TRANSPORT operator SMRT is looking to tie a bigger portion of its staff's bonuses to how smoothly train and bus services are run, using a team-based incentive system.
For example, rolling stock maintenance crews, who are tasked with keeping trains well-serviced, will be evaluated partly by how reliable their trains are in operation.
Bus captains and operation staff at depots will also be evaluated as a team, and will have key performance indicators (KPIs) such as running bus services on schedule and meeting safety standards.
"They have to work collectively as team. Ultimately, the hope is to drive better services for the customers," said SMRT's vice-president for human resources Gerard Koh.
He added that 70 per cent of staff bonuses are tied to operational KPIs and will be increased to 80 per cent with the team-based incentives.
These may be paid on top of the two to three months of annual bonuses that SMRT staff get, he said.
The new scheme will also help distribute the earnings from the Government's Bus Service Reliability Framework, a carrot-and-stick programme motivating bus operators to improve the consistency of bus arrivals through monetary rewards and penalties.
Yesterday, Mr Koh unveiled a slew of human-resource initiatives, such as more structured career paths and better remuneration for certain positions, as well as plans by the company to expand its headcount.
While SMRT is in discussion with the National Transport Workers' Union (NTWU) of the final details of the personnel schemes, it expects to roll them out progressively from April 16.
In the train business, SMRT aims to increase its staff strength by some 15 per cent, adding 700 employees.
This is to cater for the launch of the 7.5km Tuas West Extension at end of the year, which will add four stations to the East-West Line, and for the injection of new trains onto the North-South, East-West and Circle MRT lines.
In the bus segment, the goal is to increase staff ranks by 20 per cent, or 500 people, the bulk of them bus captains. SMRT said this would put more buses on the roads and reduce commuter waiting time.
SMRT's current headcount is more than 9,000, having grown 30 per cent from 7,000 in 2012.
It is also beefing up training, with the signing of a memorandum of understanding with the University of Birmingham, to jointly conduct courses at its SMRT Institute.
Salaries will also be bumped up by at least 5 per cent for its rail maintenance line managers, said Mr Koh, with programmes to groom potential and experienced diploma- and degree-holders for these roles.
There are over 140 line managers with plans to add 40 more, in conjunction with the hiring boom.
"We need to strengthen this middle layer of experienced people who rose up through the bottom and know the system in and out.
"The (new) technicians will need these leaders," he said.
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