people future of work

Understanding the new workforce drivers

7th August 2020

Curzon Managing Consultant Rodrigo Quezada Dighero shares his thoughts on the new workforce drivers.

We’ve been living in odd times. Covid-19 ensured that disruption everywhere. This has also included the ways in companies have been able to engage and reward employees – traditionally a key factor to retain talent. Organisations should be using this opportunity to re-evaluate reward programmes and incentive models, paying close attention to and quickly acting on, what the workforce values in this new world.

A time of disruption

Before the coronavirus pandemic, companies employed a wide range of benefits to engage and reward their employees. These spanned from pay increases and bonuses (monetary incentives), to office experiences such as in-house chefs, ping pong tables and lounges. Creating a great experience in the office was key to having a competitive edge with your rewards system.

Up until the pandemic, it could be said that the drivers to employee engagement included the above listed rewards. However, the pandemic and lockdown created a shift. A recent study showed that economic disruption and uncertainty brought high levels of anxiety for employees over their personal job security for over 64% of the global workforce. The result has been people committing long hours and working harder. As a data point, Rightmove Chief executive Peter Brooks-Johnson, said in March: “I’ve been encouraged by how seamlessly people have adapted to working from home and how productivity has increased over the past few months.” the property website has over 530 staff who moved to home-based working since March.

The new driver for employees shifted from an enjoyable working environment to keeping their jobs and their financial stability. Often this would be whilst juggling household responsibilities, taking care of their families and working in cramped conditions. Suddenly a blur of work and personal life was created. People adapted in order to maintain business continuity, but at a high cost.What’s more is that a recent study showed that 62% of people trusted their employer to respond responsibly to COVID-191.

Now, as companies are looking onto the horizon of a new world post Covid-19, people too are considering what the new normal will be for them in their day to day working lives. Companies need to be aware of this when planning workforce engagement principles and drivers for the future. The focus is no longer on simply solving employees problems within the workplace, but rather it should include their household and life challenges, and how companies embrace and take care of them.

The ability to quickly understand what the new drivers for employee engagement could be, and how a company could adapt its ways to better serve those new drivers will provide the right incentive for people to remain engaged and switched on, creating a new environment to not just survive but thrive.

A great start

When Jack Dorsey sent the email to his Twitter staff on May 12 communicating people that they were able to work remotely, and in fact would be allowed to continue to do so forever with the provision of equipment to do so – an allowance for transforming their home into an office -, he demonstrated commitment to his people and attention to what they were struggling with, a new reality.

The pandemic has increased the trend of employers playing an expanded role in their employees’ financial, physical and mental well-being. Support has included from enhanced sick leave, financial assistance, adjusted hours of operation and child care provisions, to special allowances for work-related need such as Ergonomic chairs, monitors, Wi-Fi capabilities among others. In the case of a workforce that cannot operate remotely, setting extra precautionary measures, such as safe commuting alternatives and workplace adaptation have been the norm.

The current economic crisis has also pushed the bounds of how employers view the employee experience. Personal factors rather than external factors take precedence over what matters for organisations and employees alike. Employing such measures can be an effective way to promote physical health and improve the emotional well-being of employees.

But there’s still no clarity on the long term impact of COVID on the workforce.

The time to act is now

It is often difficult to create change or transformation within organisations. The present time offers an opportunity for organisations to change their people strategy and create more efficient and productive ways of working. Key considerations are:

Design from your people, not for them

Ask your workforce, and put yourself in their shoes, this is an extremely important time to listen to what your workforce cares about the most, and design your plans and drivers around it.

Communicate often with authenticity, compassion and confidence

One of the actions we saw in our clients that provided calm to high levels of anxiety on their workforce was continuous, honest and open communication.

Proactively seek feedback from employees and give them a voice, and let them lead. Ensure leaders share their own COVID-19 experiences.

Build trust with your people through your purpose

Uniting employees under a common purpose can be a strong motivating factor which is important during a challenging journey of change. Purpose-driven companies are more flexible and better at navigating uncertainty. Read our thoughts on building a purpose driven organisation:

Support households, not just employees

Workplaces may be starting to reopen, but uncertainty prevails for employees in other areas of life.

This highlights the importance of mental health support, employee assistance programmes and wellbeing initiatives to help people adapt during a difficult time.

Revisit policies, focusing on the most vulnerable groups, such as temporary workers, people with disabilities, single parents or those who lack adequate health benefits.

Remember, design the plan by asking your people; prepare your people to be in action, engage them into the new order, and finally, prepare to lead. Times like these require active leadership and consistent communication.

Working from home or living at work?

COVID-19 has brought unprecedented challenges. Many companies around the world have risen to the occasion, acting swiftly to safeguard employees and migrate to a new way of working that most business-continuity plans hadn’t envisioned. Across industries, leaders will use the lessons from this large-scale work-from-home experiment to reimagine how work is done—and what role offices should play—in creative and bold ways.

One thing that this pandemic brought to people, is that work and family/personal life are closer than once thought. Merging work and home over the past months, proved that there are new motivators that people are looking for from organisations. Understanding this new reality is crucial for companies to recruit and maintain talent, so getting the drivers right has to be done as soon as possible.

