A company with an outward mindset changed one process. It helped them better achieve their mission of service while significantly improving key metrics.
Horan & McConaty funeral service providers are deeply committed to serving customers with compassion under difficult circumstances. The company pays close attention to customer feedback (collected via surveys) because they want to to continually improve. But in 2015, they were finding it increasingly difficult to move the needle on key metrics like customer satisfaction and time spent with each client family.
At the November 2016 Arbinger Annual Facilitators’ Conference, Chief Operating Officer Daren Forbes said the metrics weren’t improving because employees were holding inward mindsets. Employees joined the company because they felt called upon to serve, but once on board they behaved in very ineffective ways. In particular, the funeral directors often conflicted with the central scheduling office.
Struggling to understand this phenomenon, the leadership team realized some of their processes were actually inviting the inward mindsets! Daren said, “So we had to ask, what are those policies and procedures that invite that inward mindset and behavior?…What processes are causing our staff to objectify one another and the families we’re serving?”
Daren and his team discovered one major cause: the scheduling process. Horan & McConaty serve customers throughout the Denver metropolitan area. Because of how the scheduling system had been set up, funeral directors spent hours each day fighting traffic to reach clients across the city. This frustrated the funeral directors, reduced the time they could spend with each family, and created the conflict with the scheduling office.
Daren recalled, “So we made an adjustment: What if we shrunk the geographical footprint of our organization? We can create teams of funeral directors, so they no longer have to travel nearly as far!” They assigned each funeral director to a team, with each team responsible for a much smaller area of town. This adjustment “aimed to reduce the travel time so they could spend more time thinking about and caring for these families” – which, after all, is what everyone cared about!
The results were astounding. When the leadership team rolled out the new policy, “overnight, the morale changed in the organization. The toxicity was eliminated.” Conflicts between the funeral directors and the scheduling office disappeared.
In addition to this incredible boost in morale, the shift led to concrete results:
“Support and follow up” measures the time funeral directors were able to spend with client families. Collectively, these improvements meant a huge financial impact for the company.
And it all came from one policy change. Critically, the change was implemented from an outward mindset. The leadership team really tried to understand employees’ headaches and challenges, then adjusted to make their jobs easier.
To view Daren’s entire presentation, click here.