Suffolk firms ‘need to do more to attract skilled staff’

Rob Thomson, director at Grant Thornton�s Ipswich office Picture: CARL MIDDLEDITCH/BUSHFIRE PHOTOGRA

Rob Thomson, director at Grant Thornton�s Ipswich office Picture: CARL MIDDLEDITCH/BUSHFIRE PHOTOGRAPHY - Credit: Bushfire Photography

Organisational culture is one of the top challenges facing Suffolk businesses as they struggled to recruit people with the right skills, experts believe.

Rob Thomson, director at accountancy firm Grant Thornton’s Ipswich office, said Suffolk firms needed to engage more with their employees.

The majority of businesses in the East of England believe they have achieved a strong organisational culture but almost three quarters still find it hard to attract the right skilled people to develop and grow, according to a Grant Thornton survey.

A poll of senior managers revealed that more than two thirds (68%) felt their organisation had a robust, positive culture, while a further 63% felt their core business values supported future strategy.

More than three quarters (79%) of respondents said their business culture enabled people to improve their skills and grow, with 84% stating employees were encouraged to freely express opinions and exchange ideas.

However, just 36% of businesses questioned had actually surveyed employees on their own perceptions of the environment they work in. The poll results also indicated that a strong business culture was not enough to overcome the significant skills challenges many organisations face, with 74% of respondents saying they have difficulty finding the right talent to take their business forward.

Mr Thomson said: “Organisational culture is one of the top challenges facing businesses today, especially in Suffolk where issues such as talent retention and recruitment are critical.

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“Studies and real life experience show that to get the best from people you need to engage with them, invest in them, make them feel valued and create a culture that allows them to perform to their best ability. Financial reward, whilst valued by some, is not enough and can often create the wrong kind of behaviours, feeding into a self-focused rather than collective mindset.

“It is positive to see that so many local businesses are confident in the strength of their culture, although Suffolk firms do need to engage more with their employees to gain greater confirmation here. Our survey findings suggest a positive culture is not always enough to attract talent, underlining the enormity of the recruitment challenge so many businesses are up against.”