Evaluating the levels of staff engagement in the NHS

A study funded by the HS&DR programme has evaluated the evidence on employee engagement and its potential benefits to NHS staff.

The study, published in The BMJ highlighted the importance of assessing if NHS efforts to raise levels of staff engagement are helping to address the increasing levels of low morale, retention and performance.

One of the issues established by the study was a lack of an agreed definition or measure of engagement with the range of different meanings to “engagement” hampering the development of a persuasive body of knowledge and evidence.

The study reports that a consensus was “tentatively emerging” from the academic literature, that engagement is a “psychological state” experienced by people that leads to beneficial individual and organisational outcomes and that is influenced by a range of organisational factors.

Researcher Professor Bailey said, “The overwhelming weight of evidence is that people who are engaged with their work enjoy higher levels of wellbeing and morale. They are more satisfied with their work, they perform better, and organisations with a highly engaged workforce tend to be better performing and to have a workforce with higher levels of commitment and lower levels of turnover.

People who felt “more resilient” and able to cope with the demands placed on them were also more engaged with their work, the researchers found, and training or development could boost workers’ coping strategies.

“We were hoping that there might be a magic bullet or two in the research, with definitive evidence that if you do ‘this’ you might drive up levels of engagement; but unfortunately that evidence isn’t there yet, which is a bit of a shame, really,” said Professor Bailey. “It does make it very hard for organisations that want to raise levels of engagement with finite resources. There’s only so much an organisation can do and so much time people can devote to it, so there aren’t any easy answers.”

Find out more about the project via the website

More articles     Posted on: 17 July 2015