Office Cliques at Work: A Symptom of a Failed Diversity & Inclusion Strategy

No matter how many job changes you’ve experienced in your lifetime, everyone is the same on their first day of work – eager to make a good first impression and anxious about being the ‘newbie’ who won’t fit in.

A sense of belonging can be cultivated through emotional connections, often which comes from colleagues you feel most safe and comfortable with. It’s true that we tend to gravitate towards those who are similar to ourselves. And while there is nothing wrong about having a few best buddies in the office to grab a beer with after work or play video games with, ask yourself this – are these ‘exclusive’ groups, intentionally or not, making others feel alienated or left out?

Understanding the ‘Inclusion’ in Diversity & Inclusion

Picture high school all over again – you get the cheerleaders, the athletes, the geeks, the overachievers. The dangers about cliques, which you may have already noticed, is that they are established based on conventional stereotypes rooted in assumptions and prejudice. Although many companies these days have made it their new mission to engage in diversity and inclusion, 43% of employees say cliques are still present at their office – which in relation, could be a symptom of a failed inclusion strategy. Think about it, hiring a diverse team of individuals won’t matter as much when everyone ends up clumping together with their kinds alike. According to Harvard Business Review,

“Most business leaders understand the diversity part of diversity and inclusion. They get that having a diverse workforce is important to customers and critical to succeeding in a global market. But it’s the inclusion part that eludes them — creating an environment where people can be who they are, that values their unique talents and perspectives, and makes them want to stay.”

Ways to Cure the Epidemic

Cliques are known for encouraging gossiping, discrimination, bullying – but that doesn’t mean they’re incurable. To eliminate cliquey vibes at work, try the following:

  • Design an open office by tearing down physical walls and cubicles
  • Minimize workplace hierarchy by allowing everyone to have a voice in certain matters
  • Offer free lunch in the office so people can get together and bond
  • Organize regular team-building activities to strengthen relationships between colleagues

These ideas are very much at the core of Prevue’s culture. Here, we emphasize individuality as much as we value collaboration, encouraging a harmonious environment where people can be who they are while sharing ideas with each other. As we’ve mentioned over and over again, hiring the best talents is merely the first step. Getting them to stay is the tricky part.