An Australian small business owner has given his staff a whopping 20 per cent pay rise and also introduced a new regular cash bonus scheme as he heard complaints about the huge financial hit workers have taken from the skyrocketing cost of living.
Avi Efrat, who owns Fantastic Framing which has 10 stores across NSW, Victoria, Queensland and Western Australia, has provided the huge pay rise to all 45 of his staff.
This is despite the business suffering during the pandemic where he told news.com.au he was set to lose $100,000 alone from just two weeks of lockdown in Sydney back in 2021.
But now the 41-year-old, who runs the picture framing business, said he wanted to help his workers who were struggling with rising costs.
“I have people that the rent has increased by $100 a week. Two weeks ago I got a phone call from one of my guys that told me their rent is up by $80 a week – it’s a big jump – and imagine as well you are living alone and some of the guys are, but we are helping them manage it,” he told news.com.au.
He said he had also been impacted by rising mortgage costs as interest rates soared from a record low of 0.1 per cent in April last year to currently sitting at 3.35 per cent.
Since he introduced the bonus scheme, one staff member made $2800 in one month, Mr Efrat said.
He added he hadn’t created more work for his staff but had devised systems to help them work “smarter” and increase customer satisfaction.
Mr Efrat has grown his business from three stores in 2021 but has plans to open even more and employees can also benefit from it, he revealed.
“Another thing I’m doing for example is when we open a new store I’m telling my workers do you want to be a be a shareholder or profit holder in the store, so we give them some shareholding,” he said.
He added his staff are now “flying” with the new bonus scheme and are loving it, adding investing in his employees’ happiness pays off for the business in long run by generating more sales through word of mouth.
“The more you give to your people, the more they give to clients,” he added.
“You can make actions that are still give you a healthy gross profit but that you also are taking care of your people.”
The business had also tackled rising costs within the business including focusing on importing, changing suppliers and cutting back on storage space to help cut expenses
Mr Efrat said the business had taken a serious hit during the pandemic, but he had worked with online art galleries and looked to promote his products to people that were making home improvements.
“Covid created a lot of stress as I signed on a lease on a store the day that Covid hit,” he said.
“But my message is you need to adapt if you are losing money. You can’t be sitting at home waiting for a grant from the government. I am not this type of person … so you assess the situation and assess what is going on.
“When Covid happened we lost money in the first three months, it was very tight and very stressful, and then we adapted. We grew during Covid by 70 per cent.
“It was like a crazy kitchen the doors were closed and it didn’t happen in one day, but we created a movement in our community and did a full upgrade to the website and made a change.”
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