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Interview with Mr. Phonphawit Ton-Od ~ Marketing Manager of Tiger Kingdom Phuket ~ Thailand

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INTERVIEWERS: ALIA FARAMAWI & MAHMOUD MANSI

EDITOR: MONA TIMOR SHEHATA

PHOTOGTAPHER: ALIA FARAMAWI

About Tiger Kingdom Phuket: A place that attracts tourism from around the world as it gives the chance to people to personally interact with Tigers. Tiger Kingdom Phuket is one of several branches among Thailand.

As copied from the official website of Tiger Kingdom (www.TigerKingdom.com) it’s clear they have a deeper vision behind playing with tigers and tourism, “Tiger Kingdom aims to increase the tiger population through captive breeding. These tigers, however, are not prepared to inhabit the wild and therefore, are faded to remain in captive from birth to death, which, given the current situation, it’s understood to be better than no tigers at all.

Since the tigers have been born in captive and fed a special diet of milk and chicken, they tend to be less aggressive than tigers in the wild. Captive tigers, therefore, can be visited by tourists, who pay a considerable amount of money to spend around 10-15 minutes with them.

The proceeds from tourism allows Tiger Kingdom to increase the tiger population through captive breeding, as well as improve the overall living conditions of the tigers through the acquisition of larger areas for them to roam around. Currently, the Tiger Kingdom has over 100 tigers in captive…

THE INTERVIEW

1-HR Revolution Middle-East Magazine: Who are the customers of Tiger Kingdom?

Phonphawit Ton-Od: Most of our customers are people who love animals especially tigers because here they can touch and feel the tigers and we welcome everyone.

2-HR Revolution Middle-East Magazine: Being the Marketing Manager of Tiger Kingdom – where people come to visit the tigers, play with them and take pictures – which contains a percentage of risk, how do you manage to approach the customers who are not adrenaline seekers, and convince them with your product?

Phonphawit Ton-Od: Usually people who come here already want to be close to tigers, which is our product but a few of them hesitate to go in when they get here. They ask a lot of questions then our Customer Relations department assures them how safe it is.  The hesitant customers start witnessing others who came before them and safely played with the tigers. They see the enjoyment on their faces then they finally decide to go in.

3-HR Revolution Middle-East Magazine: What are the local and international marketing approaches that you use?

Phonphawit Ton-Od: We have several tourism magazines in Phuket that we already advertise in. On the other hand we have some local support from student activities and charities. However, we began with no advertisements at all. We relied on the word of mouth; people talking about us, it worked and we became known as a place to visit to see tigers. In addition to this, we created good connections and deals with the local tour companies.

4- HR Revolution Middle-East Magazine: Who are the employees of Tiger Kingdom? What are the job titles that are present in such an organization?

Phonphawit Ton-Od: People who work here are hired for a job based on their required skills just like any other organization. We have many departments like a Managing, Accounting, Marketing, HR, Food and Beverage, Kitchen, Park, etc…

5- HR Revolution Middle-East Magazine: Is motivation, and providing a bonus or a punishment part of the training of disciplined tigers? How do you provide that? Can these approaches be implemented on human beings too and affect their discipline as employees?

Phonphawit Ton-Od: We do a combination of bonus, motivation and punishment actions. In order to discipline our tigers we have to train them and we need to do that when they are very young. We start the training when they reach 2 months old. But before that we hand-raise the cubs so they can start bonding with us, and eventually they start seeing us as their own family. This way we both learn from each other. We learn to be together. Somehow we cannot let them be rough when they are with humans. If they do so, we need to tap on them to let them know the act is not accepted. On the other hand, if the cubs are sick or in pain for any reason the keeper takes good care of them, for example when they get scared of something unusual to them, we go and comfort them so that they remember us as family and friends; nothing they need to be afraid of. It is simply the method of every creature to get used to something that they know well and be afraid of things that they are not use to. However, not every human being can be disciplined very easily, because the human brain is complicated; full of thoughts, which makes it much more different. I would say human beings are clever pretenders (actors); some would do anything for something in return, but not everyone does.

