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Is there anything worse than a workplace clique that makes others feel unwelcome and excluded? According to the statistics, around 43% of Australian workers said there were cliques in their workplace. So, it's a very common issue, but what can be done about it? Here we look at the reasons behind these cliques and how you can stop them from forming. 

What Are Cliques In The Workplace & Why Do They Form?

A work clique is typically made up of staff who spend lots of time together and, as such, have a strong bond. They may even socialise away from work, with these close groups being formed - often excluding other employees. As online training on the subject shows, there are a number of reasons behind cliques forming, which include:

  • People often simply get on well
  • Staff feel safer when they feel part of a group
  • Mistrust of other employees
  • Distrust of management 

The reasons can be benign and troublesome, so they will not always have a negative impact. However, you have to be so careful that others who aren't in the clique don't get adversely impacted socially or in their duties.

How Do You Stop Cliques In The Workplace?

So, how do you use your leadership and interpersonal skills to ensure these cliques don't start to harm your workplace environment and culture? As you'll find out by reading on, there's much you can do to mitigate the issue of cliques at work. 

  • Look For The De Facto Leaders

To promote a positive work atmosphere and get everyone's buy-in when creating it, you need to identify the informal or de facto leaders within the group. We're talking about the respected individuals within your employees who've perhaps not yet focused enough on their personal development plan to make the jump into management. 

Approach these guys (or ladies) asking for help in making the workplace more inclusive, and you might find yourself with some valuable allies. 

  • Communicate the Message Of Inclusivity Clearly 

As the boss, part of your remit is setting expectations for those who work for you. As such, you must clearly communicate what's expected from everyone company-wide in terms of inclusivity. This ethos should also hold a prominent place in your company values, as there's no ambiguity. 

Whether this message is given verbally at a team meeting or passed on as part of praise given out to those practising inclusivity, you should leave everyone fully understanding what best behaviour looks like.

  • Encourage Mingling At Team Events 

One way to break up cliques is to encourage everyone to mingle, be it at work, at a work outing, or as part of corporate team-building activities. Breaking people up out of their usual groups forces people to speak to each more and perhaps even make new bonds that wouldn't have otherwise occurred. 

However, you have to be firm on the purpose of these activities so as to prevent people from naturally falling into their usual groups. People like to sit with their friends, so if you're not clear about this, don't be surprised if everyone ends up in their usual cliques as a result.

  • Provide Education On The Harm Cliques Can Cause

Sometimes, people fall into cliques without really knowing it, meaning that they might need to be educated on avoiding being too exclusionary. Whether you want to provide this education through workshops or short courses online is up to you, so long as it's offered.

You might be surprised about the impact this kind of education can have on team cohesion, mainly if it's something that's regularly reiterated. 

OCA Online Training - Your Key To Better Leadership 

Being a good leader can be easy or challenging, depending on your approach, but with video-based CPD-accredited OCA short courses online to help you, things get a lot easier. That's because courses like our Leadership Skills Certificate offer an easily-digestible way to learn professional skills. They also allow you to learn at your own pace.

Offering a next-level learning experience that transcends traditional text-based training, what we provide is considered by our students to be the best online courses Australia can provide. If you need more convincing, look at our Student Study Demo, which clearly illustrates what sets us apart from our competition.

If you'd like to know more about us and how we do things or check out our full course library (which covers more than 20 different professional sectors), visit us today at There you'll also see details of our flexible payment options that make our courses even more accessible to more Australians.

If you'd prefer to get in touch with us about your learning needs, simply call us at 1300 611 404 or email, and we'll get back to you as soon as we can. 

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