attend any of these sessions at the ICCFA Convention? Let us know your thoughts by commenting below!


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