6- HR Revolution Middle-East Magazine: In Tiger Kingdom, how do you recruit the tigers? Do you have some sort of personality or behavior test before accepting a certain tiger? What are these tests like?

Phonphawit Ton-Od: No, we do not recruit tigers. We breed our own tigers and train them ourselves. However, not all tigers interact well with humans; some of them after being trained, their behavior is still rough; when they play they do not trust anyone except their own keeper. These tigers are not used to being touched by customers but they still remain with their friends or siblings because young tigers like to be together unlike adults, they chose to live in solitude.

7- HR Revolution Middle-East Magazine: Is it possible that a wild tiger can be tamed? How?

Phonphawit Ton-Od: Yes, if we have them when they are very young, but it is better not to get them from the wild. However, adult tigers are not possible to get close to even if they have been with humans all their lives, because the nature of adult tigers is living in solitude. When you are with them after a while if they reach the mating season, they will get so aggressive or very protective of their own territories or of a female, so it is not a good idea to deal with adult tigers neither wild-born or captive ones.

8- HR Revolution Middle-East Magazine: How do you ensure that there is no animal abuse in the park?

Phonphawit Ton-Od: In Thailand, it is hard to have a good job with a good salary so if they want a job they will do as they are told, otherwise they will get a punishment. As I said, human beings are clever pretenders; some would do anything for something in return, but not everyone does. We aim to hire employees who love animals and they take good care of them. Those will be the ones who get a bonus and those who abuse animals are not qualified to work as keepers and that is the way it should be. Also there is a written note in the park for our customers in case they witnessed any sort of animal abuse they should report right away.

9- HR Revolution Middle-East Magazine: Your photographers are highly skilled. Phuket contains a wide variety of photographers in each place I personally visited. How did you hire your photographers? Where they already talented or did you add your own trainings too?

Phonphawit Ton-Od: We have hired one who already is a photographer and we do a test before employment. However, the process of taking pictures with tigers is another thing, it needs training. For example, in the first week, the junior photographer needs to go with a senior employee to perceive how he works then he takes a couple of pictures of the same customer. The junior photographer returns to the senior to show him his performance and receive a feedback. The supervisor tells him which pictures are good, which ones need improvement or need to be replaced. Most importantly we teach the photographer how to be safe when close to the tigers.

10- HR Revolution Middle-East Magazine: Whenever you visit a touristic place in Phuket, the photographers take a picture of you and print it. You see the picture on your way out and then you decided whether you want to buy it or not. In Tiger Kingdom, you are using a totally different approach than the rest of the places. Can you please tell us more about this approach, and why you are using it instead?

Phonphawit Ton-Od: Because this is a waste of resources, effort and time. Eventually after you print the picture the customer might not buy it. It is better when the customers are the ones who decided to have it or not.

11- HR Revolution Middle-East Magazine: How do you hire and train the trainers of the tigers?

Phonphawit Ton-Od: We hire the ones who love animals or those who studied animal science and Zoology if possible. But to be a professional trainer we need time to train them. At least 2 months before we can let them go with a customer so that they can take care of themselves first.

12- HR Revolution Middle-East Magazine: What is your criticism regarding the marketing field in Thailand, and what is your advice to Thai marketing specialists?

Phonphawit Ton-Od: I am very new in the marketing field, however I do believe that we as marketers should give customers the right way of what to expect through a different and creative approach. One company may have many services and products to provide its customers with, so we should first define the kind of customer we deal with. We need to know who our customers are; starting from a single person to big organizations. As a marketer, everyone except yourself are your customers.

But here in Tiger Kingdom the way we do things is more sophisticated because we offer a different product. Our product is a living one, it has a life that makes us need to ask for some cooperation from our customers; not just what they want but also how it should be implemented in order to make it safe for both tigers and humans.

HR Revolution Middle-East Magazine: Thank you so much Mr. Phonphawit for this amazing interview.

