Relationships guru Esther Perel joins Culture Amp as advisor

- February 22, 2024 2 MIN READ
Esther Perel.
Culture Amp advisor Esther Perel. Photo: Zenith Richards
Psychotherapist and sex and relationships expert Esther Perel, who coined the term “erotic intelligence”, has joined Australian employee experience platform Culture Amp as an advisor.

Perel, who in recent years turned her attention to workplace relationships with a podcast called How’s Work, to help cofounders and others work navigate the challenges thrown up in the office, is Culture Amp’s first external advisor.

Culture Amp cofounder and CEO Didier Elzinga said she had been actively involved with the business since 2019, as a keynote speaker and guest on the Culture First podcast.

“We are delighted to work at an even deeper level with Esther to both bring innovation to our product, and to bring more of her wisdom to leaders around the world driving cultures of high performance,” he said.

Elzinga added that relational intelligence, previously considered a “soft skill” at work, is now seen as core to leadership, retention, engagement, profitability and overall business success.

“We work hand in hand with thousands of leaders grappling with how to build high performance cultures that deliver impact – and what we find time and time again is that the core issues to be navigated are the relationships we have with each other in the workplace,” he said.

“Work is never just about work. It never was. Esther brings such incisive insight and wisdom to these conversations that leaders the world over are turning to her to help them navigate.

Perel said Culture Amp mission of creating a better world of work has never been more critical.

“Most people are not living in the same town they grew up in the way their parents did. The same goes for work,” she said.

“If their grandparents lived and died in the same town and held the same job until they retired, today’s employees move homes and jobs with unparalleled frequency. In the modern world, many of us have severed ties to the geographies, communities, and institutions that formally gave us a sense of identity and belonging.

“As a consequence, we now bring unprecedented expectations to work. But that also comes with a major opportunity to make work something special. We used to go to work to ‘make a living.’ Now we go to work to ‘make meaning’.”

The Belgian-American couples therapist’s thesis on workplace connections builds on her previous work on marital relationships.

Perel has spent the last two decades exploring intimacy and connection in two books. Her first, Mating in Captivity: Unlocking Erotic Intelligence, published in 2006, looks at the dichotomy between domesticity and sexual desire as a European observing American sexuality. Her more recent focus has been adultery, resulting in The State of Affairs: Rethinking Infidelity, observing that illicit relationships are “a window, like no other, into the crevices of the human heart”.

And that has implications for the office too, with surveys of workplace romances suggesting that between 25% and 65% of employees have engaged in one. The Venn diagram of work and play relationships appears to often overlap.

Elzinga said in the months ahead, Culture Amp give Perel access to their people scientists and database of more than 1.3 billion data points to help inform her work.

Her latest project is a US tour, An Evening With Esther Perel. If you’re not in the ‘hood, you can get her latest thoughts on her blog here.

Perel will use that information to provide insights and experiences for Culture Amp’s customers and audiences.

You can also Didier Elzinga and Esther Perel in conversation at Culture First Virtual in May.