After spending millions to train employees in the service industry to deal with customers better, the authorities now want to focus on the bosses.

Managers are being targeted by the Singapore Workforce Development Agency (WDA) to improve the way their firms do business.

"Service transformation starts from the top," said labour chief Lim Swee Say yesterday. "Business leaders and managers should be constantly updated on the current trends and developments in the service industry and come up with a compelling strategy that works for the staff, business partners and the customers."

Bosses will be trained to redesign jobs, streamline work processes and analyse data from consumers which can be used to develop better products and services.

These courses will be run by WDA as part of a $60 million investment by the Government to train 90,000 service bosses and workers over the next three years.

The aim, said Mr Lim at a conference at Raffles City Convention Centre, is to help employers boost standards and motivate their staff.

"Visualise clearly the service culture you want to create for your company and service experience you want to deliver for your customers," said the Minister in the Prime Minister's Office.

He also urged bosses to make career development in the industry more alluring.

"Service jobs should be made more professional with better reward and recognition. Staff will serve with more pride if they are more motivated and engaged and see a future in what they do best," he said.

Part of the move is to upgrade their skills through WDA courses. Over 200,000 workers from the industry have attended these classes since 2006, when the first courses began.

To ensure the classes are more attractive to workers, they will receive certificates or diplomas now, allowing career progession, he announced.

He cited Sentosa Leisure Management (SLM) as a company whose staff felt more motivated after they attended the WDA training programmes. Guests are happy too, going by SLM's recent customer satisfaction survey, which showed a 95 per cent satisfaction rating.

SLM senior divisional director David Goh said: "Our staff can get promoted after they attend these training programmes. They are happier and more motivated."

Changi Airport Group's senior vice-president of airside concessions, Ms Ivy Wong, said such programmes also help boost staff retention rates.

"The training programmes help workers to see a career path in the company and they are more willing to stay on," she said.

"For example, frontline retail staff can work their way up to be a manager after going through training."