He had simply been browsing his Instagram feed one Sunday when he saw Tony Fernandes addressing the concerns about refunds, and commenters were giving him lots of flak.
That was the trigger for him to purchase the flight passes.
On the surface, it seems like just a rather unique and awesome perk for employees.
They’ll now be able to fly domestically to any of the accessible locations they please, and it’s all paid for by the company.
However, there are more reasons behind Faizul’s decision than what one would assume, so we spoke to him to get the bigger picture.
After all, spending over RM20,000 on employee perks in a snap of the fingers isn’t something that many employers would do in this current climate, I believe.
They Were Prepared For The Worst
For some background on FAR Capital, they have a property services ecosystem.
“What that means is that we actually provide education for budding property investors. We consult them in terms of what property they can buy, and upon completion of that property, we can also help them with renovation, management, repairs, or finding tenants,” Faizul told Vulcan Post.
In short, they offer the A-Z when it comes to property ownership. In the past 2 years, they’ve also dabbled in fintech, developing software that tells you which bank can give you a loan and how much, based on your IC information and your income.
Because Faizul had already anticipated the recession at the start of the MCO, he quickly began preparing his business, knowing that they would potentially be looking at zero revenue.
They had enough reserves to last them at least 3 months, but not beyond that.
“So, I implemented a salary deferment in the mid of March where I told my team, ‘I’m not going to cut your salary but I need to defer your salary to a time whereby the company can afford to pay your salary in full,’” he explained.
Everyone agreed to it, and no one threatened to resign or wanted to leave FAR Capital. The salary deferment was initiated for the months of April and May.
I took a 90% deferment, my management took a 70% deferment, other entry level employees took a 50% deferment. Then we hustled greatly.Faizul Ridzuan, CEO of FAR Capital
FAR Capital then quickly pivoted their education business online, and according to Faizul, they were the first ones to do what they did, so this worked out in their favour.
They ended up doing better during the MCO than before, with their education and consulting business revenue growing by 50% and bringing in an additional half a million ringgit in sales.
However, FAR Capital was also giving out a lot of free advice and consultations at times, so Faizul believes that this was what encouraged people to further support them.
“They were working really hard during the MCO, so RM20,000 is a very, very small reward compared to what they have given us during the MCO,” Faizul said of his employees.
All his staff received the flight pass perk, including the new guy who just joined the team 2 weeks ago.
During Raya, to show his appreciation for their dedication to the job, he also provided them with one month’s worth of bonus.
Killing 2 Birds With 1 Stone
Beyond being a sweet perk for employees, Faizul also bought the flight passes with 2 other main intentions.
Firstly, this would enable his employees, some of who came from Terengganu, Kedah and East Malaysia, to fly home at least once a month to see their families without having to worry about the travel costs.
At the same time, it’s helping out a local airline business that’s important for driving our economy.
For naysayers questioning why he was putting more money into AirAsia’s pockets instead of MAS’ or other airlines’, here’s Faizul’s reasoning.
“AirAsia is a bigger organisation in terms of the direct impact they have towards smaller economies. MAS flies to [locations with] established economies, but AirAsia flies to Lombok, Kalimantan, etc., and people there have basically thrived thanks to this.”
I could spend that RM20,000 on a lot of things, but if my staff balik kampung and make their parents happy, travelled to a smaller town somewhere and supported the local economy, the ripple effect of that is far greater.Faizul Ridzuan, CEO of FAR Capital
Malaysia’s tourism industry is huge, and without hordes of international tourists coming in to keep it alive for the time being, we’re relying heavily on our local travellers.
“In order for us to come out of the recession, we really need to boost domestic consumption, and domestic travel is one of the best ways to do that. Hotels, Grab drivers, and F&B stalls in tourist hotspots will survive,” Faizul said.
While he made his original Facebook post about this to inspire other employers and entrepreneurs to do the same if they could, he doesn’t expect every one of them to be able to do it.
“Focus on survival first,” he advised.
“I wouldn’t have thought of this if I was still focusing on survival. I’m no longer doing that because we did quite alright, and now our cash can last us easily for 12 months.”
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Featured Image Credit: Faizul Ridzuan