5 Habits of Highly Effective Funeral Home Owners/Operators
Posted August 25, 2021
5 min read
Funeral Director Mark E. Fisher, President, M.E. Fisher Funeral Home has cultivated a Funeral Home with a reputation of unmatched quality, sincerity, and deep trust. With one-of-a-kind, thoughtful, personalized services for every family, M.E. Fisher Funeral Home is revolutionizing the way people approach and think about funeral service.
Well known as a servant leader who’s deeply embedded in his community, we interviewed Mark to shed light on his approach and habits which help him to be a highly successful, well regarded Funeral Director. As someone who exemplifies an outstanding leader in funeral service, here are 5 key habits Mark embraces that you can incorporate into your business, too.
1. Hire for cultural fit.
It may surprise some people to hear, but M.E. Fisher Funeral Home hires for a cultural fit first. The team knows that every new hire will either improve and add positively to their culture—or take away from it. That means the team needs to know that candidate has the right character to be able to add positively to the team environment.
Put simply, the team recognizes that cultural fit is essential for success, and training around the skills necessary to best serve families can happen after someone is hired.
“For example, during the initial interviewing process, we look for certain qualities. Are you wired for empathy? Do you know what true compassion is? Because if you don’t have those two things, you’re not going to work well in this environment,” explains Mark. While certain skills can be trained and taught, empathy and compassion are two things that are much deeper and unique personality traits, so Mark and his staff look at character first when hiring.
2. Put people development first.
As soon as someone is hired, Mark focuses on developing and growing that person. Mark recognizes that a leader’s job is to produce great experiences for families, but it’s also about developing his people. For him, those are inextricably linked and important to the success of the team.
Mark has established systems, structure, and a culture of development for his staff. Seeing them as leaders, he invests in his people and seeks to give them opportunity to succeed. This includes informal and formal training and mentoring opportunities.
With that much focus on developing and growing his people, he knows that inevitably, some of his leaders will move on to other opportunities. Mark knows this will happen, and he wishes them the best in their path towards success. “A lot of talent will leave here, and that’s okay,” he says. “An example of this was a retired Sergeant Major from the Marine Corps. His first job was at our Funeral Home, and soon after he was licensed, he was hired to manage one of the larger firms in [our region],” explains Mark. Eventually he had 23 licensees under him at a firm doing over 1000 calls. Mark says he’s pleased and proud he had a part in his training, and it’s rewarding to see former staff find success, no matter where that may be.
The result of this approach: staff feel fully supported in their career, recognizing that Mark wants what is best for them in the entirety of their lives. The excellent staff that stay are highly engaged in their work, they are dedicated to continual learning, and they are loyal to the firm, too.
3. Keep evolving.
Just as he wants each of his team members to continually grow and develop, Mark also knows it’s important that he continue to evolve as a leader as well. Mark believes that challenging the way things are done and evolving is what can help improve processes, help people to find more pleasure in their roles, and it can help improve family satisfaction.
4. Focus on your community’s felt needs.
Although the past year and a half has impacted the ability for certain events to be held, Mark is dedicated to being highly involved in the local community and he has been for his 28 years in funeral service. And, as someone so deeply tied to the local community, he has established a reputation as someone deeply ingrained and involved in the community.
Mark encourages every business leader to do the same and pay it forward within their communities. He’s involved in the community because it’s a genuine calling, but he also recognizes it benefits the business, too.
“I’m a firm believer that the community is who supports you. When they are speaking your name when you’re not there, that’s what’s making your phone ring all day long,” he explains.
Located in an inner-city area, M.E. Fisher Funeral Home is proud to be able to hold events for underserved individuals in the area. Being a support system may look different year to year, but the staff seek ways to support ongoing felt needs of individuals—especially children—in their community. “Some of these children may not have some of the things that more fortunate families may have, so we try to fill that void,” explains Mark. “We want to be more than just a Funeral Home. We want to be your true friend. We want you to know when it’s time for college, come on by. We have computers here, and we will help you research FAFSA [federal student aid], and we will help you do things like that,” Mark says.
5. Embrace technology.
Mark says that embracing technology has been an essential driver of his team’s ability to serve families to the best of their ability. “I love technology,” he says. “And because of the technology, we can be more efficient when dealing with our families. That was what got our team on CRäKN initially,” he explains.
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