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Handbook Delivers Proven Tips to Manage, Develop Staff

December 1, 2015

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Handbook Delivers Proven Tips to Manage, Develop Staff

Just Released: “The Funeral Director’s Guide to Human Resources”

WALL, N.J. – The single largest cost of operating a funeral home is almost always how you manage your work force.


But many funeral home owners and managers continue to make the same mistakes when it comes to hiring, firing and developing employees. As a result, costs are usually higher than they should be, and turnover can be rampant.


The Funeral Director’s Guide to Human Resources” – the latest in Kates-Boylston Publications’ series of business-boosting guidebooks – helps you solve those problems and many more. Learn how to:

  • Encourage the best candidates to seek employment at your firm.
  • Improve how you screen candidates and conduct job interviews.
  • Help new hires get off to a great start.
  • Reduce staff turnover by keeping your best employees.
  • Pick people with the right skillset to succeed in sales positions.
  • Keep employees engaged year after year.
  • Get the most out of company meetings.
  • Develop an employee manual that works for your operation.
  • Navigate the complicated terrain of social media in the workplace.


Thomas A. Parmalee, executive director of Kates-Boylston Publications, says the guidebook is the result of funeral professionals wanting more help with staffing. “Funeral service is changing, and the most successful firms are adapting their hiring and employee development to the times,” he said. “With that said, there are also some longtime proven practices to hiring – and yes, firing – employees that will either move your organization forward or hold you back if you let them.”


One of the best features of the guide, Parmalee said, is that it also highlights a topic that is often overlooked: making sure you continue to engage and keep the employees making key contributions to your firm.

The guide includes never-before-published articles by some of the industry’s leading experts, including:


  • Daniel M. Isard, founder and president of The Foresight Companies in Phoenix, who focuses on how the increasing cremation rate should be changing what funeral professionals look for in candidates in “The Issue for the Future.”
  • Erin Whitaker, senior director, operations integration for Foundation Partners Group in Orlando, Florida, who explores why firms should seek out candidates with a mix of different backgrounds in “Hiring for Diversity: Why It Is Crucial.”
  • Chris Farmer, a lawyer with The Farmer Firm in Houston, who provides practical guidance on avoiding legal problems in “The Biggest Liabilities You’ll Face.”
  • Gabriel Ngo, vice president of human resources and payroll at Carriage Services in Houston, who focuses on building a great company culture in “Hiring for Cultural Fit.”
  • Kathy D. Williams and Melissa A. Drake, owners of American Funeral Consultants in New Paltz, New York, provide numerous tips in “Working with Family Members: Confronting the Challenges and Reaping the Rewards.”
  • Stephanie Ramsey with The Foresight Companies in Phoenix, reviews the finer details of screening and hiring employees in “The Hiring Process.”
  • James Shoemake, president of the Dallas Institute of Funeral Service, answers the question, “What Do Funeral Homes Expect of a New Employee?”
  • Judy Ralston-Hansen, executive vice president – human resources and administration at Homesteaders Life Co. in West Des Moines, Iowa, provides help in “Turning Around ‘Zombie’ Employees.”


Visit the Bookstore page at to view the book’s complete table of contents. The book is available for the special price of $99 online or by calling 732-730-2587.


Kates-Boylston Publications publishes American Funeral Director and American Cemetery & Cremation magazines as well as Funeral Service Insider. The company has been helping funeral professionals succeed and serve since 1877. Learn more at