Leadership skills examples (using employee engagement data) during COVID

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Today we’re showing leadership skills examples in times of COVID:

Leadership Skills Examples:

“People need to be encouraged to speak out.

Even if what they say is not positive”

You might imagine that employees would react negatively if you tell them they have to furlough and lose income due to COVID.

Meet an interesting manufacturing site.

They’re sailing through Covid with an employee engagement level of 83%.

Production Manager Martin Minaric at METZO manufacturing Covid-19 is forcing a lot of leaders to apply unpopular measures like furloughs. And salary cuts.

Generally speaking, employee morale has dropped in the 60 countries where our devices to get daily feedback are deployed.

A few companies stand out in a positive way.

Most of them are due to good leadership skills.

Some have implemented corporate philanthropy initiatives that have saved employee morale from plummeting.

Other leaders come up with fun ways to engage remote employees.

Obviously, working remotely is not an option for production workers.

Many have seen their companies being temporarily closed. Or opting for a reduced workforce to stay afloat with Covid-19 health and safety measures.

Leadership Skills Examples in Action

Metzo has been using baseline measurements in Germany and Slovakia since early 2017.

As they measure employee engagement daily, and in the exact same way every day, it’s easy to see the change in their data.

Leadership skills during Covid, using employee engagement data

Leadership skills examples visualized with data

We reached out to Martin Minaric, Production Manager at Metzo in Slovakia.

We were curious to hear more about how they develop leadership skills.

And maintain employee engagement high.

METZO provides seating solutions for safe and pleasant journeys on planes and trains. As part of The Vita Group, METZO offers a large portfolio of PUR foam products.

Developing more dealers: Leading by Example

1. When you started measuring back in 2017, the Eastern European mentality was mentioned. People are shy to come forward, they don’t speak up or talk about how they feel. Have you seen a change over the years?

Yes, there has been an improvement already there but it is still a long journey. People need to be encouraged to speak out even if what they want to say is not positive.

And this is very difficult as this is a cultural and mental change.

We encourage our employees daily to let us know even if the day is not good.

We tell them that we appreciate the information on how they are doing.

And we remind them of the importance of facing the real facts and not only the positive information.



Measure employee engagement in manufacturing

Employees press green or red at the end of the shift, to give feedback on their workdays. A nice leadership example of being transparent.

2. What have you learned since you started?

I was not completely involved from the beginning. But it started as one of my favorite sayings. “Every change is hard at the beginning, messy in the middle and stunning at the end.“

You need to do a lot of explaining. You constantly need to give never-ending support to get it right when you’re dealing with change.

One learning is that to change the company culture is much more difficult than you think.

And trust is very fragile so you have to be very cautious about the way you communicate.

You also have to be willing to face the brutal facts: People might not feel as good as you would like, expect or assume.

Leadership skills examples

3. When do you speak about the employee mood, or “what makes us press green and red at METZO”?

We have a daily operational meeting.

There we discuss the employee mood results from the last day and try to see if we understand the situation.

On a monthly basis, we have a Mood KPI meeting.

There we discuss:

– The progress during the last months
– What could be done
– What we need to do about improving the morale, and make a plan

Leadership skills, engaging plant workers

Leadership Activities

As an example, in the past, there was a situation of Friday absenteeism. The situation is currently better.

What we have learned is that you have to care about it daily and discuss it daily. Otherwise, people do not see the point why they should let you know how their day was if it seems that no one cares.

We also show daily and weekly results on a whiteboard. The board presents the heart of operational KPIs.

Leadership Skills Examples

Developing leadership skills, example of open questions

4. Have you seen a COVID impact in your data?

The Covid-19 impact is there, as people are afraid about their future.

However, when the Celpax and the continuous improvement approach is properly integrated with people, it’s a good indicator. Both of how you are doing as leaders, and also as a business.

As an example, we have decided to move ahead and furlough everyone in the same way. This way everyone is financially impacted a bit. But no one loses their job.

After the discussion with our employees, we had a very green day. This affirmed us that the approach we took was the correct one from everyone’s perspective.

5. What is your take on implementing ideas that employees suggest?

We take every suggestion in and evaluate it. If it is reasonable for us to do it, we execute.

If it isn’t possible, I see it as very important to explain the why not to the team and still, be thankful for the fact that people share ideas.

It’s important to demonstrate that you as a leader are open to feedback.

6. You organize learning opportunities and fun activities like Ice Cream Day, Movie night and mutual breakfasts. How did you decide on what activities to do?

We make the decision mutually. Management and workers work together, to come up with the activities.

On some occasions, the leadership team came up with an idea. The feedback we got from the workers was that something else made more sense for them. So we changed it.

It makes sense as we are doing all of this for the team, for them!

7. Have you seen an improvement in staff turnover since you started in 2017? Productivity?

Yes, our fluctuation went down. When we interview now, we see an increased amount of interviewees.

And our productivity improved dramatically as well.

We also made some changes in production and stopped the night shift a while back.

As with every change, there are always some people that won’t like the idea. Generally, it was perceived very positively.

From a market and recruitment perspective, it gives us a competitive advantage. This is because the majority of candidates on the market want to avoid working night shifts.

8. Leadership skills: You coach your middle managers to make them feel more comfortable when talking with their teams right?

Yes, it is an ongoing process that won’t end.

We have even attended a course for leadership and management.

I am also trying to coach and mentor my team daily. I encourage them to coach and mentor their people too.

Basically, I believe that you create a company culture top to bottom. So we have to be an example of the culture we want to create.



Leadership development in a blue collar environment

Leadership development

9. Your employee morale KPI’s are constantly the highest within your group, congrats! Your leadership skills seem to do the trick.

Yes, the feedback is definitely positive. I appreciate the credit, however, I would like to forward the compliment to the team.

As what we do here on a daily basis is really everyone’s contribution.

Thank you Martin for sharing some leadership skills examples from your team!

And what does the data say?

From a Celpax point of view, we would like to highlight how remarkable the development of the Metzo Slovakia results are.

  • Firstly, getting 83% green at a manufacturing facility is a great result.
  • Getting 83% green at a manufacturing facility during COVID is a fantastic result.
  • Getting 83% while having implemented temporary layoffs, pay cuts for EVERY employee, battling with health and safety concerns, wearing protective gear with masks, etc..

Well, let’s just say that we are taking our hats off to Metzo Slovakia’s leadership abilities.

It certainly is nice to see how positive leadership skills spread.

Even during COVID!


Smiley feedback terminal Celpax


Rebecca Lundin, CelpaxHej! I’m Rebecca, co-founder at Celpax. We manufacture simple tech tools to improve workplaces. And build a better society while at it. Let’s talk more leadership skills examples on Linkedin? 

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