Employee satisfaction is often as important as engagement. How happy employees are in their current position will determine a number of things, from how productive they are to how likely they are to leave. However, many in HR and management positions view satisfaction as a measurable quantity that can be manipulated like a thermostat. That isn’t how cultures work, and assuming it is not only misses the point, but also can be insulting to the workforce. The traditional carrot-and-stick approach does not work in culture-building pursuits; it takes trust, reflection, and investment on the part of leadership to make job satisfaction a reality. If the predominant attitude in a workplace is “hit your goals, stay in line, and don’t make waves,” that culture can be classified as fear-based. And while the organization may run smoothly in that scenario, satisfaction and creativity will suffer because of it. For employers truly looking to increase the satisfaction levels of their employees, they must look behind the scenes. Soft elements of culture, such as recognition, conflict management, and feedback, are much more important influencers of satisfaction levels than the “hard” elements, such as pay rates and benefits.