The New Line Manager

Empathetic leadership and data literacy in the post-pandemic workplace

Key Insights from our Workplace Training Report 2023 Working in a post-pandemic world

Post-pandemic employees are different from before. Demand for technical skills driven by digital transformation and a recognised and growing data skills gap has become apparent across all industries. In addition to this, the pandemic also highlighted just how important soft skills such as empathetic leadership and communication are. Let’s explore how the role of the new line manager needs to evolve to meet your workplace challenges.


Accidental management surges

The Chartered Management Institute found four out of every five managers never receive formal management training, and they estimate that 2.4 million bosses contribute to the country’s productivity drain. Accidental managers have found themselves in senior roles at an earlier stage in their careers than expected. They are a side effect of the pandemic and also the Great Resignation. This phenomenon has also occurred due to the record-high number of vacancies across sectors and industries.

The New Line Manager and the Future of Work

These new line managers have inherited a post-pandemic workplace with many complex challenges, including managing hybrid teams and employee wellbeing. Furthermore, they have to do this without the necessary professional development to manage it.

Many managers are enthusiastic and motivated to lead but lack the training and experience to successfully fulfil their roles. Our research found that 41% of employees do not believe that their line manager has the right leadership skills to support them. This decrease to 34% for younger employees though increases to 49% for employees aged 55-64. It’s important to find the positives and recognise that with the right training, these figures can improve, and you can nurture the leaders that your workforce needs.

Driven by the changing workplace and leaders’ accidental status, the new line manager requires a range of specific skills to succeed, including:

  • The ability to manage high-performing teams both in-person, remotely and in hybrid work environments
  • Empathy: empathetic leadership is vital, especially in difficult economic and political times
  • Technical skills: digital and data skills are more important than ever for all employees, and training your managers first sets a strong precedent

Are our New Line Managers ready for a digital workplace?

The future of the workplace is digital. Many organisations and leaders are taking the necessary steps to automate, digitise and use data to drive decision-making at all levels of the business. Presently, the main priorities for workplace training are technical digital skills (this includes data literacy) (51%), followed by software development (38%) and automation (34%).The need for data-literate employees requires a commitment from all organisations to invest in workplace training that is relevant and beneficial.

The government and many organisations recognise the significant lack of digital skills in the UK workplace, impacting the economy and businesses’ ability to progress.

As Corndel CEO James Kelly asserts: “There is well-publicised proof that the UK is in the midst of a data skills shortage. The government’s own data found 48% of businesses are recruiting for roles that require hard data skills, but 46% have struggled to recruit for these roles over the last two years.”

As we become more reliant on digital solutions and need to harness our business data to achieve the best possible outcomes, we need appropriately skilled employees to achieve this. Digital and data training programmes aimed at your management team ensure you have experts at the top who can share their knowledge and experience with the wider workforce. The new line manager should be confident and comfortable with digitisation and data handling, setting a standard for all employees.

Every job vacancy requires some degree of digital skills, whether in finance, HR, sales, construction, the NHS or the third sector. In the UK, there are currently over 35,000 data scientist jobs advertised on LinkedIn across a diverse range of industries. All business areas are looking to innovate, which means upping their tech capabilities and your leaders need to be able to keep up with this.

Being promoted to a more senior role early in their careers means managers may not have had the chance to pick up digital skills along the way. This makes it even more vital that specific training and development is available to advance and improve their digital and data literacy.

Supporting The New Line Manager has never been easier

Upskilling your New Line Manager should be a priority to ensure the future success of your leaders and wider teams. Supporting accidental managers in their roles requires specific and personalised training, focusing on ensuring they can confidently handle their day-to-day tasks and keep your workforce motivated, happy and on task. 

Corndel Advance offers a range of commercially funded training programmes to ensure you upskill and reskill your managers to keep up with the rapidly changing world of work. 

Our range of programmes covers leaders at all stages of their journey and provides organisations with tailored training to ensure their managers are primed to succeed. Our courses are designed to allow you to use strategic skills development to achieve organisational objectives, and inspire confidence and competence in your leaders. Our partnerships with Imperial College and the Chartered Management Institute ensure all learners achieve a recognised qualification they can utilise as their career develops and add value to their experience.

Corndel Advance can deliver leadership and management training up to Level 7 and data literacy and analysis (Levels 3 and 4).

Understanding and adapting to the emerging challenges for post-pandemic line managers should be a priority for all organisations to ensure continued success.