As a business owner, you’re likely familiar with the concept of KPIs: Key Performance Indicators. They’re metrics that give you an indication of whether you’re tracking towards important goals in your business: revenue, opportunities in the pipeline, # of clients, average client size, leads, and other industry “standard” numbers.
Unfortunately, tracking only the “typical” KPIs can leave leaders of purpose-driven businesses a little…flat. As it should! These numbers tell only part of the story for any business, but especially for businesses who want to make a positive impact on the world.
As a complement to KPIs, I recommend businesses also track PPIs: Purpose Performance Indicators. These are metrics that tell you whether you’re on track to make the kind of positive impact you want to make. KPIs typically tell us whether we’re on track for “Profit,” so we’re going to create PPIs using the other three categories of the “quadruple bottom line”:
Certainly, you’ll have some sub-categories. Under people, for instance, you’ll look at the impact you’re making on employees, customers/clients, vendors, and your community.
Once you have your categories and subcategories, ask, “What positive impact are we committed to making in this area, and how can we measure it?”
Here’s some ideas to get you started:
- % reduction in energy usage
- % reduction in greenhouse gas emissions
- % reduction in water usage
- % of energy used from renewable sources
- $ given to environmental charitable organizations
- Recycling rate
- % of employees paid a livable wage
- % of employees participating in a retirement plan
- % of employees with company equity
- % of spending with vendors who are local or owned by an individual from a historically marginalized group
- Client satisfaction scores
- # of volunteer hours in the local community
Note: many of these would also fit into the other two categories, but often businesses have specific impact outcomes that are important to them. I would place these in the “purpose” category.
- % of employees who are from groups who traditionally face barriers to employment (people who were formerly incarcerated, individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilities, etc)
- % of clients who have achieved personal goals
- # of charitable projects completed
- # of products donated (buy-one-give one model)
- # of lives changed through pro-bono work
A great way to find more ideas for your PPIs is to take the B Impact Assessment from the nonprofit B Lab. It’s free, industry-specific, and gives you an idea of not only how your business is performing in these areas today, but specific and concrete steps you can take to improve.
It’s easy to get caught up in the traditional KPIs and measures of “success.” But if you’re committed to doing good in the world, it’s important to also measure what matters through your Purpose Performance Indicators. I’d love to hear how you’re measuring the impact you make — let me know what your PPIs are!