Key Purpose Indicators

How this business measures success

min read
Natalie Simmons
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If we don’t know, how can we grow? Companies have been tracking KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) for decades to asses and project their success. In our work, we’ve been exploring a new form of KPIs – what we call Key Purpose Indicators (TM) – based on the belief that purpose drives people, people build communities and communities change the world.

Purpose is no longer intangible; it has proven to be the key differentiator between organisations that not only succeed but thrive and those that stagnate or stumble. For the past decade, companies with a social conscience have outperformed their rivals by 120 percent year on year, according to Keohane, K. 2016, “The Case for Purpose Driven Brands.”

Key Purpose Indicators are directly aligned to a business' purpose and the goals it sets itself to achieve environmental, economic and social outcomes, increasingly known as SROI (social return on investment). Businesses, now more than ever, recognise that they have a responsibility to the communities in which they operate. Consumers are increasingly making purchasing choices based on a company’s attitude and commitment to being socially and environmentally responsible.

Key Purpose Indicators sit alongside financial KPIs and measure purpose engagement through four key organisational pillars:

  1. employee engagement
  2. customer engagement
  3. supply chain engagement
  4. key stakeholder engagement

The time is now to associate purpose not with trade-offs, but with competitive advantage and enduring business performance. Without a holistic approach to purpose, a company cannot truly reach its full potential and thrive. As Rose Marcario, CEO of Patagonia, has said: “Caring for our planet is not in conflict with running a successful business.”

At Barefoot Citizens, we believe that Key Purpose Indicators are an essential measurement alongside other business metrics to asses, project and ensure future success. It is predicted that by 2025, millennials will make up 75% of the workforce and in turn a large proportion of the consumer base, and with over 60% considering a brand’s social reputation before purchasing or making employment decisions, purpose is no longer just a nice thing to have — it’s a critical component of business and must sit in the centre of business planning.

Key Purpose Indicators are not based on annual surveys; they are a continuous assessment tool tied to your overall business outcomes. They provide ongoing data insights and enable organisations to pull various levers to gain deeper insights into their purpose journey and effect change.

If you would like to talk about how you can implement Key Purpose Indicators into your business and transform your purpose journey, contact us at

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