Are workplace cliques good or bad for a company?

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Are workplace cliques good or bad for a company?

A CEO has outlined the good and bad points cliques at work can bring and how HR teams can manage their office groups.

Alan Price, CEO at BrightHR explains that “on paper, a clique is not necessarily a bad thing” but they can be a double-edged sword.

Mr Price explains how having a group of employees who work well together can be a boost to productivity, which is a huge advantage for a company during the UK’s productivity puzzle.

However, they can bring a problem with them if left unmanaged, Mr Price said:

The problem here is that employees within a clique are at risk of becoming too familiar, potentially reacting negatively if asked to work with others outside of it. Additionally, if several cliques are formed, it could lead to an ‘us vs them’ mentality that could prove detrimental to overall workplace morale.

Also by allowing the same individuals to keep working together, it may hinder their development. Mr Price warns that some employees may become too comfortable within their clique instead of thinking independently and coming up with their own ideas.

Another problem that a clique can bring is other employees feeling left out, and could even lead to workers leaving the company. Mr Price said:

Employees who are not part of the clique can quickly feel left out and unfairly treated, especially if the clique involves management. Eventually, staff in this position may become disillusioned in their role, something that can affect their performance and potentially lead to them seeking work elsewhere.

Cliques could also result in bullying, as deliberate exclusion is a form of bullying. Other forms of misconduct can also arise as a direct result of a clique, such as workplace gossiping or rumour spreading.

Mr Price concluded that where possible, companies should encourage staff to work with a broader group of people.

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2 Comments - Write a Comment

  1. No – workplace cliques are a very bad idea. I’ve worked in places that had several – nothing good ever came out of them. Friendships? Yes – Cliques? No.

  2. Clique is a name WE give the group based on our interpretation. In my 25 years experience of corporate culture, the clique themselves never refer to themselves as such… What, therefore, is the definition of a ‘clique’ rather than ‘group of friends or colleagues’? What does a clique do that a group of mutually supportive colleagues DON’T? Why does someone bestow the title of ‘clique’ on a group? And has anything been catastrophised or misinterpreted? As with the charge of ‘Bullying’, the answer CAN be found in the insecurities or misunderstandings of the ‘outsider’. (please don’t think I am saying this is universally the case I am not). Whatever, I think this is an excellent subject to debate – and one which probably has as many ‘right’ answers as there are those who have experience of this.

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