Beyond the bottom line: embracing a holistic view of success

In a world increasingly conscious of the broader impacts of business, defining success solely by financial metrics feels archaic. The growing emphasis on sustainability, social responsibility, and workplace well-being reflects a shift towards a more holistic view of what it means to be a successful business. This new paradigm encourages companies to evaluate their performance not just by profit margins but by their impact on the world and the well-being of their people. This blog post explores the importance of incorporating broader metrics of success into business strategies and the benefits of doing so.

The triple bottom line: people, planet, profit

The triple bottom line (tbl) concept has gained traction as a framework for measuring business success in terms of social, environmental, and financial outcomes. A study by nielsen found that 66% of consumers are willing to pay more for sustainable brands, indicating that environmental stewardship can directly contribute to a company’s financial success. Similarly, businesses that prioritize their social impact often see benefits in terms of brand loyalty and employee satisfaction, contributing to long-term profitability.

Social impact: measuring what matters

Social impact metrics focus on a company’s contribution to society, such as job creation, community engagement, and promoting diversity and inclusion. For instance, salesforce’s annual stakeholder impact report showcases how integrating social goals into business strategies can enhance a company’s reputation and strengthen its customer base. Companies can measure social impact through various indicators, including community investment, diversity metrics, and social mobility programs, to name a few.

Employee satisfaction: the heart of business success

Employee satisfaction is increasingly recognized as a key driver of business success. Companies with high employee satisfaction often see lower turnover rates, higher productivity, and better financial performance. Gallup’s state of the global workplace report highlights that businesses in the top quartile of employee engagement are 21% more profitable than those in the bottom quartile. Metrics for gauging employee satisfaction include engagement scores, turnover rates, and feedback from employee satisfaction surveys.

Environmental stewardship: a commitment to the future

Environmental metrics gauge a company’s impact on the planet, including carbon footprint, waste management, and sustainable sourcing practices. The global reporting initiative (gri) provides standards for reporting on environmental sustainability, helping businesses to measure and communicate their environmental performance. Implementing sustainable practices not only mitigates environmental harm but can also lead to cost savings and innovation, enhancing long-term competitiveness.

Financial performance: part of a bigger picture

While financial metrics remain important, they tell only part of the story. A business that excels financially but fails in terms of social responsibility, environmental stewardship, or employee satisfaction is missing opportunities for sustainable growth. Integrating broader metrics of success into business models encourages innovation and resilience, positioning companies to thrive in an evolving marketplace.


The definition of business success is evolving. By broadening their metrics beyond financial performance to include social impact, employee satisfaction, and environmental stewardship, companies can build a more sustainable, resilient, and profitable future. This holistic approach to success not only benefits the businesses themselves but also contributes to a more equitable and sustainable world. In the journey towards redefining success, businesses have the opportunity to lead with purpose, transforming challenges into opportunities for growth and innovation.