Electronic Staff Record


What is ESR? 

The NHS Electronic Staff Record (ESR) provides an integrated HR and payroll system to NHS organisations. It is used by 99 per cent of NHS trusts and holds the data for about 1.4 million staff (about six per cent of the UK's working population). 

Effective workforce planning is essential if the NHS is to supply the staff to meet the changing healthcare needs of the population. ESRs potential to support local, regional and national workforce planning is huge.

How can ESR help you with workforce planning?

ESR has a range of tools and functions which enable employers to enter, store and analyse historical and current information about their workforce. If used effectively, it can offer a great return on investment. ESR has developed a benefits calculator tool to help you quantify the business benefits the system could bring for your organisation.

Here are some of the ways ESR can help you address the strategic priorities facing your organisation:

Workforce supply
Talent management
Safety and compliance
Retention strategy
Improving efficiency

Workforce supply

ESR can help you understand data about your workforce, and what it means - not just in terms of numbers of staff, but their skills and competencies too. Analysis of absence figures and types, and overtime figures or the use of temporary and agency staff, for example, can help you to identify workforce supply issues and consider how to address them. This should support the implementation of more robust, safer staffing plans, which will benefit your patients, your workforce, and your organisation. 

Having a good understanding of the composition of your workforce could also help you make a better assessment of what your future workforce might need to look like in order to meet changing service needs. 

Talent management

ESR can support employers to develop and deliver good talent management strategies, which, as well as being useful for the business, contribute to staff health and wellbeing. Regular and meaningful appraisals are an important way of engaging staff and making them feel valued. ESR's learning and talent management functionality gives managers the ability to record staff appraisals and personal development plans.

Assessing staff's competencies, qualifications and skills will help you to identify how to make best use of, and develop, the talent within your workforce to meet service needs.  Where skills do need to be supplemented, the functionality within ESR also supports vacancy management and the establishment control processes.

Safety and compliance

ESR enables employers to assure themselves, and regulatory bodies, such as the Care Quality Commission (CQC), that they have the right numbers of staff, with the right skills in the right place to deliver safe care. Monitoring and recording staff training plans and achievements can help employers to assess the organisation’s compliance in terms of mandatory and statutory training. Crucially, ESR also interfaces with organisations such as the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS), and the regulators, such as the General Mecial Council (GMC), and the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC), which make it simple for users to ensure that new starter checks, and staff qualifications, registration and revalidation requirements are up to date. 

Retention strategy

Robust recruitment strategies are key to helping you get the right people with the right values and skills into your organisation. However, understanding what makes them want to stay can also help you to review and improve your HR and retention strategies. ESR can prompt your managers to identify and record valuable business intelligence, such as where staff come from, why they leave, and where they go to when they do.  Find out more about how ESR can support you to improve retention with this presentation

Improving efficiency

One of the key elements of ESR is its self service functionality, which is used by managers and staff to provide high-level reports, and improve HR process efficiency. Managers can use the 'discoverer reporting tool' and recently updated business intelligence dashboards to access real-time workforce reports, which help them to better assess, schedule and manage their wards or departments. The reports also provide useful data for trust boards to consider, which can aid strategic decision making. The ability to use the system to promptly and effectively record and manage staff absence is cited by users as one of the key benefits of ESR. Its interfaces with rostering systems also supports effective workforce planning and scheduling.

Find out more 

This summary of ESR's functionality and business benefits is not exhaustive. Access further guidance to understand how ESR can also support your recruitment and retention strategies. 

More information can be found on the ESR website.

Lady at computer

ESR Benefits Calculator

Use the NHS ESR benefits calculator to help you quantify the potential benefits to your business of using the electronic records system.


ESR Business Intelligence

ESR's Business Intelligence (BI) function provides information via a range of user friendly dashboards.

Related News

Recording Armed Forces status on ESR

A new feature on ESR now allows you to record whether staff are Armed Forces veterans.

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