Brian Haug tries putting the real estate agents and support personnel at Long & Foster front and center.

“If you really want to appreciate your staff then you turn the pyramid upside down,” said Haug, who was named last year as senior vice president and regional manager for Long & Foster in Richmond.

“I work for everybody else here. I am at the bottom,” he said.

It starts with getting employees together to listen to their ideas.

“We want our agents to give us feedback,” Haug said. “We look to see what boulders can we move out of their way. If we have happy and content agents and staff, that will translate into happy customers and clients.”

Long & Foster holds appreciation luncheons and cocktail parties. It conducts a variety of contests and recognition programs, such as outstanding service awards.

But Haug, a 2002 graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University with a bachelor of science degree in mechanical engineering, sees a challenge in connecting all of the agents and support personnel at Long & Foster’s 15 Richmond-area offices.

“How do you share all of those ideas all together with everyone,” he said.

This year, Long & Foster has started rolling out a training program that highlights one new learning tool a month. Rather then getting everyone together for one meeting, the firm is offering the classes during the month at different times, different places, different teachers and different ways to take the class.

“The challenge is connecting and working together and to find out the many different ways our agents need to learn,” Haug said.

The January sessions tackled how the agents can customize their websites. February and March’s topic was on how to use the firm’s customer relationship management tool. April’s classes showed agents how to customize and create interesting presentations.

Each month, he said, the firm is tackling a different tool.

“Managers and staff from different parts of the company come working together on ... the best way to share the information, to share ideas and share best practices,” Haug said. “The biggest challenge is making sure that everything is positively shared among everyone.”

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