7 Reasons Why Cliques at Work Are Bad for the Company

Discover why cliques at work are bad and what you can do about them


Every company wants its employees to get along. But when groups of employees form cliques, this can be detrimental to employee morale and lead to workplace bullying. What’s more, cliques can make those on the outside feel like they are less important or worthy than those in the clique. And, that’s just bad for business. Here are the top seven reasons why cliques are bad for your company.

Cliques usually don’t socialize outside of their group.

Instead, they do everything together including eating lunch together, sitting together in meetings, and hanging out together after work. Sometimes these groups become so tight that they even spend vacations together.

This excessive togetherness is bad for companies because those on the outside become distracted and dissatisfied with the work environment. They may even expend more energy trying to cope with the clique than they do on their actual job. What’s more, cliques can become more about the group than they are about the company and this impacts the company’s bottom line.

Cliques thrive when no one addresses their behavior. As a result, it’s important to address issues with cliques as soon as they occur. When you see something inappropriate, be sure to address it right away. But try not to overreact. While it is important that there be unity among all workers, you want to be careful not to punish employees for having close friends at work.

Be sure you know the difference between a clique and a group of friends before you step in and break them up.

Cliques often ostracize or exclude other employees. One way to prevent employees from ostracizing others is to assign them to group projects instead of allowing them to choose their own groups.

When you allow employees to pick their own groups, you are opening the door to workplace bullying. But when you select the group, you are ensuring that they include those outside their circle of friends. Pre-selected groups also give employees an opportunity to learn how to work with different types of people.

Another way that workplace cliques can affect employee morale is by making a big deal out of the things they do together. For instance, cliques often laugh and share inside stories and jokes that other employees do not get. This creates an unbalanced workforce because some employees are left feeling like outsiders instead of part of the team.

Cliques often have several types of bullies in them. Be sure you are able to recognize the six most common types of workplace bullies. Also, be sure you know what constitutes workplace bullying. These two elements will help you identify workplace bullying issues within your company and help you eliminate cliques.

Cliques often contain gossip, backstabbing and rumor-spreading.

Be sure you are educating your employees on workplace bullying. They should be able to identify the negative repercussions of workplace bullying. They also should be able to identify the perils of gossip and rumor-spreading in the workplace.

Cliques often resort to cyberbullying others. Stress to your employees the importance of thinking before posting something online. The group mentality of a clique often leads employees to take embarrassing photos and videos of other employees and post them on social media. And photos and videos are not limited to those outside the group. They may even expose members of the clique on social media. Sometimes their actions even border on workplace cyberbullying.

Be sure you are clear about your company’s policies regarding social media use. It’s also a good idea to discuss the key components of digital etiquette with your employees. Be sure they know that these rules apply both in the office and outside of work.

Cliques often require conformity to be part of the group. Being alike can make employees feel safe. But it also hinders productivity. People feel discouraged from thinking outside the box or suggesting new ideas because they don’t want to rock the boat. Stress to your employees that you are looking for fresh and new ideas and that you don’t want cookie cutter approaches to problems. Try to get them to see that you don’t want them to be like everyone else at work. Be sure they know that you value creativity and authenticity from your employees.

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