DSC_0064

HR Revolution Journalists: Alia Faramawi & Mahmoud Mansi / Copyrights: Tiger Kingdom Photographer

thumb_a3Hm_0sBGQmEyllULobCfcTYfpQy1S4lmqn9HP7MP6Q

Facebook Page:

https://www.facebook.com/Tiger-Kingdom-44464992878/timeline

Articles

Wellbeing @ Work Summit Middle East 2021 – where balance, resilience and authenticity break the Mental Health Stigma

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Written by: Cinzia Nitti

Globally, 2020 has been a year like no other. Coronavirus pandemic caused a massive business disruption; transformation has been key in supporting employees and catalyzing workplace changes. There was a rush to adapt and reinvent Business Models. Organizations had to rethink and reconsider how they deliver services and strengthen their Organizations through a forward-thinking Digital strategy. To be more agile and responsive in such uncertain times, we need to respond to challenges and adapt quickly to new scenarios by moving from rigid hierarchies to leaner and more flexible structures.

But what about Mental Health at Work, and why is it essential?

What’s the Office of the Future?

Within the Wellbeing @ Work Summit Middle East 2021, HR Leaders tried to normalize the conversation about Mental Health by putting the topic first, enabling self-care and professional support, raising awareness, and building knowledge around its related issues. Nowadays, personal and work life are more intertwined than ever, so it becomes vital to create balance: the more employees feel free to talk about Mental Health, the more they can prevent struggle and breakout at the Workplace. HR leaders play a crucial role in making an IMPACT by pushing new solutions, promoting work-life balance, redesign workloads, and supporting their Teams.

In this general frame, Irada Aghamaliyeva (MENA Diversity, Inclusiveness & Wellbeing Leader at EY) affirmed: “Workplaces that are inclusive foster enhanced employee wellbeing; employees with high levels of wellbeing are more inclusive”. How can Organizations increase employees’ resilience and embed sustainable Leadership behaviors in the post-covid reality?

Dr. Irada Aghamaliyeva introduced the Mindfulness practice in the Workplace and highlighted its benefits on a large scale: improved wellbeing and resilience on a physical level; positive emotions, self-regulation, empathy and awareness of social dynamics; learning and innovation thanks to the implementation of flexible thinking, intuition and problem-solving processes. So breaking the stigma is possible, starting from personal wellbeing to sustain positive energy and fuel resilience.

About the Power of Empathetic and Authentic Leadership, Dr. Rima Ghose Chowdhury (EVP & Chief Human Resources Officers at Datamatics Global Services) stresses the importance of Leadership roles today. The virtual environment employees are working in, makes them more vulnerable due to a lack of balance between emotional and authenticity traits. Authenticity is the primary factor in effective leadership, regardless of the leadership style. Putting employees first as a strategic priority and hearing their voices to guide strategy; embracing agility to work more effectively in tumultuous time; including a multigenerational work-force: these are the key concepts within Dr. Rima’s motto “Empowering is to enable”. Through motivation and filling emotional support needs, the Empowering Teams Process leads to employees’ safety, esteem, and self-actualization. 

The Wellbeing @ Work Summit delivers strategic direction, advice and inspiration from employers and experts from across the world to help you create a more compassionate corporate culture that delivers results. To know more about the FOW Future of Work Insights platform around the world, click here: https://fowinsights.com/

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The Wellbeing @ Work virtual Summit Middle East returns for its 5th annual event on 22-24 February 2021

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The summit provides an innovative and experiential virtual learning opportunity for our audience of CEOs, benefit and reward business leaders and senior HR professionals. The information and knowledge gained from attending this event allow the opportunity to make strategic wellbeing and mental health decisions within an organization, supporting our mission to create more flourishing and thriving workplaces. Never before has the mental health and wellbeing of your employees been so important. The Wellbeing @ Work Summit includes keynote speeches, panel discussions, workshops, and fireside chats alongside unrivaled networking with leaders across the Middle East using our AI-enabled matchmaking platform. This is far more than a webinar! An engaging 3-day event providing you invaluable insight and tools to create thriving workplaces.

