Got Cliques? New CareerBuilder Survey Reveals They’re Omnipresent in the Workplace

Is this high school all over again? The nerd, the jock, the princess, oh wait we’re channeling The Breakfast Club

According to a new CareerBuilder survey, we’re not far off with our assumption. Employees who fit into a specific clique in high school are more likely to be in an office one, too. Survey participants were asked to describe their high school selves as one of the following groups: Athlete, honor society, cheerleader, drama club, geek, class clown, student government, teacher’s pet, band/choir.

Participants who didn’t self-identify as having fit into one of the high school personas are actually the least likely employees to be part of a workplace clique. On the contrary, former class clowns, athletes and geeks are most likely to channel their high school days and belong to an office clique.In addition as it relates to the power of cliques, one in 10 employees included in the survey said they felt intimidated by the clique and two in 10 said they’ve done something they didn’t want to do just to fit in and 46 percent of participants went to a happy hour just to fit in. Ah, peer pressure.

Wait, it gets better and we can’t say that we’re surprised with the findings. About one-fifth said they watched a TV show or movie to be part of watercooler buzz the following day and a similar number made fun of someone or pretended not to like them.

Approximately 10 percent took smoke breaks to be part of the crowd and 10 percent said they don’t reveal their personal hobbies. To that point, nine percent keep their religious affiliation hush hush and one in seven do the same for their political allegiance.

One way to combat cliques? Team building activities. Rosemary Haefner, vice president of Human Resources at CareerBuilder said in a press release, “While it’s human nature to associate with peers who possess similar personality types and characteristics, cliques can be counterproductive in the workplace.”

She added, “We see more managers using team-building activities or assembling people from different groups to work on projects to help discourage behaviors that can alienate others.”