Avi Efrat of Fantastic Framing gives workers 20 per cent pay rise to cope with cost-of-living crisis
A picture-framing business owner who had already provided generous benefits to his staff has gone even further with a 20 percent pay increase and bonuses.
Avi Efrat, 41, who had previously given his staff skydiving sessions and fancy weekends, found that his workers were hit hard by the rising cost of living.
While most companies are trying to cut costs due to inflation, Efrat found savings and then passed them on to workers.
He gave all 45 employees a 20 percent pay raise and started a new plan where staff can earn regular cash bonuses; an employee recently received a bonus of $2,800.
“Everyone was complaining about the cost of living,” he said. 9News. Even my friends. One of my workers told me that his rent has gone up more than $100 a week.’
Avi Efrat (pictured), who had previously given his staff skydiving sessions and fancy weekends, found his workers hit hard by the rising cost of living.
The Fantastic Framing owner is also feeling the pressures of rising cost of living, with nine consecutive rate hikes meaning his mortgage payments have skyrocketed.
Australia’s cash rate rose from 0.1% in April 2022 to 3.35% today, but Mr Efrat felt he could help his workers by working “smarter”.
With 10 stores in New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland and Western Australia, the entrepreneur needed to find ways to address rising costs and help his workers.
Among the savings the Israeli-born entrepreneur found were reduced storage space and switching suppliers.
Alfred Bukris, 34, who works at Fantastic Framing’s Maroubra store in eastern Sydney, said the pay increase made a big difference to him and his co-workers.
Bukris said that while his rent hasn’t gone up recently, his colleagues were facing “very high increases.”
Mr. Efrat’s philosophy is that a satisfied staff is vital to a successful business.
“You have to make sure they’re happy and motivated to get the best out of them,” he said. ‘My belief is that the more you give, the more you receive.
He said it’s a “win-win situation” as happy workers lead to happy customers with better service.
Fantastic Framing’s 45 employees got a 20 per cent pay raise and started a new scheme where staff can earn regular cash bonuses; an employee recently received a bonus of $2800. In the photo, a staff member working on a photo frame.
Australian companies have begun offering benefits such as skydiving sessions and a lifetime supply of chocolate to employees in hopes of retaining dwindling workers (pictured, Fantastic Framing employee Christian on a trip skydiving)
Mr. Bukris agreed, saying that he “had noticed that customer service is much stronger since the bonuses were introduced… The workers are motivated to be a little bit better.”
During his mandatory military service in Israel, Efrat learned to act under pressure, which he said helped him solve business problems.
He used this to good effect during the Covid-19 lockdowns when, far from regressing, he grew his business by 70 percent working with online art galleries and promoting their products to people who wanted to spruce up their homes.
Mr. Efrat has also provided employees with skydiving sessions, laps of the race track in sports cars, fancy dinners and fancy weekend getaways to build loyalty and attract new workers.
The number of job applications had dropped in recent months, and with three new stores opening this year, he was desperate to find workers.
“In the past, I’d put up an ad looking for an employee, and within a week or two, I’d have 30 request emails,” he told Daily Mail Australia.
“It would take two to three weeks to hire someone, now it takes six to eight weeks.”
He said the federal government’s hardline border closure and welfare schemes during Covid scared away hundreds of vital immigrant and local workers.
“When Covid hit, it was very dramatic and everyone got nervous, nobody wanted to go to work,” he said.
“Then government money kept coming in with Job Seeker and Job Keeper, and everyone got lazy. Nobody wants to work.
‘Migrant workers couldn’t come during Covid, and then Covid ended, but Australia remained closed until March (2022).
“It’s getting easier, but it’s still not the same as it was before Covid.”
Therefore, Mr. Efrat hangs on to his employees by offering them unique benefits that create a “fun environment.”
“Christian, who skydived, has been with us for five years,” he said.
‘It is a good strategy to invest in employees. Loyalty means benefit.
“It’s hard to hire people, but if you keep employees happy, they stay for a long time.”
Phil Parisis, director of product and sales for My business – an online business platform – said hiring and keeping quality staff is the biggest problem facing small and medium-sized business owners in 2023.
“For many small businesses that have managed to survive Covid, this ongoing staff shortage is the final straw,” he said.
“Whether it’s being forced to reduce opening hours, having to put growth plans on hold or not being able to keep up with customer demand, job skills shortages are having a major impact on workplaces across the country.
Fantastic Framing Avi Efrat (pictured second left with employees) said he offers workers sports car rides and luxury getaways to build ‘loyalty’
‘A recent survey of our members found that 77 per cent of our members have found the quality of job applicants to be average or below for the position advertised. They are struggling to find the right people.
Among the industries most at risk of crippling workforce shortages are hospitality, retail, transportation, and construction.
“As a small business owner, recruiting can be overwhelming,” he said.
“Not only does it seem like larger organizations have more pull power and the ability to outpace workers, but there’s also the added responsibility of having to properly onboard new staff and make sure everything is in order.”
PHIL PARISIS – MY BUSINESS MANAGER OF SALES – OFFERS ADVICE ON HOW TO ATTRACT STAFF IN 2023
1. Give them equity
‘Think about involving your people in the business through an employee share scheme. These are now easier and much cheaper to implement than before and are a great incentive to attract quality job candidates that alleviates the pressure of having to offer competitive salaries. By allowing your employees to share in the growth and success of your business, you are also giving them a reason to stick around.”
2. Be flexible
‘Staff today value flexibility, so don’t be afraid to think outside the box. Don’t just offer remote or hybrid work, but reconsider non-traditional work schedules and be open to job sharing.”
3. Be human
‘People want to work for companies that care about more than money. Small businesses have a huge advantage over larger organizations because they can take advantage of their flatter organizational structure to make their staff feel wanted and valued.’
‘Re-evaluate what benefits you are offering staff and how much they are costing the company. Some of the more popular benefits you could offer are also profitable, such as shorter Fridays during the summer months.
5. Personal touch
‘During the hiring process, be sure to respond to all of your applicants. Help them defend their business even if they don’t get the job.’