Contact us

The time to act is now. This is a unique opportunity to engage your people and create a strong bond with them and your community, addressing change in your people and your clients and their preferences, to not just go back to business continuity but to understand what the new reality demands from your business to serve better clients and have more engaged employees.

For that, you will need to listen and be able to adapt, we have experience in change and we have put some approaches to help you in that process. We can help creating and implementing the survey so you get a good visibility of what your people need and want. We can then help designing your new reality and making it happen, with you and your people, with speed and confidence.


Contact us


Digitalisation in building supplies

8th June 2020

The global COVID-19 pandemic is changing customer behaviour across the UK. We explore the digitalisation adopted by many building supplies companies to meet new customer expectations.

Muhammad Ali, Curzon Consulting Principal, discusses the impact of coronavirus on customer expectations and digitalisation with David Young, Group CEO of The Bradfords Group. Bradfords is a leading independent Builders Merchants in the UK.

Watch the highlights of our conversation:

Changing customer expectations

Navigating supply and demand challenges brought about by COVID-19

David explains the challenges that the pandemic has created in the building supplies industry.

Initially, Bradfords’ shops remained open to support essential projects and self-employed customers. In March, the morning after the UK lockdown was announced, Bradfords experienced extraordinary levels of demand. They realised that although Bradfords had a number of social distancing measures in place, they wanted to create a new process to safely meet the rapid change in customer demand. They opened back up the next morning with a brand new process – to order either via phone and collect, or order through the website.

This generated “unprecedented demand on the phones”, increasing from around 1,500 calls per day to 15,000.  Consequently, both trade and retail customers looked to other channels such as the website. David explains

“we started seeing a big uptick in our trade customers using our portal and then transacting online, and also retail customers”.

However this surge in online demand came with a new set of supply chain challenges. Therefore, to ensure that Bradfords could continue to supply products for essential products and key projects they:

  • Temporarily closed their business to the retail customer base
  • Rationalised their product range

Furthermore, showcasing fewer products created a better website user experience which in turn generated an increase in sales. In fact, the eCommerce sales are still increasing, even now Bradfords have reopened their shops and yard to customers.

Are these changes in customer behaviour expected to continue?

In the short to medium term, this changing end user behaviour is expected to continue. Trends include:

  • Customers increasingly plan ahead
  • Customers continue to buy online
  • An increase in retail customers
  • A spread of footfall across the day, rather than a concentration of customers in the morning

“What COVID-19 has forced customers to do is plan ahead” David Young explains. Due to extended lead times and the click & collect service, Bradfords have seen their customers become much more planned. This change in behaviour is also helping operations “it helps us manage our workloads and forecasting stock levels”.

Building a strong ecommerce offering

The growing focus on ecommerce in building products is mirrored in the wider UK retail market and high street. Companies like Bradfords have been “through a long journey on ecommerce” and now find themselves well positioned to generate new sales through this channel. This represents a shift in focus for the building materials industry. A renewed focus on driving sales through the website highlights the importance of understanding insights from data. David recognises that good data is an important investment and Bradfords work closely with suppliers to ensure they are capturing data.

Overall, the pandemic has led to a renewed focus on digital strategy.

“I think the pandemic has really forced people and businesses to really look at their digital platforms”.

What does the future of trade counter operations look like?

Digitalisation in building supplies merchants during coronavirus has caused a spread in footfall across the day in shops. David forsees that click and collect will become a bigger part of building merchant life, likely as a separate service. Offering click and collect on light and heavy side products, such as forklifts, will require companies to restructure the way they operate. Key considerations are:

  • Resource to ensure they can offer customers quick turnaround time
  • Speed and efficiency of processes
  • Omni channel offering
  • Flexibility around opening hours – digitalisation opens up a 24 hour service
  • Product ranges

The ability to react quickly to meet changing demand is key, both within the business and across the supply chain. Indeed, David recognises the importance of planning ahead and sees the importance of builders merchants becoming “much more productive in the future”.

Changing relationships across the supply chain

Will digitalisation disrupt the value chain? Does it change the relationship between manufacturer, distributor and end user?

David sees this as an evolution rather than disruption:

“I think the relationship between the merchant, and the supplier will change dramatically. You know data is so important and historically I’ve found that data within our supply chain is very poor… a lot of manufacturers just don’t hold the level of data needed in this new world…

I think there’s a big wakeup call coming”.

Merchants need to be mindful of potential risks, particularly if they:

  • Are slow to react to digital customer demand and develop their eCommerce platforms
  • Don’t react quickly – “actually some of the suppliers will vertically integrate and sell direct and cut us out.”

This evolution also presents a number of opportunities for building supplies merchants to:

  • Work with suppliers that are invested in data and technology
  • Build stronger vendor relationships
  • Attract a new demographic of customer
  • Understand the many payment platforms and react accordingly

In summary, digitalisation across building supplies gives businesses the opportunity to adopt digital, improve customer experience and improve supply chain relationships.

