Relationship between employee engagement scores and service quality ratings: analysis of the National Health Service staff survey across 97 acute NHS Trusts in England and concurrent Care Quality Commission outcomes (2012–2016)
journal contributionposted on 29.07.2019, 16:44 by Mark Wake, William Green
Objective This research explores measures of employee engagement in the National Health Service (NHS) acute Trusts in England and examines the association between organisation-level engagement scores and quality ratings by the Care Quality Commission (CQC). Design Cross-sectional. Setting 97 acute NHS Trusts in England. Participants 97 NHS acute Trusts in England (2012–2016). Data include provider details, staff survey results and CQC reports. Hybrid Trusts or organisations affected by recent mergers are excluded. Outcome measures Analysis uses organisation-level employee engagement and CQC quality ratings. Results Employee engagement is affected by organisational factors, including patient bed numbers (β=−0.46, p<0.05) and financial revenue (β=0.38, p<0.05). CQC ratings are predicted by overall employee engagement score (β=0.57, p<0.001) and financial deficit (β=−0.19, p<0.05). The most influential employee engagement dimension on provider ratings is ‘advocacy’ (λ=0.54, p<0.001). Analysis supports the notion that employee engagement can be predicted from advocacy scores alone (eigenvalue=4.03). Better still, combining advocacy scores from the previous year’s survey or adding in motivation scores is a highly reliable indication of overall employee engagement (95.4% of total variance). Conclusions NHS acute Trusts with high employee engagement scores tend to have better CQC ratings. Trusts with a high financial deficit tend to have lower ratings. Employee engagement subdimensions have different associations with CQC ratings, the most influential dimension being advocacy score. A two subdimension model of engagement efficiently predicts overall employee engagement in NHS acute Trusts in England. Healthcare leaders should pay close attention to the proportion of employees who would recommend their organisation as a place to work or receive treatment, because this is a proxy for the level of engagement, and it predicts CQC ratings.