A new report analyses the impact of COVID-19 on managers including manager burnout and how new priorities have emerged in light of the pandemic. 

New research by Glint and LinkedIn Learning explores how managers have coped in light of the pandemic and what areas should be focussed on to inspire their teams.

In particular, the report outlines four main priorities for managers to focus on in the new world of work.

The first was well-being with over nine in 10 employees (92 per cent) stating it is “very” or “extremely” important for them to have work conditions that keep them safe and healthy.

However, with the rise of manager burnout throughout the pandemic, this is an area which organisations also have a duty to focus on.

The second is cultivating a sense of belonging for the workforce. This also ranked highly in terms of employee priority – with 94 per cent saying this is an important part of a manager’s role. In addition, this has positive effects for staff with employees who felt a sense of belonging in 2020 being 5.2 times more likely to be engaged.

The next priority for managers is to support remote and hybrid work teams. A particularly challenging task will be for managers to adopt the tools and knowledge to keep teams connected, communicating and collaborating with or without sharing physical space.

Finally, the last priority for managers was based around fostering learning and growth. This, the report states, will help staff to be more adaptable and engaged in the long-term. Employees who see good opportunities to grow and learn are 2.9 times more likely to be engaged.

In order to empower managers to succeed within their role, it is important for organisations to understand the new challenges that come with this position in light of COVID-19. In particular, manager burnout was on the rise during the pandemic – seeing an increase of 78 per cent by the final quarter of the year in comparison to Q1 of 2020. This shows organisations must do more to pay attention to the wellbeing of all staff.

Furthermore, the report suggests that managers should be encouraged to add people-centric thinking to their strategy. Acknowledging the importance of staff wellbeing and engagement allows employees to feel appreciated and looked after by their manager and organisation.

Employees who recommend their manager are 2.3 times more likely to be engaged, 2 times more likely to stay at the organisation and 2.3 times more likely to have clarity about their company’s strategy.

The introduction to the report reiterates the central role managers play in their company’s success:

To truly help people succeed, organisations need to understand employees in the context of their full lives. The only way to do that (at scale) is through managers who are present, engaged, and equipped to help each team member do their best work.
More than anything, the vast disruption of the pandemic has proven a positive catalyst for an important idea:
Organisations succeed when their people succeed.

When organisations are forced to quickly adapt, it’s people who apply energy and creativity to blaze the new trail. And the most critical role for helping every person achieve their best work is clear — their manager.

Inspirational managers can think well beyond their to-do lists. They support the learning and growth necessary for people and organisations to succeed. They breathe life into their organisation’s culture. They make transformation possible and real.

The managers of tomorrow will look different from those of yesterday.

*This research was obtained from LinkedIn Learning and Glint’s ‘The State of the Manager 2021′ report. The insights of this report were derived from multiple sources, including a sample of 15 million data points collected through the Glint People Success Platform
over the course of 2020, and data collected through several surveys of LinkedIn members between September and December 2020.





Monica Sharma is an English Literature graduate from the University of Warwick. As Editor for HRreview, her particular interests in HR include issues concerning diversity, employment law and wellbeing in the workplace. Alongside this, she has written for student publications in both England and Canada. Monica has also presented her academic work concerning the relationship between legal systems, sexual harassment and racism at a university conference at the University of Western Ontario, Canada.