Squeaky Wheels Get the Grease

 -  9/4/10

Radio Flyer retooled its employee feedback program to identify disengaged employees, and get them back on the wagon.

Radio Flyer retooled its employee feedback program to identify disengaged employees, and get them back on the wagon.

Radio Flyer’s trademark little red wagon is an iconic image in American culture, ubiquitous in many Americans’ childhoods. The company’s story is also typically American. Born in a small town outside of Venice, Italy, Radio Flyer’s founder, Antonio Pasin, dreamed of coming to America and starting a new life. At age 16, he convinced his family to sell their mule to allow him the opportunity to voyage to America, where he settled in Chicago in 1917. Pasin started building toy wagons, initially out of wood, but eventually from metal, introducing the Radio Flyer in 1930. Throughout the second half of the 20th century, Radio Flyer wagons became increasingly popular toys that are still widely available today.

The company sees this personal connection with the public as one of its core values, and as such, it views maintaining customer service via measurement and management of workforce morale as important. So, in 2007, the company began looking closely at its employee feedback process to see how to best design this process and determine where there was room for improvement.

Radio Flyer initiated a 360 feedback program, beginning with its CEO, Robert Pasin, known as the chief wagon officer. As it moved 360 feedback down through its entire workforce, Radio Flyer was unsure whether its employees — known internally as Flyers — were sharing their true, honest opinions about the company since it hadn’t offered a way for employees to provide anonymous feedback. The leadership team, directed by Pasin, decided it needed to create a medium for Flyers to share their feedback in confidence.

Beyond the company’s desire for Flyers to share their honest feedback, Flyers themselves sought feedback and input from leadership to facilitate their own growth and continuous improvements. They expressed a desire to become more involved in their engagement and ultimately their own career development. The leadership team wanted to create a means for Flyers to become aware of their own engagement levels and take steps to improve.

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