Cultural vibes Featured

8:00pm EDT July 26, 2007

When Len Pagon talks about company culture, he is talking about more than the day-to-day atmosphere that exists at Brulant Inc., the online solutions firm of which he is president and CEO.

When Pagon talks about the Brulant culture, he is talking about what he calls the “Brulant DNA,” the set of basic characteristics and principles that identifies his company.

Pagon believes it is critical to communicate a company’s culture to every prospective employee, from the initial job inquiry onward. Not only does upfront communication of the culture give prospective hires an overview of the type of company you are running, he says it lets you know if the person sitting across the interview table will be a good match.

“Culture is kind of a funny thing,” Pagon says. “To some extent, it’s already here, and what we’re trying to do is make it more explicit by telling stories to bring it to life, giving people examples of what it means to work here.”

From the outset, Pagon says prospective employees learn that Brulant is a growth-oriented company, and if they want to work there, they need to be open to new ideas and new challenges, and they must possess a willingness to seize opportunities.

“We talk about how we’re going to give you new things and challenge you, especially if you are a fast learner,” Pagon says. “Growth also implies that we’re not going be perfect at everything, so there are going to be lots of opportunities to be assertive and take territory, so to speak. We’re looking for people to step up and be leaders and make things happen.”

Defining the culture and accurately identifying people who fit that culture is crucial for a company that is in the midst of rapid growth, such as Brulant, which Pagon says is hiring between five and 10 people per week.

“When you bring in lots of new people, you have to define the expectations, how do we work here, what are we about,” he says. “As we get larger, that is an increasing human resource challenge. When we were at 100 people, everyone could get access to me. Now that we are at 300 people, that’s a whole different challenge.”

HOW TO REACH: Brulant Inc., www.brulant.com