How To Handle Cliques at Work

What is a work clique? A work clique is a group of employees who have a strong bond and spend most of their time at work together and may socialize outside of work. These tight-knit groups of friends often exclude other people from joining their circle.

Why Workplace Cliques Feel Bad

How do work cliques form?

Employees usually form cliques at work when they discover a common interest, emotion, or other trait. Cliques can form between employees who:

Additionally, clique formation can result from a common experience. Employees who are unsure of their futures at the company might find comfort in being around others who share their concerns. When others understand and affirm your emotions, it can strengthen your relationship. When the majority of positive feedback is given to one group of employees, it could result in this, leaving other employees out. Finding others who experience rejection can be reassuring and validating. Similarly, the top performers may seek each other out exclusively.

What is a work clique?

A group of workers who spend the majority of their time together at work and occasionally socialize outside of it is known as a work clique. These close-knit friendship circles frequently forbid outsiders from joining them.

What are the signs of work cliques?

Here are some indicators that there are cliques at your place of business:

How do work cliques affect morale and productivity?

Workplace cliques can negatively impact productivity and company morale. Employees who experience exclusion or alienation may become unmotivated at work. Being excluded can be inconvenient and reduce productivity.

Further, members of a clique have limited perspectives. Spending time with the same individuals limits their exposure to different perspectives, fresh concepts, and collaborative efforts. This may limit innovation and creativity while also decreasing the effectiveness of the business. The most effective teams are varied, adaptable, and welcoming of a variety of personality types.

When there are cliques between management and staff, outsiders may start to lose interest in their work because they think that only those in the clique get good feedback, recognition, or promotions. Employee engagement and productivity may suffer if workers believe that their work’s quality is unimportant due to favoritism.

How to handle work cliques

To prevent office cliques from having a negative impact, use the following strategies:

1. Hold team-building activities

Create opportunities for various employees to work and socialize together. Choose various teams of employees to participate in activities, such as organizing monthly luncheon activities or creating a project for the community. This encourages interaction between coworkers and those outside their immediate circle and fosters camaraderie. Think about creating groups with individuals from various departments or with varying employment levels.

2. Model the behavior you want from employees

Make sure you don’t belong to a work clique. Diversify who you spend time with in the workplace. Think about going to lunch with various groups of people and asking various employees for their opinions on the projects you’re working on.

3. Meet with clique members

Meeting with a rumored clique to discuss how their actions are affecting other employees can be helpful. The group may not be aware that they are intimidating or excluding others. Clique members may change their behavior and make an effort to welcome others into their group by talking about these potential pitfalls. Avoid accusing the group of any wrongdoing. Rather, explain how other people might feel on the outside.

4. Form relationships with clique members

Try to get to know each clique member personally. It may be easier to approach them when they are not all together. Discover the shared interests of the group and suggest additional employees who might have those same interests. This can serve as a helpful reminder to the clique that there are other coworkers they can interact with.

5. Maintain relationships outside of work

Keep in touch with your friends outside of work if you have to deal with cliques at work. Spending time with others and establishing relationships can make you feel included, valued, and valued.

6. Review company values

Spend some time considering the company’s values, particularly those that speak to cooperation and unity. Post them around the workplace and think about launching a special initiative to explore these values through training, role-playing, and recognizing staff members who exhibit them.

7. Create opportunities for socializing

Plan social activities for employees regularly. Make them optional but think about personally inviting those who seem excluded Offer to accompany them to the events so you can meet people there.

8. Develop a mentorship program

Create a mentoring program that pairs new hires with a seasoned employee to aid in the integration of new employees. This mixing can encourage relationships across backgrounds and help dismantle exclusive groups. You could even put people from different departments together to promote cooperation and engagement across departments.

9. Enforce company policies

Apply the appropriate disciplinary measures outlined in your company’s handbook if cliques at work exclude certain groups of people or engage in unacceptable behavior, such as spreading rumors.


What are the different types of cliques in the workplace?

Cliques at work can be a means of self-preservation. Employees have a network of individuals who stand by them and validate their opinions. When people are feeling vulnerable, they offer the safety they need. Consider a group of individuals who are routinely disregarded for their work.

What is a company clique?

The cool kids, displeased employees, coworkers who are friends outside of work, company veterans, and cliques based on age, race, or culture are a few examples of workplace cliques.

Why do adults form cliques?

Cliques at work are associations of coworkers who frequently interact both inside and outside the workplace. They enjoy talking about their activities together and appear to have many inside jokes.

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