Contact us

Contact us to discuss how digital strategy, transformation and customer experience can be applied in your organisation.

Contact Ali

Want to find out how our Manufacturing & Engineering Services consulting team can help?

Contact us

Curzon Consulting Financial Times UK Leading Management Consultants 2020

UK’s Leading Managing Consultants 2020

29th January 20203 Minutes

We have been named as one of the ‘UK’s Leading Management Consultants 2020’ by the Financial Times. We are recommended in four categories:

Sectoral expertise

  • Construction & Infrastructure
  • Financial Institutions & Services

Consulting services

  • Operations & Supply Chain
  • Strategy

Managing Partner Andrew Morgan said

We are delighted to be comfortably in the top 40 UK management consultancies alongside some well known brands. This reflects our dedication to delivering results for clients in our chosen markets through strategy, operational and digital transformation.


This is the second year that Curzon Consulting have been recognised in this special report. In 2019 we were recommended or frequently recommended for consulting in strategy, financial institutions, and construction & infrastructure.


Compiled with data company Statista, the annual rating is based on recommendations by clients and peers. Statista compiled results based on recommendations. As a result, consulting companies are awarded Bronze (recommended), Silver (frequently recommended) or Gold (very frequently recommended).

Curzon Consulting Financial Times UK Leading Management Consultants 2020


Contact us

Andrew O'Reilly Curzon Consulting

Andrew-Eugene O'Reilly

Andrew O'Reilly Curzon Consulting


Contact me

+44 (0)2074092857

I am a recent Masters in Management (MiM) graduate at Universita Bocconi having completed a bachelor’s degree in Business & Economics at Trinity College Dublin.

I have over 18 months experience working at Accenture with a major technology client. Previous experience has included 3 months as part of the Investment Management consulting team at Deloitte Ireland and an advisory internship with Alkermes Pharmaceutical.

Through my education and professional background I have developed analytical and communication skills enabling me to provide practical and effective solutions.


Contact us

Andrew Wilson photo

Andrew Wilson

Will Anderson Curzon Consulting

Managing Consultant

Contact me

+44 (0)2074092857

I am a seasoned management consultant and transformation programme lead with over 15 years’ experience in designing and delivering diverse transformation projects that improve operational excellence, systems, process, and governance, reduce costs and increase revenue.

Using project management methodologies, operating model design and supported by the appropriate digital technologies I have co-created solutions with stakeholders to ensure successful project implementation underpinned by measured change management.

Prior to entering the business world I was a professional rugby player. I leverage learnings from my sports experience s to adapt and be successful in today’s unpredictable and challenging business environment.


Contact us

Will Anderson Curzon Consulting

Will Anderson

Will Anderson Curzon Consulting

Senior Consultant

Contact me

+44 (0)2074092857

I am an experienced consultant and product manager with a demonstrated history of delivering global programmes. My background lies in manufacturing product development and systems integration consulting where I worked with key players in the automotive sector such as Honda, Jaguar Land Rover and Ford.

My skills include continuous improvement, product development, digital transformation and data science. I have a B.Eng. (hons) in Mechanical Engineering and an MBA in Finance and Technology from Warwick Business School. During my MBA I focused on digitisation.

I am particularly interested in how mobility, electrification, digital disruption and connectivity can drive growth.


Contact us

Mehvish Ali Curzon Consulting

Mehvish Ali

Mehvish Ali Curzon Consulting


Contact me

+44 (0)2074092857

I‘m an Analyst at Curzon Consulting. I have a BSc in Business Management from King’s College London. Collectively, I have over three years of work experience spanning across Financial Modelling (Valuation Advisory), Risk Consulting (Broking, Strategic Risk and Operational Risk) and Management Consulting.

At Curzon, I have worked with clients in the Manufacturing and Financial Services sectors. I’ve delivered a Management Information System, conducted geographical analysis and assisted in the delivery of S&OP.
My in-depth market research and data analysis has generated new insights for our clients.

I like working at Curzon Consulting because we believe in delivering the highest standard of quality in our work, giving our clients the tools to reach their maximum potential.


Contact us

Amber Stewart Curzon Consulting

Amber Stewart

Amber Stewart Curzon Consulting


Contact me

+44 (0)2074092857

I am an Analyst at Curzon Consulting. I am a recent graduate from the University of Oxford having read for a Master’s degree in Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry.

At Curzon I have worked on projects in the Infrastructure sector and in the Telecommunications, Media and Technology sector. My experience includes delivering capability assessments and the application of operating model and functional discipline principles.

My scientific background has given me strong analytical skills and a particular interest in the Healthcare sector.


Contact us

Jas Dhillon

Senior Consultant

Contact me

+44 (0)2074092857

I am a senior strategy and transformation consultant with experience in delivering transformation projects across Financial Services, Infrastructure and Manufacturing.

I specialise in simplification, optimisation and delivering efficiency for clients by providing improved management information solutions. I enjoy solving complex business issues using the skills learned from my background in aerospace engineering and MBA.

As Curzon Consulting’s ‘Minister of Fun’, I organise our team social events.


Contact us