Monday, June 13, 2016

Insight from the next generation

Jason Murphy,
Director of Family Services,
Sunset Memorial Park
As the next generation begins to become more involved in the funeral industry and move up into manager and supervisory roles, some professionals who have been in the industry for many years question whether they are ready to take on the responsibility. A majority of the youngsters coming into our profession are what society likes to call a “millennial” and in my opinion, the “millennial generation” often times gets a bad rap.

If you consider my age, I would be considered a millennial. And, I have often times heard the terms lazy, entitled, stubborn and even selfish used for professionals my age. But, not everyone in our generation qualifies. Over the past several years being a younger manager, I have found that how you are viewed by others is determined by your actions and your attitude.

One obstacle millennials face in any industry is being respected by their peers, especially when they have been involved in this industry for many more years. As a millennial, I know how hard it is to earn the respect of those you work with, especially if you are their supervisor. In my experience, the key to having a healthy relationship with your staff is to work hard for them.

What do I mean?

Put your employees best interest before your own. Maybe that means covering shifts for evenings, weekends or holidays. It could mean something simple, like returning a phone call to an angry customer, or simply providing positive reinforcement and feedback when needed. Anything you can do to cause less stress for them will only increase your chances of being accepted and respected as their supervisor.

Be available and open for conversation. Have face to face interaction with your staff as much as possible. There is so much more value and meaning in conversation versus hiding real issues in an email or text. People will respond quicker and with a better attitude when issues are confronted head on and not left to fester. I know all too well that millennials love to use technology, but you shouldn’t rely on technology to do the dirty work for you.

Have an open mind. One of the biggest worries of a millennial is that we are not pulling our own weight.  It is extremely important that our mentors and individuals we work with give us the opportunity to prove ourselves before being lumped into the “entitled” group of our generation. So, please keep an open mind and remember that everyone at some point was where we are in their workplace. Pick us up when we stumble, but don’t give up on us.


This article originally appeared in Trigard Tuesdays, our weekly electronic newsletter featuring information for the funeral industry. Sign up for your free subscription at http://www.trigard.com/tuesdays.

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