Lasting Impact: OGR Study Groups are welcoming new members

OGR Study Groups are one of our most valuable member benefit programs. As COVID travel restrictions eased, two of our groups met in the fall of 2022. The East Coast Study Group met at Hummel Funeral Home in Akron, Ohio, and the West Coast Study Group met at Thomas Miller Mortuary & Crematory in Corona, California.

Participants shared best practices, found answers to their questions, received honest feedback and advice, and went home filled with new approaches to old problems. They shared their successes and failures without the fear of being judged. The bonds that were formed will last long into the future. Study Group participants have someone to call when new challenges arise and leave feeling like they have formed a new family where they are always welcomed.

“OGR Study Groups perfectly embody the qualities I always knew OGR stood for and strives for.”
 - Justin Zabor
   Zabor Funeral Home
   Cleveland, Ohio

Here are some of the key takeaways attendees learned from one another:

  • How to use route marketing with the U.S. Postal Service to place your funeral home’s message into the hands of prospective customers.
  • Using Domani ringless voicemails to connect with client families.
  • The importance of having a business valuation done on your funeral home. David Nixon with Johnson Consulting, an OGR supply partner, is their recommended consultant to use.
  • Goodwill Industries and Veteran Connect can be a great place to look for new non-licensed staff members. So can hiring local EMTs, retired teachers, clergy and fire personnel.
  • Structure your succession plan by splitting the land and the business deal.
  • Regular comparisons of your policy and procedures manual.
  • The importance of having a written cellphone and WiFi policy in the office.
  • Ways to incentivize staff with paid dinners, sponsored tickets to sporting events, paid family vacations and early time off.
  • Leadership should communicate regularly with employees, asking about their day, likes and ideas to forward the company.
  • Update Standard Rules of Operations regularly. This ensures all tasks are completed the same way.
  • Reward employees for outstanding monthly accomplishments or even on-the-spot rewards, like a gift card.
  • Establish a feedback system that is open, two-way and recorded.
  • Adopt the motto of the U.S. Army: “Mission First – People (Family) Always.”

OGR Study Groups are accepting new members, so why not give it a try? One new attendee said, “As a newbie I thought it may be hard to break into this group. They immediately made me feel welcome as one of them. They respected and honored my opinions. I’m looking forward to the next one!”

Ready to get started? Go to to register. Participation is free as a benefit of membership.

This article was originally published in the Winter 2023 issue of The Independent® magazine. Click here to read the entire issue.

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