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Leading expert on employee engagement.


Dr James Adonis is one of Australia’s most well-known employee engagement and team leadership educators.

Current work

James’s academic history is supported by rich practical experience as a leader in a variety of industries, such as financial services and contact centres, at which his most noteworthy achievements were in relation to his employees’ engagement, performance and retention. Still today, he is employed full-time in a leadership capacity with responsibility for more than 100 staff, thereby ensuring he’s sharing with his audiences what he, too, is actively putting into practice.

James is frequently featured in the media as a thought leader on all matters related to workplace relations. This is most obvious in his weekly business column with the Fairfax group of online news publications such as The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age. In combination with his books and fortnightly newsletter, James’s insights are read by over 100,000 people every month.

For more than a decade, he has worked with hundreds of organisations helping them successfully lead change, engage staff, and improve performance. A truly international speaker and consultant, he has worked with leaders in Australia, New Zealand, India, Dubai, Thailand, Malaysia, Germany, and Belgium, with an impressive list of clients including McDonald’s, American Express, Coca-Cola, Qantas, Optus, Ernst & Young, Gucci, Toyota and many government departments.

Previous experience

Education: His qualifications include a PhD that researched the ways in which leaders can engage employees during organisational crises and significant change. His previous qualifications spanned a diverse range of disciplines including business leadership, marketing management, and political science.

Talking Points

Employee Engagement: How to create an engaged and switched-on team

The greatest driver of a team's success is their level of engagement. Engaged employees are less likely to resign, unlikely to call in sick when they're not really sick, consistently do more than what's required, and have far greater levels of quality and productivity.

Learning outcomes:
The characteristics of the world's most engaging managers
The secret to getting employees to actually want to do more than what's required
How to build meaningful relationships with any type of employee

Staff Turnover: How to develop loyal, dedicated and committed employees

Every resignation costs approximately double an employee's annual salary. High levels of employee turnover destabilise your business, strengthen your competitors, and make it harder to achieve organisational objectives. And the number one reason why employees resign? Their direct manager.

Learning outcomes:
The main causes of employee turnover and how to overcome them
How to get employees to love their jobs and adore their company
How to encourage employees to stay - even when the competition is paying more

Motivation: How to motivate employees without spending a cent

Motivation determines whether employees smile or frown, perform or perish, love you or hate you. Employees' productivity and attitude are influenced by how well managers motivate, and at a time when budgets are squeezed, it's more important than ever to motivate employees with little or no money.

Learning outcomes:
The intrinsic motivators which make the biggest difference to levels of enthusiasm
The actions managers unconsciously make that seriously damage staff motivation
Specific language managers can use to turn around lazy and disinterested employees

Employee Enragement: Why people hate working for you

In a ground breaking study of 2,400 people, James Adonis has investigated what causes employees to be angry, frustrated, and upset at work, and in this refreshingly real and brutally honest session, he will share his discoveries and revelations.

Learning outcomes:
The major areas of staff disengagement
What managers should not do rather than what they should do
Practical tips on how to drive down enragement and ramp up engagement

Managing Change: How to get staff to embrace change rather than resist it</b>

Workplace change is happening faster and more intensely than at any point in history. Organisations are traditionally very good at implementing change, but not so good at getting employees to be on side. And if employees don't embrace a proposed change, there's a far greater chance it'll fail.

Learning outcomes:
The one core reason why employees resist change and how to overcome it
The key steps in turning cynical employees into advocates of change
The process to follow when employees stubbornly oppose a new change

Teamwork: How to build a strong, supportive, and spectacular team

When teamwork is at its best, it's a level of synergy that makes a manager's job easy. But when it's dysfunctional, it causes conflict, chaos, and a desperate cry for help. Great teamwork rocks; bad teamwork sucks. It sucks the life, energy, and fun out of every environment.

Learning outcomes:
The major reasons why teams crumble, clash, and disintegrate
The core success factors of high-performing teams
How to get team members to develop trusting relationships with each other

Gen Y: How to get the best out of Generation Y

They're the least understood generation but with an undeniably huge amount of potential to contribute to any company. The key is to figure out how to unlock the value they can add to your business. Instead of being a hassle to manage, Gen Ys have the ability to be your stars.

Learning outcomes:
Understanding Generation Y - why they behave, think, and feel the way they do
The specific elements that Gen Y employees need to be loyal and engaged
The communication and motivation methods which work best with Gen Y employees


  • Mastering Leadership

Politics & Advocacy

  • Leadership
  • Intergenerational Leadership
Wow, what an exceptional motivator, presenter and overall such a professional gentleman. Our audience members were mesmerised with his enthusiasm; he was entertaining, inspiring and captured our attention from start to finish. The techniques he taught us were great as they could be used both at work and in our personal lives. We all left on a high and really could have listened to him for hours. I highly recommend James to the world and wish we could have more people like him in our society - especially with his positive outlook/attitude of life. Australian Institute of Office Professionals
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