NHS Staff Survey 2023: staff engagement overview

Details on the key staff engagement scores from the 2023 NHS Staff Survey.

12 March 2024

The overall indicator for staff engagement in the NHS Staff Survey 2023 has been formally designated as stable, with the level of movement not quite enough to represent an increase. 

There were however improvements in several key elements that make up this indicator, especially in the measures of involvement and advocacy, or willingness to recommend the NHS as a place to work – a key survey metric and particularly helpful for retention purposes. 

The staff engagement score is made up of three broad measures, outlined in more detail below:

  • motivation (related to individual job)
  • involvement (at ward and wider level) 
  • advocacy (willingness to recommend the organisation as a place to work and to be treated). 


The motivation indicator remained broadly stable and remains very high compared to the wider economy. This measure has dropped since the height of the COVID-19 pandemic but is now almost back to pre-pandemic levels. 


The involvement indicator showed improvement, driven by a modest increase in staff feeling able to make improvements in their work area. The figures for involvement at ward level remain significantly higher than for wider organisational involvement. 

There are also wide variations between trusts on the involvement measure. A small number of trusts have actively involved staff on quality improvement, but greater involvement of staff in this area will be a crucial if the NHS is to achieve its targets for wider productivity improvement. 

NHS Employers will be sharing more information on involvement and improvement in the coming months and is keen to hear from any trusts with learning to share. Please contact Steven Weeks.  


On advocacy, the overall measure of willingness to recommend the NHS as a place to work rose from 57 per cent to 61 per cent and is now almost back to pre-pandemic levels. 

This metric is a key marker of staff feeling and is considered a positive indicator for improved staff retention. It is also measured in the quarterly pulse survey and has shown an encouraging recovery this year following a sharp fall in 2022. 

Although not part of the staff engagement score itself, results for questions on feeling recognised and valued also improved, as did the overall morale indicator. This was backed by a drop in staff saying they are considering leaving the service. 

Further information

More details on the staff engagement scores in the NHS Staff Survey will be shared in forthcoming meetings of the NHS Employers Staff Engagement Network. These meetings are open to all staff engagement leads. For details and how to attend, please contact Steven Weeks.

To learn more about the health and wellbeing survey findings, see our overview article. 

For more on the wider 2023 survey findings, see our analysis of all the key themes.

View the full results and data on the NHS Staff Survey website.