Futura Industries is an international company operating in the sphere of aluminium extruding, finishing, fabrication, machining and design (Gumbus & Johnson, 2003). The company operates in different markets, and is positioned in a high-end niche in the majority of these markets. Futura Industries has effective internal processes and focuses on quality. However, according to the opinion of Susan Johnson, the President of Futura Industries, the distinctive competence of the company is created by the employees (Gumbus & Johnson, 2003). Ms. Johnson stated that the development of Futura Industries first of all relies upon the development of its employees.
The focus on recruiting and retaining talents belongs to one of competitive advantages of Futura Industries. The whole culture of Futura Industries was built with the emphasis on the well-being and growth of employees; significant attention was paid to hiring people who are aligned with corporate culture, and creating a comfortable and enjoyable workplace for them (Gumbus & Johnson, 2003). Since employees and workplace culture constituted a competitive advantage of Futura Industries, it is reasonable that Susan Johnson emphasized the learning and growth perspective over other balanced scorecard perspectives, and paid utmost attention to such measures as employee performance, leadership, commitment, work climate and other employee-focused variables.
The goals set by Futura Industries in the dimension of innovation, learning and growth include continual improvement of the company’s competencies, recruitment of people aligned with the organizational values, and provision of an enjoyable, safe and challenging workplace (Gumbus & Johnson, 2003). The measures used to evaluate the progress in the sphere of innovation, learning and growth at Futura Industries include turnover measures (leadership and key turnover, yearly turnover and turnover in the whole company), measures of employee satisfaction (surveys of leadership and birthday reviews), and average levels of employee certification (Gumbus & Johnson, 2003).
Turnover and certification levels are evaluated using formal documentation of the organization. The main instruments used in Futura Industries for measuring employee satisfaction are surveys: the company uses annual employee surveys to determine what is important for the people and how to create best working environment for them, and leadership survey for determining how managers can be more effective in the workplace and how to improve communications. A powerful innovative solution of Futura Industries in the sphere of learning and growth is departmental Training Matrix which helps team leaders and employees determine whether key values and goals of Futura are being addressed. Training Matrix is also used to evaluate performance, calculate compensations and outline professional development for the employees. Such tool as Annual Performance and Personal Development review is also used to enhance employee development and learning.
The dimension of learning, innovation and growth is the part of balanced scorecard system which is most difficult to measure for the majority of companies. The variables and factors of this dimension indirectly influence other organizational variables, and are hard to quantify because of their “hidden” nature. On one hand, Futura Industries did a good job creating the surveys and studying employee vision for organizational improvement. The company developed an effective organizational culture and established mechanisms of promoting and enhancing this culture. However, it is likely that the metrics used by Futura Industries did not cover all aspects of the organizational learning and growth dimension.
According to Niven (n.d.), there are three key areas of the innovation, learning and growth perspective of the balanced scorecard framework: human capital, organizational capital and information capital. Team skills and knowledge, along with workplace environment, relate to the area of human capital. The values of employees, and the ability of the whole company to learn and evolve relates to the area of organizational capital (Kaplan & Norton, 2004). Information capital area includes the ability of the organization to use the right technology and turn information into knowledge (Kaplan & Norton, 2004). The balanced scorecard review of Futura Industries reflects neither metrics for measuring information capital, nor goals related to this area of innovation and growth. Therefore, although Futura Industries perfectly worked with two other areas of learning and growth dimension, the information capital dimension was not considered in detail by this organization.
Overall, the approach of Futura Industries is effective and allows to create unique culture and work environment within the organization. Since employees and workplace culture were positioned as key competitive advantage of Futura Industries, the focus on the innovation, learning and growth dimension is reasonable. Employee surveys and career development tools such as Training Matrix act as a great business improvement, and help Futura Industries attract and retain best talents. Futura Industries also paid a lot of attention to such aspect of learning and growth as organizational capital. Organizational learning, flexibility and viability have significantly improved due to the introduction of the balanced scorecard. At the same time, none of four BSC dimensions of Futura Industries contained measures related to information capital. Technology and the ability of organization to turn data into knowledge are crucial for organizational survival in the conditions of globalization and increasing competition, and therefore Futura Industries should also pay attention to this segment of the dimension of learning and growth, and align it with two other segments in order to avoid potential problems. Overall, the BSC implementation of Futura Industries was very effective and important for business improvement, but could be further improved by considering the sphere of information capital.