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Motivational Posters Reduce Productivity, Morale - Study

'Employees Never Dream!, Believe!, or Strive! They Bitch! Whine! and Complain!

(SNN) According to researchers with the American Ergonomic Institute for Occupational Utilities, when employers try and motivate their staff with emotive posters with encouraging slogans, they actually engender anger in the workplace and less profits for the company.

“We will admit these are surprising findings,” chuckled Professor Noah Count, head of the research team. “However, after sifting through the evidence it seems pretty conclusive. People don’t want some piece of paper telling them what to do.”

“Look at this one,” the professor pointed to a poster showing a powerfully built athlete just barely making it over a high jump bar. “It says, ‘Reach New Heights’. Shortly after this poster was installed in every test companies’ locations, the incidence of employees sneaking off to smoke pot on their breaks increased 34%.”

Another motivational poster isolated by the study team as being problematic featured a man standing on top of a high mountain. The slogan was “Dream, Then Dream Bigger.”. According to the research data, this poster led to a whopping 52% increase in on the job napping. The poster of an ant carrying a huge leaf with the tagline, “When The Going Gets Tough, The Tough Get Going” led to a 24% spike in people quitting and a 44% increase in the time spent in the company washrooms.

“When we interviewed employees about the posters, the reactions to the messages were almost always opposite of what managers had hoped,” claimed Count, pointing at the evidence in the graphs, “The poster extolling people to “Be the Best You Can Be” was met with comments such as, ‘As soon as my boss does’. Instead of motivating employees, these posters appear to nag, insult and belittle them. These are things their boss is already doing to them. To have a poster denigrate them on their break is too much.”

Not all the posters were bad, however. The study clearly showed the non-motivational posters actually did have an effect on the commerce of the test companies.

“What was perhaps even more unexpected than the negative effect of motivational posters was the positive effect the humorous signs had,” said the ergonomics specialist. “The picture of the wet cat crawling out of a bathtub with a surly expression on its face with the caption, “Are You Having This Bad A Day, Too?” actually caused an average 12% uptick in productivity.  The poster of the guy engulfed in flames asking Satan if he was in hell, only to be told, “It wasn’t until you got here,” led to a jump in productivity to record levels.”

The participating companies have all agreed that the study was likely flawed and have ordered more motivational posters.

Photo by: Lisa Nail  flickr photostream, Some Rights Reserved, The Sage nor this article endorsed.


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