Reward in the NHS

Find out all about reward in the NHS and access resources to support your organisation meet workforce challenges and improve staff engagement.

4 July 2023

NHS organisations provide some of the most comprehensive and attractive employment packages available. Adopting a strategic approach to reward can help employers meet workforce challenges such as attraction, recruitment, retention and staff engagement.

What is meant by reward

  • Named benefits provided by an organisation to employees in exchange for their hard work and contribution. This is inclusive of all tangible and intangible benefits that can attract, retain and motivate people to work within organisations.
  • A combination of both financial and non financial reward is known as a total reward approach.

Financial reward

The financial reward elements include pay and the NHS Pension Scheme.

Non-financial reward

The non-financial reward elements can be local initiatives that organisations put in place for their workforce and can include things like:

  • flexible working policies
  • opportunities for career development
  • access to training
  • recognition schemes.

If organisations strategically utilise a range of local and national reward offers this will contribute to them becoming an employer of choice and an excellent place to work.

Reward offers

Reward offers can be split into two categories.

  • Local reward offers are: 

    • developed in house by organisations
    • often presented within an online portal, benefits leaflets or staff handbook they are only accessible to the employees within your organisation

    Examples include:

    • subsidised car parking
    • additional annual leave
    • training schemes
    • flexible working.
  • National reward offers are: 

    • Nationally agreed and included in the NHS terms and conditions of service, covering all staff except doctors, dentists and very senior managers.
    • These are contractual entitlements accessible to most staff across all NHS organisations.

    Examples include:

    • annual leave
    • maternity/paternity pay
    • sick pay. 

    These benefits for NHS staff are often above average when drawing comparisons with other industries. Therefore, it is important they are well communicated as part of the total reward package for maximum impact. 

Total Reward Statements (TRS)

In the NHS Total Reward Statements (TRS) can be used as a useful tool to help employees understand their overall reward package.

  • Staff are provided with a personalised summary that shows them their reward package, including things such as basic pay, allowances, pension benefits and any local benefits on offer.

    Statements will be updated and refreshed on the TRS portal annually and we have developed a useful timeline which advises when actions should be taken by employers to update TRS. The benefits felt by staff having access to all this information in one place can help them to feel valued.

NHS Pension Scheme

The pension scheme is one of the most comprehensive and generous schemes in the UK. It should be seen as a key element of the overall reward package.

    • A secure government guaranteed pension.
    • A future proof annual retirement income that rises with inflation.
    • Financial family protection, if staff pass away or are too ill to work.
    • A generous employer contribution of 20.68 per cent.
    • Tax relief on member contributions, making it a great way to save for the future.
    • Options that allow staff to retire flexibly, giving them more choice towards the end of their career, helping to improve their health and financial wellbeing.

    The technicalities of the scheme can often seem daunting but we have lots of user friendly resources and infographics to support you in communicating the benefits to your staff.

Other resources to support you

Developing your own reward strategy

To support employers with adopting a strategic approach to reward, we have developed a reward strategy toolkit. Depending on where your organisation is currently in creating a strategy will depend which phase you start from, but there are some helpful checklists which you can follow at each stage.

  • Phase 1 - preparation and planning
  • Phase 2 - development and design
  • Phase 3 - implementation and communication

Reward and Recognition Network

  • The reward and recognition network brings together colleagues from across the NHS with a responsibility or interest in reward to develop, share knowledge and experience.
  • Hosted bimonthly, the network provides a safe space for colleagues across the NHS to join together to discuss their successes, seek help with challenges, work collaboratively and network with each other, as well as hear national updates from NHS Employers.
  • You can find out more about our network on the Reward and Recognition network web page.
  • NHS Employers has developed a suite of tools, guidance and resources to help employers with all aspects of reward and recognition.
  • We also conduct an annual ‘Reward in the NHS’ survey, which helps us hear more about organisations approach to reward and how they communicate their strategies with staff.