When IT consulting firm Pariveda Solutions started business, its founders knew exactly what they wanted to accomplish: they wanted to create a firm that would last for a hundred years. Just as importantly, they set out to build a business that deserved to endure for a century and beyond, one predicated on integrity, servant leadership, and excellence. This scope of their ambition is reflected in their name: Pariveda is transliterated Sanskrit for “reaching toward complete knowledge.”

Already, Pariveda was a business with a difference. In the process of living out these ideals, that difference became the engine that drove their powerful brand differentiation. More specifically, they put an uncommon focus on their employees.

Employee-Driven Excellence

Now, many firms talk up their teams. One of the most common mistakes businesses make in differentiation is relying on tired lines like “We have the best people,” to the point that it has become a cliché. But that doesn’t mean emphasizing your team is inherently ineffective, and Pariveda shows why.

From the beginning, the employee-owned Pariveda took steps to create a culture of success that would drive the firm’s relevance to clients — and in turn, drive growth. These steps were particularly effective because they blended two powerful differentiation strategies:

1) Have one or more individuals who are high visibility experts in their fields

Pariveda doesn’t stop at hiring the brightest young experts in the IT industry — they help their team develop their expertise and shape their careers. With formal professional growth plans including a detailed skill-by-role matrix, Pariveda employees know the firm is as committed to their growth as they are to the growth of the firm. They aren’t just given a roadmap, either. The firm’s dedication to employee mentoring and training helps their team continuously grow and refine their talents with a reliable system of support.

2) All of your staff shares a specific characteristic or credential

Pariveda’s emphasis on education and mentoring empowers the firm to cultivate another quality that sets it apart: consistent expertise. The firm’s ongoing training covers a wide range of topics for all staff — not just on technical issues, but also business development practices. Each Pariveda employee has a specific networking plan and makes weekly reports on their activities, giving the team a uniform orientation to business development. Its referral network now drives 95% of the firm’s business.  

This approach has paid off with rapid growth and recognition from major industry publications like Consulting Magazine. It won’t come as a surprise that they take particular pride in their “Best Places to Work” awards from the Dallas Business Journal and Dallas Morning News.

The problem with so many firms claiming to have “the best people” isn’t that they’re talking about their people. It’s that the claim is too vague, usually failing to meet the basic criteria for an effective differentiator — specificity, supportability, and relevance. Pariveda points the way forward for firms with truly outstanding teams and cultures: by making their expert employees the heart of their business, Pariveda shaped themselves into a firm that could endure and grow.

For tips on differentiating your firm, download our Differentiation Guide for Professional Services.

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Elizabeth Harr