Is Your Office a Breeding Ground for Gangs?

Office gang signs - freeIn today’s roundup we tackle the complicated and totally interrelated issues of lunchtime neighborhood shopping and the retention rate of hourly workers.

And then we’ll grab a beer.

But first, there’s the matter of office gangs. Got your attention with that one? Actually it’s about the workplaces where 43 percent of employees say cliques exist. (A clique is a gang you can leave without fear of your life.)

CareerBuilder’s survey de la semaine says your colleagues who were high school athletes, class clowns, or geeks are the most likely to wind up in a clique. And just like high school, these cliques exert their own peer pressure; 19 percent admitted they “Made fun of someone else or pretended not to like them.” Almost half went out drinking with the group, which, according to 46 percent of the surveyed workers, counted a boss in the gang.

For some reason, the survey asked people what they thought of those in other departments. Here are the results:

  • Most Social: Customer Service
  • Smartest: Information Technology
  • Most Attractive: Sales
  • Most Productive: Production & Quality
  • Most Intimidating to an Outsider: Legal

HR didn’t make the list. My guess is it was fear; HR is the only department that, like a street gang, has the firepower to get rid of troublemakers.

On the retention side, Evolv, a corporate personnel data miner, did come up with the discovery that the more shops and consumer businesses in the vicinity of your workplace, the better your employee retention.

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The better your “walking score” the higher your retention of your hourly workers. This little nugget is contained in Evolv’s Q3 2013 Workforce Performance Report, which is all about hourlies.

When it comes to employee retention, even locations with middling walking scores outperform locations with the worst scores by wide margins. They retain employees 58 percent longer than locations with the lowest walking scores.

If that’s the case, then why is it people who work in malls don’t keep their job forever? Which brought to mind my first day in statistics class. Warned the prof: “Correlation does not imply causation.”

There’s other stuff in the report, like how the better you pay a manager has more effect on the productivity of their staff than does how long they’ve been in the job. And how the more tech savvy a worker is, the more productive and less of a problem they are.

Now, while we ponder these questions of gang vs. clique, and the significance of statistical correlations, and whether sales really is prettier, grab a Heineken, sit back, put your feet up, and watch how they do recruiting in Europe.

Image courtesy of savit keawtavee /

John Zappe is the editor of and a contributing editor of John was a newspaper reporter and editor until his geek gene lead him to launch his first website in 1994. He developed and managed online newspaper employment sites and sold advertising services to recruiters and employers. Before joining ERE Media in 2006, John was a senior consultant and analyst with Advanced Interactive Media and previously was Vice President of Digital Media for the Los Angeles Newspaper Group.

Besides writing for ERE, John consults with staffing firms and employment agencies, providing content and managing their social media programs. He also works with organizations and businesses to assist with audience development and marketing. In his spare time  he can be found hiking in the California mountains or competing in canine agility and obedience competitions.

You can contact him here.


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