The large majority of the executive search assignments we are retained to deliver at Collingwood are to find "A players" for our clients all over the world.

Knowing how hard it is to find them, it is great to read an article full of advice on how to protect and keep them!

Also being a business owner who has had a mix of A, B and C players in my team, I know the negative impact the latter can have on the gems I have had the privilege to employ and work with. Not dealing with them, their under performance and toxic behaviours is not an option and my learnings have come at a cost!

I have also seen a few of my clients go through a process of "top grading", focusing on raising everyone to the standard of an A player and it is an enduring, painful and expensive one.

Here are 5 key actions you should take to protect and nurture your A players;

1. Figure out why you’re not taking action. A clarifying question to ask yourself is whether this is how you want your best people to be spending their time.

2. Make time for your A-players. Meet regularly to keep up to date on the teamwork front. What’s working and what’s not? Take their input seriously, listen carefully and don’t shoot the messenger.

3. Appreciate their commitment and the work they do and be sure they don’t feel taken for granted.

4. Have a conversation about their goals and what’s important to them in terms of growth -- then help them to achieve and grow.

5. Give them the support they need: technology, people and access to resources. Sometimes it means giving them the autonomy they need.

Above all, don't have your time sucked in managing employees who will never make it. Make a quick decision and deal with their exit.

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