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Good news: human beings are better than we think. Finding ways to motivate people has bewildered leaders for centuries. Long gone are the days of motivating people by the ‘stick’, with the psychological findings surrounding the effects of punishment expelling it from the dominant paradigm. Leaders for the last few decades have relied heavily on the dangled ‘carrot’ as a motivator, or in other words, rewards and incentives offered to people who perform in the desired way. However, research increasingly suggests that the psychology of the incentive is more counterproductive than we think.

Hybrid work is underway. Incentivising the return to workplaces has been a struggle for leaders as, for many workers, the freedom and flexibility offered by remote work makes it a high priority. The set of challenges that faces leaders, however, is not simply finding the right incentive to get workers back to the office. Rather, the hybrid work world has created a new set of priorities in employees regarding both their teams and their leaders.

Microsoft recently released a trends report, highlighting the statistics and numbers that emerged from research into workplace relations within hybrid work models[1].

Here are 3 key insights from their findings.