Key Reasons to Attend:

  • An engaging AI-enabled matchmaking platform to make invaluable connections & host virtual meetings up to 2 weeks before the three-day festival
  • Learn how multinational organizations are creating workplaces where employees thrive in the new world
  • Campfire panel discussions informing workplace change & mental health solutions
  • Middle East-based employer case studies providing the secrets to employee wellbeing success
  • International experts bringing best-practice from across the globe
  • Invaluable networking with business leaders from across the Middle East

The Wellbeing @ Work Summit delivers strategic direction, advice and inspiration from employers and experts from across the world to help you create a more compassionate corporate culture that delivers results. The design and implementation of a holistic wellbeing and mental health programme that delivers healthy outcomes and a more productive organization is paramount right now. 

In addition, the results of the extensive Middle East region-wide survey on wellbeing and mental fitness in organizations across the region made in partnership with Cognomie will be presented during the event.

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DECODING FUTURE HR: Global 24 hour virtual event | 19 and 20 January 2021

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DECODING FUTURE HR: Today’s challenges are tomorrow’s trends and opportunities

Global 24 hour virtual event | 19 and 20 January 2021

www.decodinghrevent.com

The world in 2020 has changed to a ‘new normality’ but what’s that ‘new normality’ everybody talks about? Is it here to stay? How is it affecting us in our daily lives in the different versions of ourselves? As a customer, an entrepreneur, a parent, a friend…a worker…

Our job is a key part of our lives and we are indeed living through a fundamental transformation in the way we work. Automation and ‘thinking machines’ are replacing human tasks and jobs, and changing the skills that organisations are looking for in their people. These momentous changes raise huge organisational, talent and other HR challenges. It has become clear that few organisations are likely to revert to pre-pandemic practices even after a vaccine is found.

Decoding Future HR 2021 is bringing you the ideology of how today’s challenges are becoming tomorrow’s trends and opportunities resulting in HR excellence.

Why you should attend:

  • Learn about the trends and best practices shaping future HR
  • Get valuable insights from expert speakers
  • Share ideas and research to help your organisation reach its goals
  • Understand what do employees want in ‘New Normal’
  • Develop new vision for HRBP and Centre of Expertise
  • Identify, integrate and understand stakeholders to create an intentional employee experience
  • Approaches and elements to leadership development.

Some of our confirmed speakers:

  • Tshepo Yvonne Mosadi , Human Resources Director, The HEINEKEN Company
  • Sarah Tabet, Global HR Director/ D&I Leader | Author for “Inclusion Starts with U”, Schneider Electric
  • Wadah Al Turki, Country Talent Manager KSA and Bahrain, IKEA
  • Lesha Chakraborti, Head of HR – EMEA, Travelex
  • Shaban Butt, Director HR & Administration, The Coca-Cola Company
  • Sajjad Parmar, Head of Rewards – APAC, eBay
  • Katey Howard, VP, Talent Management AMESA, Pepsico
  • Chen Fong Tuan, HR & General Affairs Director, Samsung Electronics
  • Prerna Ajmera, Senior Director, HR Experiences and Solutions, Microsoft
  • Václav Koranda, Vice President Human Resources / Member of the Board of Directors, T-System
  • Amy MacGregor, VP Employee Experience, Global HR, Manulife
  • Adwait Kashalkar, People Analytics and Programme Management Leader, APAC, Mastercard

Click here to view all speakers: www.decodinghrevent.com/speakers

At Wisdom we remain positive that ‘normality’ will soon return and that we will be able to physically meet together once again as speakers, delegates and sponsors at our beautiful venues around the world. But meanwhile, life continues and we need to keep in touch and learn from each other. This 24-hour virtual event will be of great benefit and value to your businesses and its continued development during these challenging times. While this virtual event comes at a lesser cost, it provides for now a wider reach into an international audience, with flexibility of access to content as well as allowing you to have the same opportunity as at a face-to-face session for one-to-one business meetings. We look forward to welcoming you in January.

Date and time: 19-20 January 2021Where: Virtual engaging platform
  Further information and bookings: www.decodinghrevent.com        Contact:
marketing@wisdom.events   #WSDM_BI
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